Participation changes the world
We want to be an engine of change driving the full citizenship of the community of Roma people: reducing inequalities and bringing about their social advancement, defending their rights and boosting their social participation.
We are an entity which has traditionally operated from a perspective of social advancement. We have the firm objective of seeing Roma people fully exercising their rights and obligations as citizens, leading processes of change within their own community and participating actively in the construction of our global society.
The increasing heterogeneity and diversity of the Roma population mean that there are more and more Roma people with increasing expectations and aspirations to participate fully as citizens in both social and political spheres. Roma women and young people are contributing enormously to this change in expectations within the Roma community, by demanding the ability to participate in these spheres of citizenship in conditions of equality with the rest of society.
At the FSG we believe that encouraging the social participation of Roma people is an essential task, taking opportunities to ensure their voices are heard in various spheres of citizenship, including those in which historically Roma people have not been represented.
For all these reasons, the FSG´s new Strategic Plan 2017/2023, which sets out four lines of action along which we plan and carry out our work (Social Advancement, Defence of Rights, Participation and Sustainability), attempts to continue fostering the participation of those benefiting from our programmes and to boost the social participation and active citizenship of Roma people at local, regional, national and European levels, both within the FSG and outside it, in collaboration with other organisations and institutions.
In the year 2000, the FSG’s Youth Area was born
At the Fundación Secretariado Gitano, we have a long history of fostering the participation of young people. We believe that fostering the participation of young Roma is necessary in order for their voices to be heard. For this reason, in 2000 the Fundación Secretariado Gitano´s Youth Area was set up, within the framework of the 1st Collaboration Agreement with the Youth Institute (Injuve).
It was begun with the main objective of fostering and facilitating the social participation and mobilisation of young Roma people, starting from the recognition of their cultural identity and taking as a guiding principle the active exercising of full citizenship (understood as responsible participation in which the rights and responsibilities of such citizenship are accepted). This project began to take shape with the setting up of a participatory network designed to provide spaces in which the young men and women could meet, reflect on their role in society and in the Roma community, and also take part in activities of interest: Chavós Nebó-Today´s Youth Network.
2014 saw the beginning of the Programme of solidarity, co-existence, tolerance and participation among young Roma and young non-Roma people, funded by Injuve (IRPF) to work along the same lines as the Chavós Nebó-Today´s Youth Network: mobilising the social participation of young Roma people. The Programme’s main objective was to instil values of solidarity with the under-privileged among both young Roma and young non-Roma people, and also to carry out preventive actions against racism and intolerance.
Within the framework of the Programme, workshops were also held to foster leadership and social mobilisation among a group of young Roma men and women. The intention was for these young people to put into practice what they learned in the workshops themselves, as well as to motivate other young people to participate. This network began with a small number of young Roma men and women (8 in total) from various regions and, year by year as the Programme continued, gradually strengthened and grew.
2018 marked the birth of the National programme for the promotion of participation of Roma citizens, particularly among young people, funded by the Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Welfare (IRPF). Its objective was to continue fostering the participation of people benefiting from our programmes and to boost the social participation and active citizenship of Roma people at local, regional, national and European level, both within the FSG and beyond it, in collaboration with other organisations and institutions. It attempted to continue developing skills in leadership and social participation, especially among young Roma people, based on the existing experience of the FSG in youth participation and on the results of the Programmes described earlier.
The National programme for the promotion of Roma citizenship, particularly among young people, now has a Young Roma Network comprising more than 70 young Roma men and women across Spain, known as Participation Facilitators. These facilitators are responsible for fostering the social participation of other groups of Roma and non-Roma people at every level.
We advocate for the promotion of child and adolescent participation
At the FSG we also champion participation in childhood and adolescence. For this reason, we have a wide network of relationships with organisations which defend the rights of children, such as the Platform of Childhood Organisations, UNICEF and Save the Children, among others.
Each year around 20 November, Universal Children´s Day, around 300 Roma boys, girls and adolescents take the lead in the participatory processes we organise in collaboration with childhood organisations. These allow the boys and girls to express their opinions on their rights at fun events designed to spark debate and reflection on their needs and on topics which concern them, such as the right to a high-quality education; the digital gap; the right to decent housing; a healthy environment and so on. These opinions are then conveyed to the institutions responsible for ensuring that children´s rights are protected.
Promotion of the Participation of Roma Women
We work to promote real equality between men and women
The situation of Roma women when exercising active citizenship is affected by the various circumstances in which they find themselves: being women, being Roma, and other factors such as age, geographical origin, sexual orientation and socioeconomic level. Roma women are an especially vulnerable group when it comes to equality and participation as citizens, and for this reason it is necessary to work specifically on this issue and to boost equality of opportunity between men and women in all spheres of society. To do this, our efforts must be directed towards the disparities which prevent Roma women from fully exercising their citizenship.
The inequalities and intersectional discrimination suffered by Roma women do not affect them only in terms of participation or difficulty accessing employment; economically active women also suffer the consequences of segregation, temporary work and job insecurity.
For all these reasons, the actions we organise to promote the participation of the Roma population include:
We also specifically incentivise the participation of Roma women based on their empowerment in spaces devoted to the exercising of citizenship.
We promote Participation 2.0 through actions related to participation in social networks; digital innovation; social participation forums; spaces for debate and dissemination 2.0; online surveys to find out the opinions of the Roma population on relevant topics; the fight against hate speech and antigypsyism on the internet; and the dissemination of history and culture, through the FSG´s own channels and those of other organisations.
Collaboration with other organisations
We work together with collaborating entities
The FSG has a wide network of collaborations with other organisations in the third sector, relevant institutions and bodies and key agents for communication. We work jointly to boost the presence of Roma people in the participatory actions carried out in spaces for active citizenship, to exchange experiences and contribute to the construction of a more cohesive, just society.
