RoMOMatteR – Empowering Roma Girls’ Mattering through Reproductive Justice


What impact did you want to achieve?

Serve as a reference for researchers, organizations and public health professionals. Develop initiatives that involve all key agents in the defense of the reproductive rights of the most vulnerable groups, such as Roma adolescents. Stop the growing institutional and social invisibility in these periods of crisis.

What are your recommendations or calls for continued action on these issues?

The participants of the Romomatter project in Cordoba recommend continuing to work towards the empowerment of Roma girls and propose various actions at different levels.

First of all, the girls are mainly asking for support and resources from their families, educational centres, community associations and politicians in order to achieve their dreams.

Secondly, the members of the coalition and the community partnership consider essential work together and to abandon the assistential perspective that allows them to guide their actions towards social change.

Finally, it is recommended to work with participatory action research processes, in the long term with funding for their continuity.

The participants in the Romomatter project from Romania concluded that empowering Roma girls through reproductive justice can be achieved through sustained and long term policies which aren’t in the hands of project partners, but rather in the hands of national authorities. The Roma girls need a lot of support, both in the form of services and financial aid from private and public authorities, but also recognition and emotional support from their family and community.

They need this complex support in order to overcome inequalities and vulnerabilities that lead to worrisome statistics of early school dropout and teenage pregnancies. Teachers and educators, as well as the whole scientific community and private sector representatives, should be encouraged to develop, or at least be part of, mentoring programs designed to help children and their parents on the road to pursue education and fulfill their potential.

However, the Romomatter Project did bring a state of awareness on these issues at least among the project’s direct beneficiaries and helped Roma girls, as pointed out by themselves, to identify their dreams in life and motivated them to further pursue them. It remains to be seen whether these motivational effects will be maintained in the long term, but the odds are that more such projects will be needed in the future.

The participants in the Romomatter project in Bulgaria conclude that to empower Roma girls’ mattering linked to reproductive justice they need to feel trusted and supported by their families, community and organizations working within their community. They need to have open and safe space long-term, where they can communicate, socialize and exchange ideas. The girls should be in charge of choosing the topics to be discussed and the activities to be carried out rather than the adults. Their rights to education need to be protected and guaranteed.

  • evidence

    What do we do?

    The general objective is to empower Roma girls’ mattering to help them envision their futures and choose motherhood only if and when they are ready. This will allow them to become active players who participate in all decisions and actions affecting them, finally exhibiting pictures taken throughout the project to advocate for their rights.

    The place is called:

    Córdoba (Spain), Alicante (Spain), Bucharest (Romania)


    01.01.19 until 30.06.210

    Link to website:
  • advice

    Tell us your advice on doing participation activities.

    Strategies should address the roots of vulnerability both in Roma communities and mainstream society. We highlight the significant disparities in Roma women’s reproductive rights and health and suggest the need for tailored programs. We also suggest the need to redefine the nature of health interventions through the lens of reproductive justice . Our research did not identify any published evidence of tailored programs related to this topic. Thus, empowerment interventions needed are not only specifically adapted to the cultural and community characteristics of Roma women, but also include evaluation. In terms of research, a specific focus on Roma women’s reproductive justice is needed in order to begin the task of transforming inequalities.

    What do you suggest other people try out?

    Have a mechanism in place for a rapid response – taking account COVID-19, flexible and willing to adapt without losing sight of the mission. Develop mechanisms of accountability and transparency, democratically negotiating changes. Photovoice encourages finding an individual voice, dynamizes time for reflection and gives an instrument and creates a space for girls to be girls. Participatory action research promotes horizontal relationships – between facilitators, community partners and researchers. Embed girls perspectives in their communities and EU-level, using new ways of connecting – taking into account a digital and global perspective.

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