Roma settlements and poverty in Slovakia: Different policy approaches of the state, local governments, and NGOs
According to the official censuses, there are approximately 90,000 Roma people in Slovakia, although experts have estimated the actual number at between 350,000 and 500,000. Various international organisations and institutions have recently noted that widespread discrimination against the Roma is found in employment, education, health services, housing and loan practices. Many of their settlements lack formal infrastructure, access to drinking water, and proper sewage systems. Poverty among the Roma is very high, and the state has been failing in the implementation of its official anti-poverty policies. Therefore, other stakeholders, especially local governments and NGOs, have become much more important in this field.
The main research question is, whether other stakeholders replaced the state in the field of anti-poverty policies linked to the marginalized Roma communities. Taking into account recent development as well as the present state, it is assumed that both NGOs and local governments have significantly replaced the state in this field, and in contrast, it is assumed
that their approaches vary greatly, and therefore their outcomes differ significantly in terms of impact. For the research purposes quantitative data (obtained from various authorities as well as by means of field research), and qualitative data (e.g. content analysis of different strategic documents and implemented projects) are used. In addition to an analysis based on quantitative data, the article contains a few cases in order to support the interpretation of quantitative data and to point out the cases of adequate and inadequate practices.