Israel helps ILO promote decent work for Roma youth

Contribution will focus on Central and Eastern Europe

Press release | 27 March 2015
GENEVA (ILO News) - The Government of Israel today signed an agreement with the International Labour Organization to promote decent work opportunities for Roma Youth in Central and Eastern Europe.

The Roma, of whom there are an estimated 10 million in the subregion,  face particular challenges in access to jobs and have been the worst hit in those countries by the recent financial and economic crisis. Roma represent more than 20 per cent of new entrants into the labour force in central and Eastern Europe, and their young people are trapped in a vicious circle that leads them through high dropout rates in education, child labour, low skills acquisition, difficulty to access and to stay in the labour market, low pay, stereotyping and stigmatization that further push them to the margin of economic activities.

The donation of USD150,000 by Israel's Ministry of Economy, the first of its kind, will support the ILO through projects to enhance job creation and equal opportunities in the face of social and cultural exclusion and multiple discrimination. These include both public policies to eradicate discrimination and promote inclusion, empowerment of the affected groups and communities, and pilot testing of innovative experiences.

A variety of national, European and international institutions have been active for a long time on the Roma issue, but the overall balance of these programmes and initiatives shows that further efforts are needed to systematize approaches to address the underlying factors that currently impede Roma access to and integration in the labour market. The purpose of this project is to develop an ILO intervention concept to address the decent work needs and gaps of young Roma through the customization and testing of global ILO practices and tools.

Activities will focus on development of a a toolkit combining measures on various issues, including -
  • Elimination of child labour and provision of incentives to families of children to enrol and stay in primary education
  • Skills development and transition from school to work
  • Entrepreneurship education
  • Vocational guidance and job counselling through enhanced capacity of employment services
  • Implementation of youth guarantee schemes
  • Entrepreneurship development with a focus on creative industries and green economy
  • Local economic development initiatives
  • Microfinance
  • Extension of social protection
  • Empowerment and promotion of equal opportunities, including enforcement of non-discrimination legislation.
This will be tested through  joint activities with other organizations, including those of the Roma themselves. The direct recipients will be decision-makers and staff of national and international institutions involved in the formulation and implementation of Roma education and employment policies and programmes, as well as the social partners (staff of employers’ and workers’ organizations) and Roma organizations.

The ultimate beneficiaries are young Roma women and men between the ages of 15 and 29, who will benefit from integrated, more effective and gender-sensitive policy responses, as well as targeting mechanisms addressing their labour market integration. Particular attention will be given to low-skilled youth and school dropouts, young workers in the informal economy and youth in poor communities.