Together for better health for us by us

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Together for better health for us by us: Intercultural Roma Mediation for a Better Local Life

Budapest, HungaryPorcsalma, Nagyecsed, Nyírbátor, Kántorjánosi, Ózd, Hungary
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The project aims to improve the health condition of the Roma by supporting the systemic introduction of Roma health mediation and to improve health awareness in Roma communities, and to eliminate the gaps of access to the health care system.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if a newborn Roma had equal life expectany with a newborn middleclass non-Roma Hungarian?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The health conditions of Roma people are much below those of the non-Romas in Hungary, their access to health care services is poor becase of regional unequalities and also because of discrimination and prejudice. The poor state of health endured by the Roma population is directly related to the social conditions in which they live. The greatest health risks are faced by those who live in isolated communities.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

- Training and employment of Roma Health Mediators to build bridges and genetarte dialogue between the isolated communities and the health care system - Participatory planning processes led by the Roma mediators to identify and solve local problems and improve access to the health care services and eliminate discrimination within the system and the community - Systemizing Intercultural Roma Mediation by creation of the profession; work out of the education/training of the Mediators and systemic employment in the Helath Care, Education and other Public Service Systems.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

In 2013 33 outdoor toilets were built in Nagyecsed in co-operation with members of the local community and other local stakeholders led by the Roma mediator. This action was a result of a participatory co-operative planning process in which the above mentioned stakeholders took part. The cooperative planning process aimed at identifying the most pressing local problem - the lack of even basic sanitary facilities. After detailed discussion we found the most adequate solution: we decided to build, with broad based local participation reaching from members of the local community to village Mayor 33 wooden detached toilets. Community planning resulted a high level cost effectiveness that facilitated a very low per unit cost level.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Using these methodologies community people are empowered to solve their problems based on co-operative approaches and practices. The level of trust and solidarity has increased in the community, co-operation is problem solving became a common practice. People living in deep poverty,are usually very sceptical about their own ability to change their faith. However in this project they had firsthand experience that they can make a difference in their own as well as in others' lives. As Roma Mediators co-operate with the families, it is clearly demonstarted that their health awareness increases and and as well as their willingness to approach the health care services. This year we started to measure the results by using the baseline data of the Hungarian Health Care System as comparison. Owing to Roma mediators' intercultural bridging activities social prejudices diminish.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

This project as such can be repeted in many other settlements. This methodology can be applied in several arias other than the health sector, eg. education, housing and other public services. As the project is implemented in 4 countries in Europe, in Bulgaria, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary, that gives opportunity to share experience on European level. The full impact potential can be achieved if Roma mediation becomes a profession that is paid by the state. To achieve this the training of mediators should be included into the national curriculum and employment should be financed by the state.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Financial sustainability can be ensured if Roma mediation becomes nationally accepted tool and methodology for the integartion of Roma and training and employment of mediators becomes part of the national budget.

Founding Story

This project idea was submitted for GlaxoSmithKline European Community Partnership program aims at accelerating the improvement of the health status of Roma communities in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia by supporting local NGO’s directly and by supporting alignment and sharing best initiatives between them.


Project manager at Partners Hungary Foundation Trainer and facilitator to train the mediators and mentor them to facilitate the local roundtables and work with the families Roma mediators, 2 persons in 3 local communities every year, for 3 settlements/ year, 3 years Research advisor from Semmelweis Medical University