The project is supported within Daphne 2009 Program of the European Commission. It is a common initiative of Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance “AMALIPE” – Bulgaria (main aplicant), Liga pro Europa– Romania, and Association for Social Support of Youth ARSIS - Greece (partners).
The project aims at preventing and stopping the practice of forced marriages and early marriages among certain traditional Roma communities in Bulgaria, Romania and Greece through research, establishing multidisciplinary networks and cooperation between state institutions, NGOs, and Roma authorities, awareness raising and joint work of NGO activists, Roma authorities and officials from the respective institutions with Roma families.
The project ensures coordinated work of responsible institutions, NGOs and Roma community itself for preventing forced / early marriages that is an innovative approach since up to now the efforts of these stakeholders are not coordinated in any way; Roma informal authorities and NGO activists have not been perceived as possible partners. In addition the project stresses the work with Roma families for avoiding this practice instead of increasing the administrative punishment that is the prevailing unsuccessful practice at present. This approach relies on combined actions coming both from within and outside of the community which would lead to sustainable results.
The project activities include:
survey about forced/early marriages: Since there is no available scholarly research about the problem of forced/early marriages within Roma community and since the project implementation needs reliable data on these issues a survey will be designed and carried out at the beginning of the project. Itwill produce a reliable picture about the problem of early/forced marriages in Bulgaria, Greece and Romania and about the motivation of different stakeholders. It will be used for defining possible ways for solving the problem;
Establishing a pilot model for preventing forced marriages:based on the survey results the project team will define a set of connected actions for preventing forced marriages. The model will be based on the idea that community work within the most traditional Roma communities and Roma families for preventing forced marriages is a key for solving the problem instead of increasing the administrative punishment (that is the prevailing practice at present). The model will stress the coordinated efforts of all responsible institutions, NGOs and Roma authorities for overcoming the problem;
Publishing educational materials:based on the survey and the results of the pilot model the project team will prepare and publish educational paper and video materials for preventing forced marriages;
Organizing public awareness campaigns:Public-awareness campaigns will be organized in Bulgaria, Romania and Greece about the existence of forced marriages phenomenon, the necessity of preventing it and the ways for coping with this problem. The campaign will target the main stakeholders that work with or in Roma community (Roma authorities, NGO activists, social workers, teachers, officials from municipal and national institutions, journalists) and will aim at motivating them to organize activities for preventing forced/early marriages
Conference for sharing experience:Concluding conference will be organized in Sofia. It will summarize the experience gathered in the three countries within the project and will define policy oriented recommendations.
The project will implemented from January 2010 to December 2010