Addressing Child Marriage in Roma Communities


Roma mediators build bridges between Roma communities and the societies where they live in order to empower Roma and increase their participation in society.

Target Community

Roma community in Antwerp

Equity Challenge

Roma have a long history of experiencing discrimination, persecution and exclusion. They are highly marginalized. Furthermore, girls are forced into marriages at a very young age, leading to domestic abuse, mental problems and physical problems (early pregnancies).


Roma mediation encourages constructive interaction between health systems (doctors, hospitals, mental health care), educational systems (teachers, school, educational assistants), housing (house owners, social housing), work (work programs) and Roma. The mediators encourage Roma to participate positively in society. Outside of the city, they are recognized as specialists and offer consultation and training on the subject of ‘working with Roma’ to other cities. Some of the mediators are women from the Roma communities who were also forced into marriage. They can communicate well with other young girls from the community, who feel safe to talk and learn about other opportunities. They conduct activities in three different levels: 1) Case/individual: Using engagement and negotiations, coaching and consultation with partners (police, welfare organizations, schools). 2) Prevention: Activities with girls,workshops in schools. 3) Policy: Creating awareness.


​​City of Antwerp: mediators are active in this city. Outside of the city, they are recognized as specialists and offer consultation and training on the subject of ‘working with Roma’ to other cities.​

Equity building blocks

strengthen voices
Participation + Power
Third party representatives are part of the underserved group/ community, understanding the issues and being able to communicate properly with the young girls.
analyze barriers
Fair Systems + Structures
Different approaches to address the problem, going from case/individual level, to societal/community level awareness, and policy level.
Providing for Future Generations
Activities with girls, workshops in schools for towards cultural change to prevent forced marriage.


Start Date:
Leading Organization: