Practice Details

Title of Practice: ACCEDER. Operational Multiregional Program for the fight against discrimination. Actions Aimed At The Roma Community. European Social Fund 2000-2006 / Spain - National Wide : Madrid
Year: 2004
BPTag: Best Practice
Reference Number: ESP276
City / Town / Village: Madrid
Region: Europe & Former Soviet Union States
Country: Spain
Has this practice been submitted previously? No
Previous Title:
Address: Street address: Antolina Merino, 10
Postal Code: 28025
City/Town: Madrid
State/ Province: Madrid
Country: Spain
Telephone: 00 34 91 422 09 60
Fax: 00 34 91 422 09 61
E-mail: acceder@fsgg.org
Web site: www.fsgg.org
Name of Contact Person: Jose Manuel Fresno García
Email of Contact Person:

The actions developed under the Operational Multiregional Program “Fight Against Discrimination” (O.P) are aimed at the roma community and at offering them integration opportunities. This population group is formed in Spain of more than 650.000 people, being great part of it in risk of social and labour exclusion.

The initial aims of the program, were to work with 15.000 roma people and to achieve at least 2.500 labour contracts, along 2000 and 2006. In order to do so, we run individual integration pathways, that is, a methodology based on the individual needs that develops the following type of actions:

  • Sensitizing and raising awareness between young roma people from 16 years old onwards and their families, so that they are willing to enter guidance, training and job search processes.

  • Welcome and first guidance in order to start defining the content of the individual employment pathways for training and job search.

  • Labour market research of those economic sectors for which roma population may be more qualified for. Contact with enterprises to build bridges between employment opportunities and roma unemployed people. Once the matching process is achieved, follow up, along with close accompaniment in the post, especially at the beginning of the process, is provided both to the new employed roma person and to the entrepreneur.

  • Training actions are developed in order to improve the roma population employability. Such experiences and methodologies are constantly being transferred so that the intervention that is actually being run and aimed at the roma community can be improved.

  • Introduction to positive experiences of social intervention with the roma community in relation to their labour insertion, along with exchange of good practices of projects aiming at promoting labour insertion of the roma community.

  • Creation of an information system -Monitoring Centre on Roma Community Labour Insertion-  which give permanent information on the evolution of the Roma Community situation in relation to employment.

  • When running a project that looks for impact both on the roma community and on the general society, dissemination activities are key aspects. Bringing up examples of good experiences open up roma persons´ perceptions of possibilities in relation to employment and training as ways of promoting themselves within the society.

At the end of the year 2003, 16.961 roma people have gone through individual employment pathways (that is, 113% of foreseen results by the end of 2006); and 9.741 labour contracts were achieved (389% of foreseen results by the end of 2006). 

Key Dates: • 01/01/1998 to 31/12/1999: Previous regional pilot experience. Program antecedent. • Year 2000: Design of plan and actions. • Year 2001: Beginning of actions. Customers´ first contact. • Year 2003: Selected as Good Practice by ESF, Spain. • 31/12/2003: 10.000 labour contracts are achieved
Norminating Organization Details
Name of Organization: Spanish Habitat Committee. Work Group of Best Practices
Contact Person: Dª Gema Rodríguez López
Type of Organization:

Name of OrganizationAddressContact PersonOrganisation TypeType of Support
Fundación Secretariado General GitanoStreet address: Antolina Merino, 10
Postal Code: 28025
City/Town: Madrid
State/ Province: Madrid
Country: Spain
Telephone: 00 34 91 422 09 60
Fax: 00 34 91 422 09 61
E-mail: acceder@fsgg.org
Web site: www.fsgg.org
Jose Manuel Fresno GarcíaNon-Governmental OrganisationTechnical Support, Administrative Support
European Social FundNONE Non-Governmental OrganisationFinancial Support
Spanish Ministry of Employment and Social AffairsNONR Central GovernmentFinancial Support, Political Support

Poverty Reduction



The Spanish Roma community consists of more than 650.000 people, which is going through a moment of transformation and change. They live under a situation of especial difficulty that constitutes one of the main causes for inequality and social exclusion: the great existing distance between them and ordinary ways of accessing vocational training and employment. Great part of the existing prejudices and stereotypes that cause stigmatization from the great majority, are based on economic motives. This Program represents, in this sense, a unique opportunity for the current generation of roma youngsters, to have access to the labour market in equal opportunities and conditions as any other non roma Spanish citizen.


