Reform Fund Linked to the
Inclusion of Roma and other Vulnerable Groups

Line 2

Annex 4 of the Framework Agreement between the Government of Romania and the Swiss Federal Council concerning the Implementation of the Swiss-Romanian Cooperation Programme to reduce economic and social disparities within the enlarged European Union holds that a thematic fund for the Inlcusion of Roma and other vulnerable groups will be set up and implemented under two different lines. Line 2 shall focus on Empowerment and Awareness Building. 

Launched on September 2, 2014, Line 2 of the programme aims at contributing to the empowerment of Roma and (indirectly) the communities they live in by promoting income generation through formal entrepreneurship and by reducing discrimination in the formal economy. Out of the 11 submitted expressions of interest, the evaluation process resulted in 5 applicants being invited to submit full-scale proposals.

On January 26, an information workshop has been convened with the invited applicants. 4 out of the 5 have submitted the application documents by the set deadline. Out of the 4 submitted applications, the Steering Committee has proposed 2 for approval. SDC has approved the proposal of the Steering Committee.

The mandate agreement with one of the EAs (Mihai Eminescu Trust Foundation) has been signed and the project was launched, meanwhile the second, the Foundation for the Development of Social Economy has also been contracted. Considering the low number of selected expressions of interest, the Steering Committee decided to review potential options for the re-allocation of the remaining funds within Line 2.

The Steering Committee considered that the most realistic, time-effective and also implying the lowest level of risk option would be to work with Line 1 executing agencies within the scope of Line 2. By doing this, the overall goal of the programme to maximise the impact at fund level would have higher chances of being achieved. Thus, EAs under Line 1 have been invited to submit proposals for an economic component to their projects, within similar lines with the ones of Line 2, promoting economic empowerment.

The three EAs under Line 1, TdH, HEKS and Caritas have accepted the invitation and submitted the required documentation until the set deadline, May 11, 2015. The proposals have been pre-evaluated by the PMU, the Grants Evaluation Committee (GEC) have drafted its evaluation report based on the PMU’s pre-evaluation document, while the Steering Committee has reviewed the evaluation report of the GEC and recommended to SDC that two proposals (TdH and HEKS) to be approved, with a series of clarifications, while the third one, submitted by Caritas, to be revised and resubmitted, following a series of conditions. The contracting in both cases was undergoing to be finalized in early-2016; meanwhile Caritas has withdrawn its application.