MINELRES: AdvocacyNet (excerpts): IT training for Roma activists

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Fri Jan 31 18:38:07 2003

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AdvocacyNet: Your link to the work of The Advocacy Project and its
Volume 3, Issue 1 - January 2003

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In this issue:


ROMA: AP launches program of IT training for Roma activists in seven
East European countries. AP advises Roma women activists on networking
in Europe.

AFGHANISTAN: AP information specialist to spend six months working with
Afghan Women’s Network.

BOSNIA: AP to support the advocacy of new Srebrenica NGO network. AP
posts new illustrated campaign web page on civil society and Srebrenica.

research by AP into the use of IT by civil society in war. Focus on the
Palestinian territories.


AP and Georgetown University sponsor events by human rights activists. 

AP engages new Outreach Coordinator.



The Advocacy Project has undertaken an ambitious program to train Roma
community-based information technology specialists (‘eRiders’) who can
service the information and IT needs of Roma activists in seven East
European countries. The first training session took place in Kosovo in
November 2002 under the direction of AP’s Technical Director Teresa

The Roma Information Project (RIP) began with an initial 6-month
feasibility study in January 2002, with funding from the Information
Program of the Open Society Institute (OSI). Two pilot projects were
launched in this first phase. In Macedonia, eRider Enisa Eminova used
e-mail to connect an informal network of Roma women who were campaigning
against sexual taboos. eRider Guyla Vamosi, in Hungary, worked with five
Roma community centers. Guyla’s profile can be found on the AP website
at http://www.advocacynet.org/partner_view/partner_24.html. Enisa’s
profile can be found at

Based on the feasibility study, OSI decided to expand the program. Seven
Roma eRiders attended the November 2002 training session, together with
another ten eRiders who are working on OSI funded projects in Eastern
Europe and CIS countries. The training contained 16 separate training
modules, and was conducted by Ms. Crawford, Tom Battin from CompassPoint
<www.compasspoint.org>, Marek Tuszynski from OSI and Bill Lester from
NinthBridge <www.ninthbridge.org>.

The training in Kosovo marked the first international training of Roma
in the province since the ends of the 1999 war. Roma, Ashkaeli, and
Egyptians are among the most vulnerable minorities in the predominantly
Albanian-speaking population of Kosovo.

The benefits from the training are already being felt. As a first step,
the seven Roma eRiders (who have all received laptops) all produced
country strategies. Some have gone further and started to advise

* eRider Guyla Vamosi, in Hungary, is training and advising Roma parents
in the town of Pecs, who are trying to end the ‘hidden segregation’
which channels Roma children into the lowest levels and prevents them
from applying to university. After failing repeatedly to reach local
government officials, the parents used their new e-mail connection to
contact the Prime Minister and were rewarded with a reply. Guyla reports
that this contact has given the parents confidence, and that they are
now insisting on regular meetings with government ‘education advisers’
who will focus on the Roma education issue. Hungary is one of ten
‘accession’ countries, whose application to join the European Union
could hinge on improving its treatment of the Roma.

* eRider Gabi Hrabanova, in the Czech Republic, has worked with the
Ministry of Education to administer a program of grants for Roma NGOs
working on education – and been rewarded with a flattering profile in
her university newspaper.  She is now working to develop a program of IT
training and support for 84 Roma women activists based in 5 towns
throughout the country.  These young women are part of the Roma led
women’s organization, Manushe.

* eRider Maria Metodieva, in Bulgaria, is advising five Roma women’s
organizations. One is developing a series of new web pages on Roma
women. She is seeking to identify Roma university students with IT
skills, who could serve as community volunteers with local NGOs.

* For photos from the Kosovo training, and Roma portraits, see: 

About The Advocacy Project

The Advocacy Project is based in Washington D.C. Phone: +1 202 332 3900;
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