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Last update 11/10/2016
Calvini is located in the North-Western part of Buzău County in Romania, and is composed of 5 villages (Calvini, Bâscenii de Jos, Bâscenii de Sus, Frăsinet and Olari) with Calvini acting as administrative center. The total population of the municipality according to the last census is of 4363 individuals, with 1832 persons of Roma ethnicity. Local estimates place the number of Roma citizen above 2000 persons, the majority of whom are from the “ursari” group and a small minority of “kalderash”. Most Roma live in Calvini and Bâscenii de Jos.
Traditionally, many Roma in Calvini are fruit vendors or aluminum goods manufacturers - there are 60 registered vendors in the Roma community. In many cases, Roma families with fewer prospects choose to look for job opportunities in Western European countries, in particular France, Spain, England, Denmark and Sweden. The unemployment rate among the Roma population is as high as 80%, which could explain the migration trend, among other factors.
Most Roma inhabitants in Calvini speak Romani, a specificity to which local schools tried to adapt by ensuring classes in the mother tongue of Roma children. Nonetheless, school dropout remains a serious concern in the municipality, an issue due either to the professional activity of parents (vendors travelling through several municipalities), or to the choice of migration. In order to help reduce the school dropout rate, several projects have been implemented in the past years in the schools of Calvini – according to reports - led by UNICEF, as well as by the Community Development Agency of Buzau with the financial support of EEA & Norway Grants. An afterschool project designed to provide sustainability to these prior initiatives is supported by the Daily Centre founded in Calvini commune through the Romanian Social Development Fund (FRDS).
From the point of view of housing and infrastructure, it is estimated that around 170 families in Calvini do not have property documents for their dwellings. A project run by the National Agency for Roma has been trying to alleviate the issue of lack of property documents. The Roma neighborhoods in Calvini lack paved roads, running drinkable water and a proper sewerage system. The latter issue is also linked to an imminent public health issue – the water network being in progress of construction, a proper sewerage system is vital in those households which cannot be reached by vacuum trucks. Furthermore, the most deprived Roma families’ access to electricity and other amenities is limited by the incapacity to pay for bills.
In what health is concerned, there is a need for a Medical centre in Calvini – as indicated below, among the long-term priorities of the Community Action Group (CAG). At the moment all citizens in Calvini must travel 15 km to the nearby city of Pãtârlagele in order to consult a General Practitioner.
The ROMACT Process was initiated in Calvini with the signature of the Letter of Commitment by the Mayor, Mr Curelea, on 21 October 2015. The CAG composed of Roma citizens was formed shortly after, and started by identifying the needs of the entire community during the weeks and months following its creation.
A Local Action Plan (LAP) targeting Roma citizens, was officially adopted by the Local Council of Calvini on the 1st of February 2016. Although the CAG did not have time to negotiate with the local authorities the measures included in the plan prior to its adoption, upon discussions and checks together with the ROMACT facilitator they reached the conclusion that most of their identified needs were already included. Furthermore, the JAP was included in the Local Development Plan of the Municipality – The Action Plan for Roma Inclusion 2015-2020 is the Appendix No. 1 to the Local Council Decision HCL no.7/01.02.2016 of the Strategy for the local development of Calvini.
At the moment the CAG is showing signs of autonomous functioning, with meetings organised by the CAG without the presence of the ROMACT facilitator. The cooperation between the CAG and the local authorities is ongoing and developing into a regular mechanism of design of local policies for the Roma community.
