Thematic Human and social development 2018-06-15T08:42:02+00:00


In Romania, the social inclusion of children with autistic spectrum disorders and special educational needs (SEN) has been a difficult process. These children have often been isolated and at risk of social exclusion. In the last EEA Grants funding period we worked hard to lay the foundation for an equal and inclusive Europe for future generations.
“Our son was diagnosed before turning two years old, which seldom happens among autistic children. I believe we are very lucky that he was diagnosed so early,” said the parent of a boy whose life changed thanks to the project ‘Developing strategies and policies to grant equal chances to children’.
The project’s Norwegian partner, Radarveien Foundation, shared its experience with the County School Inspectorate in Bistrița-Năsăud County. The education and support offered in expensive therapy centres were often inaccessible for children from rural areas. With the EEA Grants support, this County school created an educational centre dedicated to the evaluation and therapy of children diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorders and special educational needs.
In addition, more than 260 teachers attended training programmes, more than 200 parents participated in information and awareness raising activities, and more than 60 pupils and pre-schoolers benefitted from over 4000 evaluation and therapy hours converted into personalised intervention plans.
The fact that the children were showing progress due to the educational therapy has been an important result of the project. This initiative has also changed the attitudes and mentality of the authorities, the school, the teachers and the parents. Today, the administration of Bistrița-Năsăud County is determined to include the therapy method in the development strategy of the county.
You can read more about our other projects under we have funded in this sector here.


In recent years, most of our beneficiary countries recorded improvements in human and social development. Despite these positive trends, unemployment, gender disparities, and high poverty levels remain significant challenges in most of the countries.
Poverty and social exclusion can be the root cause of people not getting access to healthcare, education and social services. The causes of social exclusion in the beneficiary countries are diverse and require action in multiple areas. To this end, our human and social development programmes target the root causes of exclusion by supporting projects in health, local development, gender equality, capacity building, children and youth at risk, and Roma empowerment.
Reaching the European goals of equality and reduced disparities means addressing challenges such as insufficient health care services, lack of understanding of basic health information, and services needed to make appropriate health decisions and addressing social inequalities in health. We are doing so by building stronger health care systems and prioritising reduction of inequalities in access to health services for vulnerable groups like elderly, children and Roma.


With almost €390 million in funding from the EEA and Norway Grants in the previous period, we have strengthened social and economic cohesion and increased social inclusion. Our projects have led to improved health services, promotion of gender equality and work-life balance and benefitted children, youth at risk and other vulnerable groups. Inclusion of Roma and other minorities have received special attention.
In Bulgaria, which faces significant challenges in access to health, 3 900 mental health patients have benefitted from community-based care, and 7 600 pregnant women from vulnerable groups such as Roma have benefitted from home visits.
In Romania, 130 000 people from vulnerable groups have been served by community health mediators and community nurses.
See our Data and Results Portal for a detailed breakdown of the funding across countries.
Read about what will be supported in the human and social development sector in the 2014-2021 funding period