Although actions themselves are directly run by the Fundación Secretariado General Gitano, the definition and establishment of priorities have been confronted with various representatives from the roma association movement.

The main priority is to promote and launch labour insertion actions such as individual employment pathways and the development and improvement of human resources, aimed at the roma community, since it is one of the most disadvantaged social groups within the Spanish state. Their situation of social exclusion along with their cultural specificity and peculiarities make this task rather difficult. This priority is divided into three dimensions:

The firs one, to promote the access of roma community to regular employment, now that the labour situation is rising.

The second one, to impulse the creation of community services oriented basically to  improve people’s quality of life and specially, to promote the social integration of the roma community itself.

The third one, to foster throughout the regional and local governments, more active and targeted oriented social and cultural policies with roma community.


The main aim is to promote equal opportunities for the roma community in their access to the labour market. This aim leans on an integrated and multidimensional approach in relation to training and employment. Such approach develops into coherent and converging two sided strategy:

The development and improvement of the employability or labour insertion capacity of the roma community, which is guaranteed by facilitating their access to vocational training and employment local and regional resources, and eventually, to the labour market. Individual treatment is essential in this methodology, beginning with an initial diagnosis of employability conditions of each person and designing appropriate measures and steps needed to improve their conditions to access employment.

To encourage and develop new jobs within community services, fostering more active policies with the roma community. Such services tackle their urgent need to social integration.


Actions aimed at the roma community through this Operational Program Against Discrimination from European Social Fund were assigned to the Fundación Secretariado General Gitano to run them as a whole, given this entity’s experience and trajectory in the field of vocational training and employment.

On one hand, to carry out this program and, therefore, to promote the access of the roma community into the labour market, 44 integrated employment units have been set up in many cities throughout  Spain. These units are located in accessible places for the roma community; they are fully equipped with necessary tools; they are composed of a total of 5 professionals in charge of running the program at local level (1 manager, 2 labour counselors, 1 intermediator with enterprises and 1 intercultural mediator –roma-).

On another hand, in the field of social policies, partnership is a crucial structure around which many and different interests take place around one common project.  Following this philosophy, the Operational Program is clearly launching the participation of various entities, as well as the synergy and complementarity with other initiatives with similar aims (other Operational Programs from European Social Fund, EQUAL Initiatives, regional and local programs, national programs….).

What are some key aspects that guarantee the success of this program?

  • Involvement of financial supporters of more than 70 departments from public administrations (national, regional and local level), from the areas of social policies and vocational training and employment.
  • Involvement of entrepreneur sector, media and other entities that are participating in the program in different ways.
  • Leading role of affected groups and their representative entities (roma associative movement, social networks…) in the development of the program actions.
  • Setting up of Monitoring Committees where more than 100 entities from all over Spain, are formally involved.  The aim of such Committees is to disseminate as much information as possible and to guarantee full transparency in the program actions.


At the present time we are halfway through the Program’s development (2000-2006) and quantitative results reinforce the aim and methodology of the program, namely, to put into practice the principle of equal opportunities of the roma community in their access to training and employment, so that they fully integrate into society. Such quantitative evaluation of the program’s development takes us necessarily to highlight its impact in at least three areas:

Regarding direct impact on the roma community, it is remarkable its impact on the improvement on their employability conditions gained through training and job experiences of customers of the 44 set up guidance and employment units throughout Spain (see map). Such intermediate results constitute small but important steps towards the elimination of all kinds of discrimination of the roma community in the access to the labour market. It is also important to increase and consolidate social cohesion.

Regarding the institutional field, it is remarkable to see how the program is raising awareness and sensitizing  institution about the need to adapt the training and employment systems to the specific situation of the roma community so that this last one may have access to all public services.

