Romomatter Project Celebrates its Second Project Meeting in Bucharest

campaigners meeting

By Raluca Tomsa, University of Bucharest

On June 5 and 6, 2019 the Romomatter Project celebrated its second project meeting in Bucharest. The meeting was held at the Law School at the University of Bucharest, where the Project hosts welcomed the project team with true Romanian hospitality (thank you!)

Field Work for the Romomatter Project is Underway

The meeting began with an update on coordination and management of the project. Then, local teams doing field work (Spain, Romania and Bulgaria) reported on their work setting up local coalitions. Local coalitions involve key people from the Roma community and social stakeholders who work with these communities. As such, this work is essential for the success of the project. The teams also reported on the interviews they are carrying out with stakeholders. Interviews will serve to develop a resource mapping process that describes the community assets available to women in the Roma community where the project intervention will take place. These interviews touch on topics including marriage, motherhood and others.

Romomatter and Roma Girl Participatory Action Research

The implementation of Roma Girl Participatory Action Research (RGPAR) was also discussed at the meeting, not only at a theoretical level, but in terms of how participants are beginning to take practical steps towards implementation. While all of the stages of the project are important, working side by side with Roma girls is probably one of the most important parts of the work. After all, the whole point of the project is to work together towards empowerment.

Of course, in addition to the work of Romomatter, we’re also committed to the quality of our interactions with partners, so some meeting sessions were devoted to discussion of strategies for these interactions and how we can evaluate the work of the project.

One of the most enriching issues of the meeting was the participation of coordinators and field workers who work with the Roma community daily on Romomatter and other projects. There’s no one who can better build bridges between the research teams and the girls who are going to participate in RGPAR!

Importance of Project Communication Activities for Raising Awareness About the Project

Another key topic was communication. One of the fundamental aspects of Romomatter is the work of awareness raising about the work we are doing and transfer of knowledge to society (to which this blog contributes!) Part of the meeting covered the communications plan that has been developed and is now being implemented. More to come on that topics, little by little!

In summary, the meeting was an intense two-day affair. But it was extremely gratifying to see how each group had made progress towards the global objectives of the project. And of course, there’s no need not to mention that we also had a wonderful tour around Bucharest and got to know one another during an informal working dinner.

Although not everyone could participate, we welcomed colleagues from Bulgaria (Trust for Social Achievement, National Network of Health Mediators of Bulgaria), Spain (University of Sevilla, University of Alicante, FAGA), Romania (University of Bucharest, Policy Center for Roma and Minorities) and Hungary (Healthcare Leadership and Management Development Institute).

We came away from the meeting even more inspired to continue Romomatter’s work and to move forward as best we can. We’ll meet again to discuss our progress at the third global meeting that will take place in Alicante, Spain in December of 2019. Meanwhile, we’ll keep in touch about the project’s advances. Keep in touch!