Intern – Roma Inclusion- support to UNICEF Programme implementation, with the focus on Roma children and families
Most Roma families are affected by chronic multi-dimensional poverty and social exclusion. Only 14 per cent of Roma aged 18 to 24 are in employment, education or training, compared to 41 per cent of non-Roma, and the gender gap remains significant.
Intern – Roma Inclusion- support to UNICEF Programme implementation, with the focus on Roma children and families, UNICEF Sarajevo, B&H, 3 months, with a possibility of extension (Open to candidates who are identifying as Roma and who are living in BiH)
While there are varied estimates of the size of the Roma population in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), the BiH Law on the Protection of National Minorities recognizes 17 national minorities in BiH, the Roma being the largest. The number of Roma in the country as per the last census (2013) is 13,000 (0.36 percent of the overall population)1, with the latest official estimates approximate the number of Roma in BiH to be around 25,000 to 50,000. Roma civil society organizations estimate this number to be much higher considering not all Roma persons are registered or they might be choosing to declare themselves as one of the three constituent peoples.
Most Roma families are affected by chronic multi-dimensional poverty and social exclusion. Only 14 per cent of Roma aged 18 to 24 are in employment, education or training, compared to 41 per cent of non-Roma, and the gender gap remains significant. While women in both groups are less likely to be employed, marginalized Roma women face the lowest employment rates in the Western Balkans region: only 4 per cent were employed in 2017 compared to 19 per cent of marginalized Roma men.
Health: Although the legal framework and provisions for the protection of the rights of minorities are clearly included in the Constitution of BiH, especially concerning health care, vulnerable children such as Roma can be invisible to the system and, due to various legal constraints, sometimes are not covered through health insurance systems. Health indicators for the Roma community illustrate a negative disparity compared to the total population in BiH. Indicators per MICS on birth weight show that 14 percent of Roma children are born with the weight below 2,500 grams, while only 3 percent of general population newborns are underweight. The Early Growth and Development Index shows a rate of 85 percent, whereas this percentage is 96 percent in the total population. The rate of early childbirth indicates that 31 percent of Roma women give birth before the age of 18. There are strong inequities among vulnerable children, leading to unequal access to childhood immunization, especially for Roma children. Only four percent of Roma children get fully vaccinated, whereas the coverage rate is 68 percent for the total population in 2011-2012.
Education: Only 25 percent of children 3 to 6 years old in BiH are enrolled in early childhood education and care (ECEC). While this percentage is the lowest in Europe and one of the lowest ones worldwide, the discrepancy is even larger for vulnerable children – the attendance rate for Roma boys and girls is less than two percent and out of the total number of children enrolled in early childhood education. There are also prejudices of the general population towards inclusion.
For Roma children the rate of school attendance is considerably lower: 69 percent attending primary and 23 percent attending secondary education, with a higher percentage of enrolment for Roma boys than girls (67 percent girls in primary and 18 percent girls in secondary education). Further, Romani Early Years Network (REYN) published data for 2022, claiming that 56 percent have never been to school or did not complete their education6 and 42 percent of survey Romani families reported that their children do not have access to quality services, with limited access to libraries (67.3 percent), ECE (66 percent), and sports centers (78 percent). The disparity with boys and girls for the Roma community is more severe compared to non-Roma neighbors with Roma women have a lower level of education in relation to Roma men in general. The literacy rate among Roma men aged 15 to 24 is 90 per cent but 69 percent for Roma women. The literacy rate among non-Roma for both women and men is 99 percent.
Protection: Roma persons comprise the majority of persons at risk of statelessness in BiH. The majority of persons at risk of statelessness live below the poverty line, in informal settlements and under difficult conditions. Many are unable to access social protection as they do not possess any document.
Roma children in BiH experience high levels of discrimination and social exclusion, which increases their vulnerability to violence, exploitation, and abuse. Roma children are disproportionally affected by violence against children, with 57.6 reporting violent discipline in the 2011/2 MICS survey. One of the examples is increased vulnerability to be victims of trafficking, especially women and children. According to GRETA report for 2022, 62 percent of potential trafficking of human being victims were children, majority from Roma community.9 Roma children are also at risk of exploitation of child begging. Based on MHRR report, 80 percent of Roma children were forced to beg in the streets by their caregivers, and in 60 percent of cases, the main driver behind this decision was socioeconomic status of the family (poverty).
Roma girls are more at risk of child marriage: 48 percent of Roma women ages 20-49 (compared to 10 percent among general population) married before the age of 18, and 15 percent were married before the age of 15. Roma children are more likely to be without parental care. Economic factors drive a third of placements of children into alternative care and the majority of children without parental care reportedly have at least one living parent. Roma children are less likely to be included in foster care system, with foster care parents declining placements of Roma children and very few Roma foster care parents trained and certified to date.
