The World Bank Office in Romania launched a call for interested civil society organizations (CSOs) across Romania to apply to the second edition of the Roma Sounding Board (RSB). All CSOs committed to strengthening the social inclusion of Roma and advancing Roma priorities through the capitalization of World Bank instruments and program in the country are invited to apply from April 5 through April 26.
Established by the World Bank in Romania in 2017, the Roma Sounding Board is a network of competitively selected CSOs with expertise in advancing social and economic inclusion for Roma. The RSB provides Roma organizations a platform through which the needs and concerns of the communities can be voiced. These can also be further reflected in the World Bank’s strategic engagement on social inclusion – which aims to help reduce poverty in the country and foster sustainable income growth for the bottom 40 percent of the population.
“Supporting the Roma agenda in Romania has been a World Bank priority for two decades and is a crucial component of the Bank’s 2018-2023 Country Partnership Framework,” said Tatiana Proskuryakova (photo), World Bank Country Manager for Romania and Hungary. “We started by collecting evidence to better understand the nature of Roma exclusion. While this remains important, the World Bank is increasingly using this information to incorporate the Roma agenda into its operations and policy dialogue with decision makers to ensure equal opportunities for all.”
Since its launch, the RSB has successfully served as a platform for the first cohort of CSOs to cooperate and provide hands-on advice on the design and implementation of World Bank activities that are relevant to the Roma inclusion agenda. Among other achievements, the RSB has supported efforts to hire and train community health nurses and Roma health mediators in 300 underserved communities across Romania to better facilitate access among vulnerable groups to community and primary health care under the Romania Health Program for Results. RSB members have also been invited to engage in efforts to monitor the distribution of laptops to underserved secondary education students, as well as to support a recent needs assessment exercise in 34 communities, focused on the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings from this assessment underpinned World Bank policy recommendations shared with the Romanian government to help inform enhancements of its response to the outbreak.
Going forward, the World Bank envisages Board members to continue providing a critical voice outlining Roma challenges and working together to formulate recommendations and facilitate the World Bank’s community engagement aimed at increasing socio-economic opportunities for Roma. The World Bank will rely on the Board’s support for several key operations, including in the education and health sectors. Through sustained and timely collaboration, RSB members will also be encouraged to incorporate Roma perspectives into World Bank recommendations for its ongoing support to Romania for achieving an inclusive recovery, following the end to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The inaugural meeting of the second edition of the RSB will take place in the second half of May 2021..