Contribution to the Roma Education Fund (REF)
REF is the lead organization for Roma education. SDC is supporting REF from its inception, contributing in a relevant way to the Roma decade. REF recently defined a strategy (2015-20) and is strengthening its results orientation. By continuing the partnership with REF, with a focus on pro-inclusion policy dialogue, SDC ensures coherence and consistence of its position in the Roma inclusion agenda. REF's focus on children from early childhood is crucial for the social inclusion of the next generation of Roma.
- In all schools supported by REF projects the dropout rates were dramatically reduced (at least halved, in some cases even reduced to zero).
- In Macedonia, a national preschool project for early childhood development with REF support increased the enroliment rates ot Romani children into preschools from 10 to 16 percent in the last three years at national level.
There are between ten and twelve million Roma in Central and Southeast Europe. Often victims of stigmatization, they are systematically excluded from the society. The big majority of Roma sufters from multiple, intersecting inequalities, with poor access to employment, medical care, education and proper housing and infrastructures. Even though the access of Roma to education has improved in the last 20 years, the gap with the rest of the population is far to be closed. According to REF country assessments in 2013 and 2014, only half of the Roma children complete primary education against 97% of non-Roma in the countries covered by REF.
REF's goal is to close the gap in education outcomes between Roma and non-Roma, through the design and implementation of policies and programs that support quality education for Roma, including the desegregation of the school system REF Strategy 2015-2020 is built around four core priorities: (i) Access to compulsory education, (ii) Access to tertiary education, (iii) Strengthen civil society capacities, (iv) Build the evidence for effective policy making.
Children from early childhood to 15, students, parents, adults from marginalized and vulnerable Roma and non oma communities in Western Balkan countries.
Management Level 1: REF objectives are to improve access to Education for Roma at all levels: (i) Early Childhood, (ii) Primary, (iii) Secondary, (iv) Tertiary, and (v) Adult Education.
Management Level 2: The main objectives of SDC contribution are to strengthen REF in the following areas: (i) pro-inclusion policy dialogue; (ii) results orientation; (iii) gender issues and women‘s empowerment.
Results from previous phases:
REF's growth in terms of outreach has been remarkable: In 2005 REF reached 5'000 beneficiaries; ten years later REF's average annual beneficiaries are 100'000. From 2005 to 2014 its activities have reached a total of approx. 235'000 children and young people and 375'000 couples of parents. With relatively small Investments, most of the projects made a real difference for their targeted beneficiaries, particularly in preschool and primary school. For example,
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe
International or foreign NGO
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 6’405’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 5’490’681|
|Project phases||Phase 7 01.12.2015 - 31.12.2021 (Current phase) Phase 6 01.10.2012 - 31.12.2014 (Completed) Phase 5 01.07.2010 - 31.12.2011 (Completed)|