Regarding awareness raising of the general society and entrepreneurship, although it is not yet enough, we have witnessed attitude changes, mainly due to concrete personal experiences of relationships with roma people and due to campaigns and production of documents pursuing breaking down stereotypes and ignorance about the roma community.

Although we understand that normalization of the roma community in the field of employment is starting now be become true, there is still much to do. In the next years the Operational Program will focus its efforts in promoting quality and labour stability along with effective training actions that lead to real job opportunities and sensitizing actions aimed at the general society and to public institutions to that they contribute to dignify the roma community labour situation.

In spite of this positive evaluation of the development Program, we are aware of existing limits to the Program’s intervention, as well as remaining challenges to be tackle in the near future, such as:

  • To assure that certain sectors within the roma community, who have hardly benefited from the Operational Program until now, benefit from it.
  • To intensify accompaniment and follow up of customers in their employment pathways, so that they achieve more stable and good jobs and increase their participation in training resources.
  • To promote more training actions aimed at improving the quality of jobs by improving people’s professional qualification, paying special attention to the development of professional competences in the field of new technologies.
  • To give response to the need of a greater impact of “positive messages” against employment discrimination in the labour market, by promoting more sensitizing actions aimed at entrepreneurs, public administrations and society in general.


From the quantitative perspective:

  • More than 5.000 roma people have had access to a labour contract (9.741 labour contracts).
  • More than 160.000 hours of vocational training have been given throughout 190 courses where more than 1.800 roma pupils have participated.

From a qualitative perspective:

  • The promotion of autonomy and welfare of customers involved
  • Improving their possibilities of accessing a job
  • Guaranteeing advance in equal opportunities
  • Increasing specific measures aimed at this target group
  • Facilitating Roma’s incorporation into regular resources
  • Improving Roma’s  levels of social participation
  • The impact against discrimination for ethnic reasons
  • To impulse more active social policies aimed at the roma community that open up new training and employment spaces where they can participate.
  • To establish the set of actions in 44 cities of 13 regions within Spain with the participation of around 70 public and private entities, many of them supporting the program financially. The Program, therefore, is operating with a multiregional strategy, taking into account peculiarities and particular needs of each territory, but also starting from common elements to all of them which may be transferable.
  • Wide dissemination among the roma community about aims and actions carried out by the Program.
  • Design, elaboration and implementation of a guidance and labour insertion methodology and tools adapted to the target group.


Financial: More than 60 departments from the public administration (state, regional and local) participate with financial support. The participating departments deal with social welfare policies and vocational training and employment. Such participation will facilitate the incorporation of such measures within the more general policies carried out by public administrations.

Social and Economic: partnerships with public administrations has contributed greatly to the principle of local development, since it has allowed the Fundación Secretariado General Gitano to take part in local development plans and to impulse adapted policies in this framework. That is to say, that “roma policies” are being incorporated into general policies.

On the other hand, social cohesion is promoted by negotiating between all agents and activating the involvement of all actors that are working within the same territory with a common project.

Gender equality is also fostered. Roma women have a preferential treatment within the Program action plan. Around 50% of total customers and of the total number of labour insertions are women. Specific actions aimed exclusively to roma women are developed.

Cultural:  the action plans start from a deep knowledge of the reality of the roma community and its labour situation, which clearly leads to a more efficient and of greater quality intervention with the target group. Such intervention is developed by qualified teams which are intercultural, that is, include roma workers and non roma workers. Many or the roma workers act as mediators within the community.

The involvement of the roma community itself is also promoted, strengthening its capacity for participation, letting the information be accessible to the community (in time and in a comprehensive way) so that they have the possibility to take decisions  and to develop their capacities.



Elaboration and application of a guidance and labour insertion methodology and tools adapted to the roma community: individual intervention that takes into account cultural aspects (the relevance of the family, the concept of work and time…).

