Romanian Social Development Fund
" An organization for supporting people and their problems "
Programs • SDF
Social Development Fund

Social Development Fund (SDF) is the first programme developed by RSDFthat was, in fact, the reason for establishment of the organization.

The programme has received from funders ' highly satisfactory ' rating.

Abbreviated as SDF, this programme constitutes the expression of interest and commitment of the Government to reduce poverty in rural areas and to ensure a better access of disadvantaged groups to social services.One of the long-term objectives consisted in overcoming passivity and transforming poor communities in creative and dynamic social spaces, able to identify solutions and resources to initiate and develop community projects.

It worked as a grant scheme, the funds awarded to projects being transferred directly to community groups formed by citizens. The approach, focused on involving citizens in setting priorities and defining local projects through a participatory process, with the application of the principle of 'learning by doing', by investing local initiative groups with responsibilities in fund management, carrying out procedures for acquisitions and other activities within the projects launched a new trend in designing local development programs in Romania.

SDF has been carried out in two phases addressed mainly rural communities.


Period: 1999 - 2007

General objectives:

- Reducing poverty

- Involving citizens in the development of their own communities

- Increasing capacity to design and run local development projects


-         poor communities from rural areas

-         disadvantaged groups (from rural and urban areas)

Programme value: USD 51.1 million

Funding sources: 
- International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (refundable loan granted to the Romanian Government)

- Development Bank of the Council of Europe (refundable loan granted to the Romanian Government)

- Romanian Government (state budget)

- 138 facilitated communities
- 606 small infrastructure works carried out in rural areas
- 129 community-based social services established
- 184 centres processing of raw materials in rural areasthat act as poles of local development
- 16 innovative projects.


-         1,500 km of roads rehabilitated which improve access to the school, public services, markets etc.

-         33,614 persons who benefit from drinking water and better hygiene conditions,

-         24 community centers developing cultural, social, ethnic activities,

-         180 centres processing of raw materials in rural areas,

-         2,138 disadvantaged children receiving alternative educational services,

-         855 dependent elderly who are cared for at home or in community centers,

-         1,244 people receiving temporary shelter services,

-         2,628 community members trained in project management (the members of the projects' management committee).


The results of the external evaluation made for the programme (carried out by Metromedia Transylvania, in 2000 and 2006, and the Gallup Organization International, in 2004) have shown, among others, the following:

- Both ordinary villagers and local leaders were, in the vast majority (over 80%) of the opinion that 'people in the village were needed for the project', it 'has influenced the lives of the community' and that 'many people in the village benefited from its results';

- The degree of confidence in authorities, and in the other members of the Community has increased (within financed communities).

The success of this programme at the national scale has led to the takeover of the model in the framework of the pre-accession programmes, but also to its reproduction in some projects initiated after 2001 of the World Bank. Finally yet importantly, many institutions and organizations have borrowed practices and tools successfully tested by this programme for local development.