Romomatter 2020 Update From Cordoba
By Ana Gutierrez Martinez
During the challenges of 2020, the Romomatter project team in Cordoba has been adapting to the challenges of 2020 by balancing frustration and practical activities.
The impact of COVID-19 has been felt in Cordoba, Spain. The attendance rate of girls in the Romomatter sessions we have designed has been low and inconsistent, with many of the participants staying away from educational and community activities to reduce their exposure to situations perceived as a health risk. Girls are staying away from social activities as a way to protect their loved ones, and some girls are taking care of their younger siblings while others are assuming the responsibility of household chores while their family members work.
The fieldwork group has been dealing with feelings of frustration, trying to balance the urgency to implement the project with adaptation to the rhythms and interests of the community, all within a scenario of constant uncertainty.
However, together with the adaptation team, we have designed various strategies to try to address the challenges based on the lessons learned in these months of work.
First, we are creating 3 bubble groups, according to the affinities of the participating girls, to promote their involvement in the project and facilitate coordination. WhatsApp groups with 5 friends are more personal than those with 16 friends.
We are also considering holding meetings in alternative spaces, away from the educational environment (such as coffeeshops) to make them more attractive to the girls. Reflecting while having a piece of cake is always more fun!
We are designing a token economy system to reward attendance and photo-taking. The girls are all friends and neighbors, and all of them see each other daily outside of RoMoMatteR sessions, so we’ve upped the ante. Besides seeing their friends, they get a small gift and get to feel special.
During the Christmas vacations, we hope to move forward with planning, to maintain contact with the girls and carry out activities that are useful for the project and of interest to the girls. In Córdoba we hope for a new year with innovative answers to the challenges yet to come, photographs that reflect Roma girls’ dreams and a team full of energy to support Roma girls and their community.