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Promoting early childhood development - Roma Good Start Initiative

UNICEF and the Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sports, Romania will conduct a two-day training entitled “Education for Social Justice”. The training will be organized in partnership with the International Step by Step Association, the Step by Step Center for Education and Professional Development, the Open Society Foundations, and the Roma Education Fund. The event will take place at Hotel Ibis Parliament, Bucharest, Romania, on September 29-30, 2011.

The training will be organized with the aim ofbuilding awareness around the issues of institutionalized discrimination and ways to build partnerships and allies to eliminate discriminatory attitudes towards families and children from disadvantaged backgrounds, including Roma children. This is particularly relevant, given that within the framework of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the European Commission has invited Member States and States seeking accession to the European Union to present national strategies for the inclusion of Roma within their national reform programmes for education, poverty reduction, and social and economic development. In this context and in line with the Convention on the Rights of Children, ensuring that young children from excluded and vulnerable groups are given equitable opportunities to access and use comprehensive and high quality ECD services is high on the agenda.

Specialists from the fields of ECD and representatives from local administration and multifunctional ECD centers as well as civil society organizations, including Roma NGOs will be sensitized about types of discrimination and develop action points on ways to eliminate discriminatory attitudes and practices towards the most marginalized children, including the Roma.

The trainingwill be organized within the framework of the EU-UNICEF Joint Management Project the Roma Good Start Initiative (RGSI). Funded by the European Union, the project aims to address measures to promote Early Childhood Development (ECD) as an entry point to fostering the social inclusion of Roma children.  It is being implemented in six countries: Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Spain, andthe former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The activities of the project include research, advocacy, capacity development, and communication, addressing the importance of ensuring that all children, including the most disadvantaged and marginalized, such as the Roma, are given the opportunity to have the best start in life. 

The expected results of RGSI are an increased capacity of relevant stakeholders and service providers to include Roma children in early childhood programs and to strengthen and expand existing services to embrace and implement inclusive early childhood care and education approaches.

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UNICEFhas been working in the CEECIS region since the ‘90s with the objective of ensuring that the rights of children, especially those from the most vulnerable and marginalized groups, are addressed comprehensively.  With a special commitment to meeting the survival, development, protection and participation rights of young children, the UNICEF Regional Office for CEECIS endeavours to support targeted and coordinated efforts to mainstream early childhood development principles in the health, nutrition, education, and child protection sectors. In Europe, UNICEF is a member of the Decade for Roma Inclusion and advocates and works for the rights of Roma children and their families.By joining the Decade, UNICEF has been afforded a unique opportunity to collaborate with development partners to bring children, including Roma children, to the forefront of policy attention. For more information about UNICEF and its work please visit:

For more information please contact:

Shakhlo Ashrafkhanova, ECD Specialist/RGSI Project Manager
UNICEF Regional Office for CEE/CIS
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
phone: +41 22 909 5578



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