Most of the participants of the EPP final conferences are familiar with the project through the activities of the past three years. Some of them shared their views and gave feedback on why EPP was a success.
Olga Vasilieva is a chief expert on nationalities and language policy of managing culture, nationalities, and religions of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional State Administration. During the conference she presented on the improvement of institutional mechanisms for managing ethno-cultural relations at the regional level, focusing on experiences at the local administration in Dnipropetrovsk. In her comment after the session she mentioned that since 2015 she has attended number of EPP events, and highlighted the importance of such initiatives for local actors: “People working for local municipalities or NGOs, they have good practical experience in their localities, but usually are missing theoretical knowledge on issues or information about international perspectives. During such events we share our experiences and get inspired. We usually go back home with new ideas on new initiatives we could implement. In our case, last year we conducted a study in our region to identify the needs of local ethnic groups. We drafted an initiative to establish a House of Nationalities, a cultural and educational centre. The proposal is now under consideration. I hope these types of initiatives will continue and we get more of a chance to get together and exchange practices”.
Belyana Salovatova is a Press Secretary of the Ukrainian Roma organisation “Amaro Kher” based in Dnipropetrovsk. During the conference she is presenting about their projects and initiatives. In addition to the project work for “Amaro Kher”, Belyana is a head of a folk dance and music group where she organises various cultural events to promote Roma culture among the local population and raise awareness about the Roma through music and art. “Interest is very high among other nationalities too, they want to know about our culture,” says Belyana. “This way we try to raise understanding, friendship among our local population and avoid xenophobia. Some of our most successful initiatives were exactly such cultural activities. They change people’s perceptions on Roma and we get closer with each other.”
Belyana attended number of regional seminars organised in the frameworks of the EPP in Dnepropetrovsk, where she had the opportunity to learn about other ethnicities and their challenges, and also to meet people involved with EPP regional networks. “My views on this project are very positive. I would say it is one of a kind because it covers not one specific ethnic group, as most of the organisations tend to do, but instead you work with all of them and this gives us a chance to meet others. Usually we Roma are separated from other ethnic groups. Yes, we all are different but we also have many similarities, many similar problems. So we need to work together”.