Officials outline Czech participation in European Year against Poverty and Social Exclusion


The year 2010 has been declared European Year against Poverty and Social Exclusion. On Friday, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs launched a campaign against poverty here in the Czech Republic, and outlined just how it aims to help the country’s poor.

At the beginning of this week, new data from across the European Union suggested the Czech Republic had the lowest poverty rate in the 27-member bloc. At the same time, polls conducted by Eurobarometer indicate that nearly 60 percent of Czechs regard it as a serious problem. Jana Říhová, who is coordinating Czech participation in the Year against Poverty and Social Exclusion, outlines the priorities of the Social Affairs Ministry.

“The ministry prepared a specific programme for the Czech Republic and chose five main priorities for the European Year. They are prevention of social exclusion due to indebtedness, better access to the labour market for excluded people, activating regional and local public administration, support better competitiveness of excluded people on the labour market, support social housing and resolving the problem of homelessness.”

The Ministry of Social Affairs is supporting 12 projects that will be carried out in cooperation with various NGOs. The main one will focus on raising economic literacy and fighting indebtedness, which they say is a growing concern. The ministry will also be appointing ten ambassadors to help raise the campaign’s visibility. One of them is Katarína Klamková, the head of IQ Roma Service, which is mapping and analysing the needs of socially excluded Roma communities:

Katarína KlamkováKatarína Klamková “The fight against poverty and social exclusion is one of the principles that I believe in. So when I got the invitation I told myself that since I believe in these values I should take the responsibility and talk about it.

What will be your target?

“I should be able to talk and give interviews especially in the field of NGOs. I should present added value of the NGO sector within the fight against poverty and social exclusion. I should give interviews and be present at various conferences and seminars to talk about and to present the NGOs within the Czech Republic especially those focusing on socially excluded Roma minorities.”

What do you think is the most serious problem here in the Czech Republic?

“In my point of view it is the approach of the system. There are plenty of things that could help and they are not so complicated but the system has to change both on the regional and national level. The process is very time consuming, slow, sometimes even stuck. I think it is not that much about money. It is more about reforms and changes inside the systems and policies.”

A full list of projects and events can be found at the official website, which will be launched in a few weeks’ time.