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EQUAL Operational Programme 2000-2006

EQUAL Community Initiative

Community Initiatives were special programmes devised by the European Union to find new solutions to specific problems affecting the whole of the EU. Each Community Initiative was financed by one of the EU Structural Funds.

The EQUAL Community Initiative was funded by the ESF and aimed to fight discrimination and inequality in the labour market by improving access to employment and training opportunities for people who were unemployed, or vulnerable to unemployment. Maintaining best practice from EQUAL into a wider policy arena was a key objective of the Programme.

Under EQUAL, an ESF contribution of €34.5 million was invested in Ireland in the period 2000-2006. There were two funding periods. The first funding period (end 2001 to mid 2005) provided support to 21 Development Partnerships (project promoters) in Ireland. The second round of EQUAL funding in Ireland ran from January 2005 to the end of 2007 and supported 22 Development Partnerships over that period.

EQUAL comprised three strands:

  • Strand A: Tackling discrimination and inequalities linked to the labour market.
  • Strand B: Networking projects at national level to enable information exchanges and the dissemination of best practices.
  • Strand C: Joint work by the Commission and Member States to learn the lessons of good practice and take into account in policy development the priorities to be implemented through the EQUAL Initiative.

EQUAL IDEAS BANK

The ideas Bank was a web based innovation centre which contained products developed by Irish Round 1 projects. The products are categorisied in terms of a number of policy themes, which included: Equality and Diversity (In the Workplace) and (In Service Provision), Migrant Workers, Work Life Balance, Entrepreneurship and Life Long Learining.