Short-term priorities of the CAG:
|Short-term priorities of the CAG||Objective 1||Objective 2|
|Education||Extra-school activities for children: dance, music, wrestling, football and art classes;||“ Second Chance” programmes|
|Health||Building and equipping a medical centre|
Long-term priorities of the CAG:
|Long-term priorities of the CAG||Objective 1||Objective 2||Objective 3|
|Employment||Building and equiping a factory for processing nut core (the fruit)||Founding of social enterprises|
|Health||Creating a Permanent Centre within the Calvini – an Emergency Room with a full time programme|
|Infrastructure||Building a sewerage infrastructure and modernising water infrastructure||Paving the streets in the Roma community||Building a playground and a sport centre|
The LAP contains measures targeting education, employment, health, housing and small infrastructures, justice and public order, administration and community development. Most measures included match the needs identified by the CAG. Among the measures included in the LAP it is worth mentioning:
|Measures from JAP||Objective 1||Objective 2||Objective 3|
|Education||Combatting school dropout (awareness raising for parents, support for teachers’ and mediators’ involvement)||Ensuring teaching in Romani language, raise awareness on affirmative action places in schools||Training teachers in inclusive education|
|Employment||Identifying and counseling job seekers of Roma origins (Employment Office)||Organising second chance schooling, as well as vocational training and self-employment coaching||Building a nut core factory in order to support Roma families who sell this product|
|Health||Employing a health mediator||Organising awareness raising campaigns on vaccines, family planning, etc.||Providing emergency funds for health-related situations: social aid for heating, emergency aids;|
|Housing||Obtaining property documents for illegal Roma dwellings in cooperation with the Prefecture of Buzau||Ensuring funding for facility projects in the Roma community of Bascenii de Jos (water, sewerage, paved streets, library, rehabilitation of the cultural centre)||Building of a sports centre and playground|
|Culture||Promoting Roma history and culture (including commemoration of the Roma Holocaust, Roma slavery, celebration of the International Roma Day)||Organising music, dance, drawing and football classes|
|Justice and Public Order||Organising rights awareness campaign so as to prevent discrimination||Identifying and solving conflictual relations between families, communities or ethnic groups|
|Administration and community development||Identifying and providing legal consultancy to Roma families living in illegal housing||Granting trade authorisations for Roma citizens who are street vendors|
The municipality of Calvini does not have a “project writing” department in its structure. There is only one person in charge of writing/implementing projects within the City Hall, acting as contact person for the ROMACT Programme as well. The intervention of the ROMACT Programme is thus deemed necessary, and since the beginning of the programme two staff members have been trained on relevant topics. Furthermore, 3 members of Calvini City Hall (including the mayor) took part in the Project Management courses organized in Buzau county, on 11-13 March 2016.
One of the main priorities of the local authorities is to access funds for the construction of a proper sewerage system in the Roma community. The ROMACT expert, together with the ROMACT National Support Team is currently assisting local authorities in identifying the right funding solution for this project and in preparing the proper documentation for the application. The targeted fund for this project is PNDR 2014-2020 – 7.2: Investments in creation and upgrade of small-scale basic infrastructure*.
A second line of funding through POCU 4.1** is targeted by the municipality, with the help of the ROMACT expert, in order to tackle some of the measures included in the Local Action Plan. The development of the application is in progress.
Other projects with impact on the Roma community in Calvini, led by the municipality besides the initiatives through the ROMACT process, are under development or have been recently completed, among which:
1) “Asphalting Roads of local interest in Calvini commune, Buzau county” (The Gaul Buzau Valley – Cislau) – The National Program for Rural Development Programme (PNDR) 2007-2013, coordinated by the Agency for Financing Rural Investments (AFIR). The implementation term is 13.01.2015 to 31.03.2016;
2) “Counseling of the daily center, driveways and passages for passers-by, septic hole, water well, reservoir in water storage, chlorination station, pumping station, utilities and water connections in the Roma community of Biscenii de Jos village, Calvini commune, Buzau county” – The Romanian Fund for Social Development (FRDS), EEA & Norway Grants – RO10 Programme ”Children and young people within risky situation and local and regional initiatives for reducing national inequality and promoting social inclusion”. The implementation term is from 18.12.2014 to 30.10.2016;
3) "Extension and rehabilitation of the water infrastructure in Buzau county“, a project co-financed through the Operational Sectorial Environmental Program (POS Environment) 2007-2013, Priority Axis 1.
The commitment of local authorities to improving the situation of Roma citizens in Calvini is also expressed through the attention paid to Roma culture and history, and contributions to the celebration of the 8th of April – International Roma Day, organised in 2016 by the local authorities in cooperation with the CAG and other local stakeholders.
On 7 September, in line with measures included under the health chapter of the JAP, a vaccination information campaign was conducted upon the request of the CAG. More on this activity in this article.
* PNDR 2014-2020 stands for “Programul Naţional de Dezvoltare Rurală” (National Rural Development Programme), through which non-refundable funds are allocated from the European Union and the Romanian Government for the socio – economic development of the rural area in Romania.
** Priority 4, with €940 million, aims to promote social inclusion and to fight poverty. Integrated measures will help disadvantaged people, including Roma, to access the labour market, by improving their skills and supporting entrepreneurship and social enterprises, among other actions. Several vulnerable groups will be supported, such as homeless, persons suffering from dependence, victims of domestic violence or trafficking, prisoners or ex-offenders, elderly and disabled people. Specific support will also be provided to social services, such as social assistance, health and care services, including support the so-called "de-institutionalisation" (assistance to groups with care needs allowing them to live more independently instead of committing them in institutions). Source: http://ec.europa.eu/esf/main.jsp?catId=576&langId=en