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Our themes.

At Bridge EU, we focus on common challenges that people face, even though they may have different backgrounds (e.g. ethnicity, disability, residence status, sex, gender, religion). The thematic areas below should help us to find the adequate policy responses. 

Find out more about our approach below.

Social inclusion, equal opportunities and human rights

This is a comprehensive theme, where all other thematics below can be included. At the same time we understand social inclusion, equal opportunities and human rights as not only a thematic area but also a cross-cutting priority. What does it mean in practice? We introduce specific criteria in transport, environment protection, business development, etc. to ensure that these policies offer socially inclusive, equal and human rights consistent solutions. For example public transport development should also contribute to access to good quality, non-segregated services for people living in isolated geographical areas.

Equal access to inclusive and non-segregated services

Everyone has the right to benefit from inclusive  and non-segregated services, regardless of their ethnicity, disability, nationality, social status, etc. In many cases, people's access is limited or blocked.

People face challenges like geographical isolation, discrimination, shortage in service providers (e.g. teachers, medical doctors, social workers, nurses). We address these issues through policy initiatives, pilots, campaigns, advocacy, etc. 

Taking in account the developments in our modern societies, we aim to develop services that are sustainable, efficient, and use the state of the art technology. For example, building services in rural areas should respect the principle of sustainability. In the post Covid era, we should where possible use the online tools to provide services. 

Independent living & deinstitutionalisation

​Even though the implications of institutional care is undisputable, people are locked up in residential care services across Europe. Unfortunately, these institutions continue to be refurbished and newly built instead of ensuring access to community based services and families. 

People residing in institutions should have the choice to decide where and how to live. ​One of the more recent challenges is the development of small scale residential care services which do not provide independent living conditions. Even more, people in group home might face physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

To tackle all of these issues, we leaborate responses in line with international human rights standards, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. This should be respected at all level of policz development.

Tackling & preventing education and housing segregation 

Segregation is a physical sympton of inequalities and discrimination in society. It is not possible to reduce inequalities without tackling education and housing segregation. 

 

Solutions are not always straightforward. Direct actions aiming to desegregate services should always be accompanied by more comprehensive measures. In practical terms, it means that for example that the desegregation of schools should come with housing, employment/income generation, health measures. 

In order to adress the drivers and consequences of segregated services, we provide solutions in education, housing, social-, child-, and healthcare, employment, migration legal, policy frameworks and also in its practical implications. 

 

We are currently addressing gaps in the following areas: segregated education of children with a migrant background, segregated villages in Central and Eastern European countries, separate vocational training for different ethnic groups, etc. 

Mapping of individual, service & infrastructure needs

Policies cannot be developed without understanding and mapping the needs. Yet in many cases, social policies do not reflect on the needs of individuals and their access to services and infrastructure. Probably this is one of the reasons why social policies do not always contribute to reducing inequalities and do not have a clear focus on extreme poverty. 

Mapping the needs of individuals is the right way to understand the gaps and drivers of inequalities - as all individuals might be different. Efficient social policies should address the lack of access to basic services and infrastructure.

 

Following this, we develop methodologies to map individual needs, and mappings of access to services and infrastructure. These methodologies include indicators, identification of gaps and measures, and the corresponding monitoring, both at EU and national levels (in line with the poverty mapping, see below). 

Poverty mapping

The geographical manifestation of poverty and inequalities is an important element of social policy making. It helps to address the isolation and lack of access to basic services. Several initiatives have been implemented to identify pockets of poverty at different territorial levels (e.g. World Bank, ESPON, national governments, etc). When it comes to the practical implementation of poverty mapping, there are still signficant gaps in EU and national policies. 

Poverty mapping should have a clear focus on the most isolated and segregated areas in order to efficiently design measures to reduce inequalities. Our work is based on some national and EU experiences. At the same time, we would like to introduce some new approaches to address housing and spatial segregation, together with labour mobility, sustainable service and infrastructure development. It should have a particular focus on so-called 'segregated villages' in central and eastern europe where people don't have access to basic services (e.g. schools, social health-care services, etc).

Community development & empowerment

Communities should be understood as the group of individuals who share similar needs and challenges (e.g. children facing segregated education, people living in deprived urban and rural neighbourhoods, asylum seekers facing challenges in the determination procedure). While some communities may have common characterestics (e.g. gender, ethnicity, nationality, disability) this does not mean that individuals in these communities have the same needs (e.g. not all people with a Roma background face poverty and segregation). At the same time, we should not forget that these communities may face discrimination on the basis of these common characterestics.  

As it was said above, the needs of individuals should be thoroughly mapped. We also work on approaches of community needs assessment in order to channel their interests into policy-making. Mapping of both individual and community needs might be limited due to the low level of capacities. To tackle this question, we offer empowerment activities which includes training, coaching, facilitated participation in policy discourse, etc.

 

As a basic rule, low capacity should not be used as an excuse to exclude and/or not involve communities in consultations and policy-making processes.  

Interested in our themes
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