  • Welcome and gathering of personal information
  • Elaboration of diagnosis
  • Design of individual labour pathways
  • Development of actions
  • To accompany customers
  • Support within the family and community environment
  • Impact against discrimination for ethnic reasons

Against ideological elements that may hinder equality: the program contributes to weaken stereotypes by promoting the incorporation of roma people into the regular circuits of training and employment.

Against structural factors that act as barriers to equality: more flexible and adapted regulations and norms in relation to accessing training and employment resources are being  fostered. Through the Program, discrimination acts or processes are being detected, recognized, quantified and analyzed. Sensitizing measures aimed at our own staff are carried out so that they become aware and involved in the detection of discrimination and in the promotion of antidiscriminatory practices and approaches.

Against the historical misunderstanding between the roma community and the rest of society: the Program contributes to increase the Roma’s capacity for participation and expression. Contact and communication and relationships between roma and non roma people are facilitated. Joint activities between roma and non roma people are launched.

Participation of roma women in the Program

  • 48,8% of total customers are women
  • 64% of participants in vocational training courses, are women
  • 48% of total roma customers that have had access to employment, are women.

These learned lessons are letting us rearrange actions and reprogram actions in order to:

  • Have a greater positive impact in the social and media awareness.
  • Introduce measures that lead to a better basic training and qualification of the roma customers, which would improve their conditions of access and maintenance into the labour market.
  • Give an impulse to transfer this model of intervention into general public administration policies with competences in the field of vocational training and employment.


Main aspects regarding potential transferability of the Program:

European Union enlargement towards Eastern countries, where roma population is very high and whose social exclusion situation is very worrying and need to be tackled. This scenery confers great relevance to roma issues in the European context, which was previously rather ignored. Spain is, by far, the country from the European Union with bigger percentage of roma population. This Program may be a role model for many countries from eastern Europe, since its approach in based more on social integration than in cultural identity, concentrating efforts in improving life conditions of the roma community by their full incorporation into vocational training and regular employment.

The European Development Bank from the European Council considered this Program transferable to Eastern countries. In fact, we have signed an agreement with the Development Bank to, together with them, provide technical assistance to projects aiming at improving the living conditions of the Roma community in Eastern countries.  

At the start of the Program In the year 2000, we started 30 guidance and employment units in 30 different territories of Spain. Nowadays, due to direct request from other municipalities and regional administrations, we have enlarged the program and we are currently running 44 units.

The Program’s implementation processes and managing could also be used as role models to be used in other territories with very marked or distinct social and cultural characteristics and with limitations in the population’s access to general training and employment resources (other minorities, migrants, etc…). Due to the size of the Program, the development of the managing and coordination system is a key element for the success of the program. Such system may be transferred to other kind of projects, especially those run by big NGO´s and developing employment and social intervention in a wide territory.

The integrated approach of actions: comprises the whole individual employment pathway. The program operates with a multiregional strategy, taking into account peculiarities and specific needs and characteristics from every territory, starting from their common elements in this field, so that they become transferable

  • DIARIO “EL PAIS-NEGOCIOS”, Valeria Saccone, 05/11/2000.

  • DIARIO “ATLANTICO DE VIGO”, Redacción, 20/07/2002.

  • DIARIO “EL MUNDO”, Redacción, 22/07/2002.

  • “DIARIO DE NAVARRA”, Jesús Castillejo, 02/07/2002.

  • DIARIO “EL MUNDO DEL PAIS VASCO”, Alberto Abaitua, 13/04/2003.

  • “LA CRONOCA-EL MUNDO”, Mar Peláez, 11/10/2002.

  • “DIARIO DE NOTICIAS DE NAVARRA”, Redacción, 18/06/2003.

  • “LA VOZ DE AVILES-ASTURIAS”, C. Batalla, 13/11/2003. 

  • “Analysis of identified cases of Best Practice: ACCEDER Program. Individual Integrated Employment Pathways for the Roma Community”. “Intermediate Evaluation Report of the Multiregional Operational Program Fight Against Discrimination. European Social Fund” GPI Consulting. Spain. By request from the Spanish Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs, European Social Fund Unit, as it is established by the article 42 from 1260/99 Regulation from European Social Fund. 2003.

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