Evaluation of HEKS Roma Inclusion Projects Underway

Focus group discussions, external financial audit, exhaustive narrative reports – this is how RCH and HEKS prepare the evaluation of their cooperation in the past four years.

As part of the evaluation process, coordinators of the local projects of the national Roma inclusion program gathered together on June 9 in the Synod Office of RCH, under the professional leading of SIMPACT Non Profit Ltd., contracted partner in terms of the exhausting evaluation.

Representative of the congregations Dunaszekcső-Véménd, Jánoshalma, Budapest-Józsefváros, Kecskemét and Budapest-Kispest have engaged in an honest and open discussion, which not only took place in a good mood, but also equipped the participants with momentum and a lot of orientation and advice.

We talked about experiences of the local Roma mission, the way of implementing the HEKS projects, including challenges, successes, plans and the issue of sustainability. In the conclusion participants stressed the importance of trust and personal relationships and the necessity of commitment and calling fuelling the dedicated work of Roma and non-Roma volunteers in disadvantaged local settings.

The historic partnership between Swiss Interchurch Aid (HEKS) and the Reformed Church in Hungary (RCH) continues as members of both organizations are going to discuss their ongoing partnership work in the region. The discussions focus on the wildly successful three-year Country Program (CP) in Hungary and the future priorities for continuing it for the next four years. The current priorities, the Roma inclusion project and the Refugee integration project. HEKS has long supported the RCH in its outreach work to the needy and disadvantaged in society, going back even to the time of communism. The Swiss aid organization puts a focus on community transformation though congregational involvement – something which the RCH has a vested interest in as well. Over the past few years HEKS has made it possible, through a vital Country Program (CP) with the RCH, for Reformed congregations to apply for grants in order to serve their communities on a local level.

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Fotó: Réka Borbás

Réka Borbás, member of the professional-administrative staff of the National Roma Ministry office of RCH, also took part in the joint session. "It was a moving experience to participate in the Focus Group discussion and to listen to first hand stories of the local coordinators about experiences, challenges and difficulties of their daily work. It is a true privilege to get to know these wonderful colleagues, full of dedication and commitment, who are working in the projects. And not only listening to them, but also encouraging them to persevere and continue serving faithfully under extremely difficult circumstances,” she said.

Christ is our common ground, sharing the Gospel in the Roma afterschools and in various groups; networking in the framework of our different programs; inclusion and social integration are the foundation of our ministry wherever we serve. It filled us with joy and gratitude that the work in the communities is not after all question of financial, earthly resources, just like the calling of these people and their faithful commitment is not first of all subject of remuneration. We wish those doing the fieldwork a lot of strength and perseverance for the period ahead," Réka concluded at the end of the full day meeting.