Programme agreement signed for the Local development programme in Slovakia

The programme agreement for the Slovak local development programme was signed on 13 November 2019

Photo credits: Bogdan Croitoru

Key information about the programme

  1. The programme is operated by: Government Office of the Slovak Republic
  2. Other Programme Partners: the Council of Europe supports the implementation of the programme as an international partner organisation
  3. The programme’s objective is: strengthened social and economic cohesion
  4. The programme funding amounts to € 15 million (excluding co-financing) and is funded entirely by the Norway Grants.

Why is the programme needed?

Slovakia’s stable economic growth is territorially unbalanced resulting in severe and growing disparities between and within regions. The 20 least developed districts in eastern and south-eastern Slovakia persistently suffer from high unemployment, a lack of young and educated labour force and low investment and entrepreneurial activities. These are also the districts with a significant share of Roma population who are most affected by poverty, social exclusion and discrimination in many fields, including housing, with many of them living in remote, irregular settlements with sub-standard housing and lack of access to even basic amenities.

National policies have been put in place to address social and economic disparities across regions based on district action plans aiming to promote socio-economic development and fostering social inclusion, prevention and mitigation of risks facing young people. 

What will the programme achieve and who are the beneficiaries?

Complementing the efforts of national policies to combat regional disparities, the programme aims to strengthen social and economic cohesion by investing in improving opportunities for the most vulnerable groups (youth at risk, marginalised Roma communities) living in the most deprived areas of Slovakia. The programme will be implemented using an integrated approach and based on a strong collaboration of local actors.

The programme will support projects through two open calls and a small grant scheme.

The first open call aims to enhance access of vulnerable children and youth to a broader range of extra-curricular activities to improve their educational outcomes and to provide them with better skills for obtaining employment. The call is focused on the 20 most deprived districts and will support multi-functional youth centres: the collaboration and networking of existing local actors (i.e. local and regional authorities, schools, kindergartens, community centres, NGOs) working with children and youth to better respond to specific local needs.

The second open call will support community-based interventions in or for the direct benefit of marginalised Roma communities using an integrated approach: linking multiple interventions to improve their status and opportunities in the fields of education, employment, health, housing or non-discrimination.

The small grant scheme will support the capacity-building of smaller local organisations through the implementation of grassroots initiatives and the replication of proven good practices in the field of local development and the social inclusion of marginalised Roma communities.

Expanding the activities of the project funded from the 2009-2014 financial mechanism, a pre-defined project led by the National Institute for Education will promote inclusive education models in Slovak schools to increase the school participation and improve the educational outcomes of Roma children and youth. The project, applying a ‘whole school’ approach, will include training school staff and will broaden access to curricula on Romani language and history.

The direct target groups of the programme are municipalities and other public authorities, schools and kindergartens, community centres, NGO’s, etc. Through the projects, the programme aims to reach out to children and youth at risk of poverty and exclusion in the least developed districts of Slovakia as well as to marginalised Roma communities all over the country. 

How will the programme strengthen bilateral relations?

The pre-defined project promoting inclusive education models will be implemented in collaboration with donor project partners from Norway. The Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue will organise a study visit for Slovak pedagogical staff in Norway. The European Wergeland Centre will support the next edition of the Slovak academy through providing expertise on Education for democratic citizenship (EDC) and Human rights education (HRE) and related training for teachers/multipliers.

Availability of funding through open calls

The funding in this programme will be made available through the following calls, planned to be launched in June 2020:

  • Open call supporting multifunctional youth centres in the least developed districts
  • Open call on communitybased interventions supporting marginalised Roma communities
  • Small grant scheme on capacitybuilding for local organisations through grassroots initiatives

Download the full programme agreement for more detailed information about the programme.

More information can also be found on the Programme Operator’s website.