Working with "Problem Populations": Participatory Interventions for the Roma in Hungary

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Community-based participatory research is promoted as the best way to make sustainable health improvements and is therefore the focus of many NGOs. However, Hungarian NGOs that have attempted to use community-based methods with Roma communities have come across specific challenges that have led some interventionists to claim that "it is not possible for the Roma to work by democratic measures." Using a social housing program as a case study, this paper examines attempts by Hungarian NGOs to meet the needs of the Roma minority through community based interventions and explores why most organizations have experienced limited success. Interventions, even those that attempt to be collaborative and use participatory methodologies, tend to be hierarchical in nature and strengthen, rather than break down, societal divides.

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  • Andria Timmer

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