At local and regional level
Regional youth councils, the University of Seville, the Childhood and Youth Coordinator in Vallecas (Madrid). We also collaborate with various political parties in different districts to create spaces for the collection and communication of proposals from the Roma population as part of local and regional election processes.
At national level
Injuve, the Youth Council of Spain, of which the FSG is a full member, EAPN Spain, Coca Cola: “GeneradorES”, Facebook, CEPAIM, Aire Nuevo Caló, the State Council of Roma People, the Institute of Roma Culture, the Red Cross, the Movement Against Intolerance, ASHOKA Spain, AIPC Pandora, Unicef, the Platform of Childhood Organisations.
At European level
FERYP, the European Commission, the European Parliament, in which young people from the Programme network participated in “Roma Week”,
the Council of Europe, the European Youth Forum, ERGO, TernYpe, Save the Children, Eurochild.
Network of Participation Facilitators
This is the national group of young Roma men and women who are responsible for supporting the
FSG´s teams to give impetus to activities of participation, organised mainly within the framework of the “National Programme for the Promotion of the Participation of Roma Citizens, especially among Young People” at local and regional level (IRPF).
The boys and girls in this Roma youth network are young people with a capacity for leadership and an interest in social participation. They also take part in activities organised by the FSG to strengthen their skills in the areas of participation, active citizenship and social mobilisation. Currently, the network comprises 70 young Roma people across Spain.
Their participation in this youth network is entirely voluntary, and their roles are based in the following areas:
Roma Ambassadors for Education
Project to establish Roma role models in post-compulsory education. This is a group of young people (FSG volunteers) from various regions, with different family situations, different realities, different life experiences, with dreams and ambitions in a range of areas and professions, but all with a common objective: to defend the right to education for Roma people.
The group is composed of Roma students under 30 years old who have completed or are currently in post-compulsory education (Intermediate or Advanced Vocational Training, Baccalaureate or University) who believe that education is a basic right which is not sufficiently protected for Roma students; who hold that training is key to personal development; who believe in equal opportunities for men and women; who subscribe to the intercultural model; who wish to show that the Roma cause is an issue for everyone in society and who share the FSG´s mission and vision. This group gives visibility and a voice to Roma students who continue studying and who, far from losing their identity, show that education is the most valuable and powerful tool people have at their disposal.
This group currently comprises 19 young people (11 girls and 8 boys) across Spain who take part in the activities carried out with students on the three FSG educational programmes operating in different regions: Promociona, Promociona+ and Promociona-T. These educational initiatives have the objective of increasing the numbers of Roma students who complete compulsory secondary education and go on to post-compulsory studies, responding to the reality that 6 out of 10 Roma boys and girls still do not complete secondary education. Roma girls have particular difficulties and one of the main barriers for them is a lack of role models. For this reason, this is a group in flux, taking on new members with a view to growth and the inclusion of students from other regions.
Through collective actions, student meetings and awareness-raising campaigns among other activities, the group seeks to:
Roma Participation Group
The Roma Participation Group (GPG) at the Fundación Secretariado Gitano was created in 2002 with the objective of boosting the participation of the Roma people who are part of the organisation. Since 2019, the GPG has been an advisory body within the organisation.
The group’s mission is to stimulate the creation of spaces which boost the participation and professional development of the Roma people within the Fundación, with the aim of achieving greater involvement of the Roma men and women working here.
With the objective of developing the working model proposed by interculturalism, the Roma Participation Group collaborates actively in the various operations of the Fundación. The intention is to disseminate the organisation´s intercultural perspective both within and beyond the FSG, in this way fostering the creation of spaces for participation and representation which give a higher profile to Roma people both inside and outside the organisation.
The GPG also wishes to stimulate participation and approach Roma culture from an intercultural perspective, in order to increase knowledge of different aspects of the culture of Roma people.
Roma Women's Group
The Roma Women’s Group (GMG) is an advisory and consultative body at the Fundación Secretariado Gitano, composed of professionals of the organisation, all of them women and the majority Roma, which serves as an advisory and consultative body on the topics of gender, Roma women and equal opportunities. The group displays the diversity of Roma women as its members come from different parts of Spain and have diverse individual histories and identities.
The Fundación Secretariado Gitano values the existence of the GMG, knowing that Roma women face multiple factors which complicate their access to equal opportunities and active social participation. For this reason, the FSG knows that it must be Roma women themselves who make their own decisions and contributions.
For the Fundación Secretariado Gitano, creating spaces for successful intercultural and intergenerational co-existence is a key objective which we will be able to meet thanks to the collaboration of our volunteers.
The volunteer body is part of the human capital of our organisation. Each volunteer, through his/her own dedication, contributes to the social transformation which the Roma community is currently going through.
At the FSG we aim to have a socially committed volunteer body, included in all the programmes we run, and forming an active, participative group within our teams and our spaces for consultation. In this way we can move from a professionalized model to a mixed model, in which our volunteers form part of the great family making up the team of the Fundación.
Raising awareness of and valuing the commitment of our volunteer body is part of our journey. To this end, the FSG believes it is necessary to create spaces for participation and for the daily recognition of the work of volunteers as part of all the activities we carry out.
We believe it is necessary to value the commitment and recognise the contribution of our volunteers in all our activities, to ensure their full involvement in the mission that drives us.
The impact of the activities of our team of volunteers means that they have become agents of social transformation in their own immediate environments. Their experience with the Roma community has a multiplying effect which contributes significantly to ending the stigma which still afflicts this community.
We want our volunteers to take the lead and serve as role models for other volunteers, which is why we have created a national network of Volunteer Mobilisers from different parts of the country. This will allow volunteers who can serve as role models to participate actively in the creation of a common space for work and debate.