Almost all Roma children under five, according to the mother/caretaker’s declaration, had been registered at birth (96 per cent); however, interviewers were not shown a birth certificate in 20 per cent of cases. The lowest percentage of registered children (91 per cent) was found amongst those of the earliest age, 0-11 months, which indicates that a notable proportion of parents continue to not register their children at or shortly after birth12 and procedure to determine the identity of the mother or kinship with the child is lengthier.13 According to REYN survey in 2022, 56 percent of Roma children face discrimination when accessing public services or premises.
As for employment, according to the Action Plan on social inclusion of Roma 2021-2025, approx. 10,490 people are unemployed and an estimated employability rate of Roma in BiH is 11%. The qualification structure points that 88% of Roma registered at Public Employment Services (PES) do not have a qualification, and in relation to gender, 45% are unemployed women.
In line with the Child Rights Committee Concluding Remarks of 2019, United Nations Committee on the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Concluding Remarks to BiH of 2021, and the Declaration of the Western Balkans Partners on Roma Integration, the BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees of BiH has developed an Action Plan (AP) of Bosnia and Herzegovina 2021-2025 for Social Inclusion of Roma. The AP states its long-term objective of this plan is: “Improvement of the social status and inclusion of Roma in BiH”.
The AP of Bosnia and Herzegovina 2021-2025 for Social Inclusion of Roma recognizes UNICEF as a key partner in the areas of combating discrimination and prejudice towards Roma and strengthening Roma education, including pre-school education and primary education. At the same time, the AP recognizes financial gaps for increasing immunization rate among Roma children. The AP is aligned to the EU Roma Strategic Framework for Equality, Inclusion and Participation 2020 – 2030 developed by the European Parliament, Council, and several Europe-wide and national civil society organisations to show a need to renew and step up the commitment to Roma equality, inclusion and participation at both European and national level, and builds on the Poznan Declaration.14 BiH received candidate status for EU accession in December 2022. 15
The UNICEF BiH Country Programme Document (2021-2025) aimed at improving the lives of children and adolescents, especially the most vulnerable in the areas of health, education and protection.
How can you make a difference?
Under the supervision of Education Officer in UNICEF BiH and in close coordination with Deputy Representative and other programme colleagues, the intern will:
- Support UNICEF programme of Cooperation 2021-2025 in implementation of the priorities identified for accelerating Roma inclusion across sectors (Education, Health and Nutrition, Early Childhood Development, Child Protection, Social Policy, Adolescent Development and Youth Empowerment, Child Rights Monitoring) and in close cooperation with UNICEF colleagues, provide inputs, guidance, and support to program development and implementation;
- Support the mapping stakeholders (organizations and individuals) for Social Inclusion of Roma and other supporting professionals, such as mentors, tutors etc. for the purpose of the more quality and targeted programme development and implementation.
- Mapping the existing initiatives/projects targeting Roma children and families with the focus on those complimenting UNICEF work, for the purpose of better coordination with the partners
- Support analysis and monitoring of the situation of Roma in BiH and provide recommendations for further programme interventions.
- Event support in organizing meetings and various events related to implementation of programme activities;
- Support the UNICEF advocacy, communication and social and behavior change efforts aimed at promoting equal rights and opportunities for Roma and other vulnerable children among different audiences.
- Support the Country Management Team to strengthen diversity and inclusion in the UNICEF team.
To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…
- Be enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate, or have graduated within the past two years.
- Have strong academic performance as demonstrated by recent university or institution records or, if not available, a reference letter from an academic supervisor;
- Familiarity with the context of Roma children and families in BiH.
- Previous exposure to areas of work relevant to UNICEF programmes’ – such as social and child protection, health, education, early childhood development is considered an asset.
- Good knowledge of Bosnian
- Basic knowledge of English is required.
- Applicants must be at least 18 years old.
- Have no immediate relatives (e.g. mother, father, sister, brother) working with UNICEF;
- Strong willingness to learn on the job is required.
- Have good computer skills, including Microsoft Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel);
- Good communication, writing skills and presentation skills;
- Ability to work with different partners (Government institutions, NGOs, community organizations, international organizations, and other);
- Be able to work individually and as part of a team;
- Displays cultural, gender, religious and racial sensitivity, as well as awareness of different nationalities and age awareness.
- Open to candidates/applicants who identify as Roma living in BiH
If you wish to make a difference for every child you can apply online. Only completed online applications will be eligible for further review.
When you apply, please attach the following:
- Your CV and a cover letter in English or Bosnian stating your motivation for application;
- Proof of having completed a minimum of 1 year of university education;
- Proof of strong academic performance as demonstrated by recent university or institution records or, if not available, a reference letter from an academic supervisor;
- Copy of candidate’s most recent official transcript showing good academic performance;
DEADLINE: 18 May 2023
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