Supporting Social Inclusion of Roma and Egyptian Communities

What is the project about?

Roma community at the inauguration of the new road and bridge in Elbasan.
Children enjoy their new kindergarten in Novosele

Roma and Egyptians are facing a level of poverty estimated three times higher than that of the other parts of population in Albania, due to long-standing social exclusion. "A Needs Asssesment Study on Roma and Egyptian Communities in Albania" commissioned  by UNDP in 2011, showed that 90 % of Roma and Egyptian workers do not make social security contribution, 40.3 % of Roma and 12.7 % of Egyptians are illiterate, 37 % of Roma and 20% of Egyptians do not know where or how to obtain health cards, while 21% of Roma and 11% of Egyptians live in shacks.

Supporting the Social Inclusion of Roma and Egyptian Communities (SSIREC) Project,supported by European Union, aims to empower the marginalized communities in  the regions of Korca, Berat and Vlora  socially and economically.The project  builds on previous UNDP intervention in this area.

The project relies on the active participation of the Roma and Egyptian communities as well close collaboration with central and local authorities in the targeted regionsThe project supports the Government of Albania in its efforts to achieve the objectives set forth in the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005 - 2015 while promoting respect for human rights and appreciation for cultural diversity, as prerequisites for the country’s EU accession.

The project enables communities to participate in local planning processes and prioritization of r infrastructure development of Roma/Egyptian neighborhoods. It also works to build capacities of Roma and Egyptian civil society organizations to be able to implement small scale projects in response to community needs. The project also supports Roma and Egyptian people  through vocational trainings to increase their employability.  as well as  strengthen   the artisan and entrepreneurship skills   Support is also provided to Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth (MoSWY) and local government units  to implement and monitor the National Roma Decade Action Plan while promoting human rights and appreciating  cultural diversity.

What have we accomplished so far?

Roma women at the Intercultural Artisans Fair in Tirana
Meeting of Roma and Egyptian Young Entrepreneurs at the Intercultural Community Center in Berat
  • 9 local infrastructure interventions  (such as  kindergartens, health centers, school library, internal roads, sports ground and intercultural community centers) identified by Roma and Egyptian community members have been implemented by the Project through co-funding with Local Governments. More than 3000 Roma and Egyptian households in Korca, Berat and Vlora regions have benefited from this intervention.
  •  60 local government officials in three regions have been trained on participatory planning and budgeting and were assisted to develop 4 inter-locals Roma and Egyptian Community Development Plans with active participation of Roma and Egyptian Community members and young professionals.  Through this exercise, local authorities adopted a participatory planning model and made Roma and Egyptian needs part of the local development agenda.
  •  More than 3000 households have benefited from public information campaigns related to available public and social services.  
  • A comprehensive training and coaching package related to NGO management, fundraising, financial reporting, human resources management as well as human rights, advocacy and lobbying has been offered  to Roma and Egyptian Associations preceded by capacity and training  needs assessment.
  • Roma and Egyptian NGOs were provided with small-grants for implementing 18 local community development initiatives.
  • A manual “100 innovative ideas for self-employment” accompanied with practical guidelines on preparation of business plans was developed and widely disseminated to local Roma and Egyptian youth and other potential beneficiaries in the three regions. The manual was widely embraced and triggered new income-generation ideas and activities amongst Roma and Egyptians. This led to transforming the employment profile of Roma and Egyptian individuals from passive service beneficiaries to active participants.
  • 90 Roma and Egyptian youth, artisans and potential entrepreneurs have benefited from innovative income generating approaches to develop their self-employment skills and individual investment plans. They have also been assisted with startup tool kits with the aim to diversify their source of income.
  • 50 Roma and Egyptian women farmers have been assisted to cultivate and market medicinal plant such as sage, contributing towards enhancing their family income.
  • To align the country’s policy on social inclusion with the “EU Platform for Roma Integration 2020”, expertise and support has been provided to the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth and other line ministries to draft the Action Plan for Integration of Roma and Egyptians 2015-2020 while ensuring wide consultation with civil society sector including Roma and Egyptian organizations, as well as local authorities.
  • A legal “How to Manual” as well as “A guide for community outreach” with particular focus on Roma/Egyptian communities have been developed to further strengthen capacities of the Office of the Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination.
  • Qualified Roma and Egyptian fellows have been supported to serve as facilitators for protection from discrimination, respectively at Commissioner and People’s Advocate and provide support while preparing the National and Local Plans targeting Roma and Egyptian Communities.
  • An intensive public awareness and advocacy campaign has been implemented in the three programme areas featuring the Goodwill Ambassadors for Cultural Diversity and Roma and Egyptian role models.
  • A training manual for reporters on minority issues with a focus on Roma and Egyptian Communities was produced and widely disseminated among young reporters.
  • Reporters enhanced their skills on fair and ethical reporting on cultural diversity and social inclusion.
  • To advance social inclusion and respect for cultural diversity, several documentaries have been produced such as “Equal in Diversity”, and “When Dreams Become Reality”.
  • The programme provided support to Roma and Egyptian Young Artists to promote their talent and mainstream them in the country’s cultural agenda.

Who finances it?

The Project is funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Albania, in partnership with the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth.


Year Total delivery
 2012 USD 46,595
2013  USD 577,750
2014 USD 1,090,000
Project Overview
Project duration
July 2012 - June 2015
Geographic coverage
Korce, Vlore, Berat regions
Programme Officer
Entela Lako
Project Manager
Bujar Taho
Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth
SSIREC Project Reports
SSIREC Project Interim Report
Roma Needs Assesment

This study focuses on two marginalized groups of Albanian society, the Roma and Egyptians. The study is based on an analyses of quantitative and qualitative, primary and secondary data collected from various country regions.

The Decade of Roma Inclusion

The Decade of Roma Inclusion is an initiative of nine countries of Central and Eastern Europe to
improve the socio-economic status and social inclusion of the Roma minority in the region. The
Decade Initiative was launched in 2005 and covers the period from 2005 to 2015.

Roma and Egyptians Towards Social Inclusion in Albania

Publications on Roma
The housing situation of Roma communities

This report analyzes housing-related data from the 2011 regional roma survey conducted by UNDP, the World Bank, and European Commission in the EU member states, in twelve countries of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe.

Policy Brief - Roma Housing
Policy Brief - Roma and the labour market
A journey towards social inclusion
View More

Equal in Diversity