UNDP Pushes for Roma Employment Program in Macedonia

    Being at the bottom of the economic ladder is hardly new to the Roma. Marginalized, unemployed and poor are the dog-eared descriptions for this ethnic minority.

    The Roma comprise about 2.7 percent of the Macedonian population. They have traditionally worked as unskilled workers in low-paying and unstable jobs. Today, they have a high unemployment rate and many are dependent on social welfare.

    For its new country program for 2010-2015, the U.N. Development Program aims to help address these problems by promoting employment programs and fostering an entrepreneurial culture among the Roma, a UNDP official told Devex.

    Focusing on social inclusion and human capital development, the agency will assist in implementing active labor market measures and capacity building of the National Employment Service Agency, the official said.

    These initiatives are expected to be operational by January 2010.

    The UNDP is also supporting efforts in environmental protection and democratic governance. The total budget for the six-year country program amounts to about US$54 million.

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