Copyright 2019 FRDS



“Leading and learning are inseparable”

John F. Kennedy

Opinions of the beneficiaries

The first contact with the RSDF took place under the conditions in which, in order to apply within the PHARE 2001 Program, it was necessary to conclude a partnership between the local public authority and a locally set up initiative group. Then I learned about Law 129/1998 on the establishment, organization and operation of the Romanian Social Development Fund. Subsequently, during the selection process carried out by FRDS within the Priority Interventions Program (PIP), the Roma community located on Primăverii Street in Buzău was included in a community facilitation process in order to submit a funding application within the PIP. On this occasion we benefited from the support of Mr. Manuel Andrei, one of the oldest facilitators of RSDF, to set up the “Spring” initiative group and to develop the application for funding for the project submitted by the Municipality of Buzau entitled “A better life for the Roma from Primaverii Street”. We received great support from Mrs. Paula Constantin, with whom we corresponded intensively by e-mail and who helped us to improve the demand for funding (activities, budget, etc.) in order to achieve the proposed objectives. Also, during the period of completing the documentation for concluding the financing contract, I benefited from the experience of Mrs. Camelia Tancau, evaluator with whom I made visits both in the community from Primăverii Street and at the headquarters of the Buzau Railways School Group where the multifunctional center will be established for the benefit of the Roma community”.

Iosif Calin, Councilor of the Primary Cabinet, Buzau

As a mother and project coordinator, if I were to start this activity again, I would not refuse, but now, after gaining some experience, I would know that things always have a solution, no matter how many difficulties I encounter to help children in need. RSDF help is welcome and we want other collaborations.

Gudana Mihaela- project coordinator “A chance for all” – Socio-educational center, integrated project, Roma community Tălpigi, Galati county

In order to do tourism, you have to offer people accommodation, utilities, road, drinking water, sewerage. Otherwise he comes once and says: It is nice here at you but if I break the car and give 1000 or 2000 EURO I won’t come.(Deputy mayor)

At first, in the projects, people were a little restrained because they didn’t know what the RSDF was doing and they did it and we will stay with the projects in the closet. But it wasn’t like that. We are satisfied. (group member)

You have to be patient, understand the mechanism and it will work. (group member)

Thousands of people have running water thanks to these projects. (group member)

People gained courage and confidence. They saw that it was possible. (project coordinator)

Rehabilitation of Valea Arşiţei road, Borşa, Maramureş


Everyone thought of something. It was not a single proposal. There was also the construction of sections of sidewalks in the locality, there was also a development in the area of ​​the small lake, a project and another project was with consolidation works at a school. (Project coordinator)

I had my first meeting at the Cultural House. Let’s not have problems, let’s choose and let everyone come. And by mutual agreement we decided to keep the project with the bridge. (Local mayor)

Rehabilitation of access in the Izvor, Dognecea, Caraş-Severin neighborhood


I said the roof affects us all. This year the water reaches 3rd floor, next year the second floor, and then the first floor. And what we do? The facade is ruined, everything is ruined. “(Treasurer of the initiative group)

We all got together and that’s what we’re talking about. Each contributed something, to a greater or lesser extent. We have a secretary of the initiative group and he was the one who wrote the project with his own hand. […] It went well with us. I found a group where everyone knew what to do. The president wrote the papers. I keep records of what is needed: registration of contracts, documents. “(Treasurer of the initiative group)

For the locality it will mean a lot. We were even talking to one of our guards and he said that now he has the courage to invite his friends or acquaintances to Motru because the city is different. The roofs were made and they look different … “(current project coordinator)

Roof change to BL. N3 and N4, Motru, Gorj
Opinions of collaborators

An announcement in the central press said that the FRDS was providing funding to poor communities. I was a student, I was born in a community that met the required eligibility conditions. I looked at the ad with suspicion, the message was encouraging, but who would believe in “free” money. The desire to do something for the village where I was born made me go to the address in the ad. A kind young lady gave me the information I needed to complete the Grant Application. I went home, I went from house to house, I explained the requirements, and I discovered that there are people who believe in “dreams”, like me, people who want to change the world. Together with them, we proceeded to the realization of the first project with financing obtained by our own forces, a project that reflects the most important need of the community. Another announcement in the central press signaled that FRDS was looking for collaborators – community facilitators. I showed up for the interview and was selected. I did not realize then that my desire to change the lives of poor communities for the better can become a profession. Almost 10 years have passed since my first meeting with RSDF, at that time it was not the fashion of “brands”, but I discovered along the way that in many villages in Romania the “RSDF brand” was much better known and appreciated than trademarks or political parties. For me, as well as for other colleagues, the collaboration with RSDF shaped a professional trajectory that I had perceived many years ago as a desideratum.

Manuel Andrei, facilitator

RSDF gave me the opportunity to meet people and places not walked. I remember with nostalgia the first field assessment, somewhere, in an archaic area of ​​Apuseni, a few years ago, on one of the cold days of January … It was snowing very hard, and the landscape was idyllic; My concern that I would not be snowed “away from the world” was shattered by the locals who assured me that I could set off on horseback if the streets became impassable … In all these beautiful years, I was blessed to be close to the Fund team, people I quickly fell in love with, their way of being and helping selflessly. Happy Birthday, RSDF, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of its activity!

Ioan Andronache evaluator-supervisor

Opinions of public figures

RSDF is one of the best and most experienced Romanian organizations – perhaps even the best – in carrying out small projects, in isolated areas and difficult communities, with a flexible decision-making structure and a network of facilitators in the field who can push things forward. Established over ten years ago, reproducing a well-known international model, the Fund is one of the examples of successful takeover of good practices. The big deadlock at the level of poor and troubled communities comes from the fact that the assistance, when it exists, relies on an administration located in an office, which essentially expects viable projects to be proposed at the local level for funding. Obviously, this is rare and unsystematic. RSDF is therefore a rarity in the landscape, because it not only offers the possibility to obtain funds, but also moves technical capacity in the field and directly assists the beneficiaries in the generation and development of projects. As such, even after Romania’s entry into the EU and the start of Operational Programs, RSDF fills an uncovered social niche (small projects and facilities in poor rural areas, mono-industrial areas or Roma communities) remaining, as before accession, the silent soldier in advanced trenches of the battle for development in Romania.

Sorin Ioniţă, Member of the Board of Directors of FRDS, Research Director at the Romanian Academic Society


Why is the Romanian Social Development Fund an institution “from which you can learn”, in order to avoid the laudatory “success”? I formulate the question rhetorically, disregarding the anniversary moment. The answer, in short, refers to three fundamental characteristics: a) continuous adaptation, b) focus on community poverty versus individual poverty and c) accessibility to grants, conditioned by community social capital and competitiveness in the development of grant applications. Through the initial design but also through self-induced changes, he knew how to move from a “World Bank” model to a contextual one. Continuous evaluations through external and internal sociological research or through the Bank’s missions but also through self-codification of its own experience of “community development practice” (reflected in the volume that the Fund published in 2007 at Polirom) provided grounds for self-correction. All this was possible because the Fund’s team was based on value selection and knew – despite the ideological echo cycles and at the level of the Board of Directors – to manage the institution on the logic of community development and not conjunctural-political.

Dumitru Sandu, professor at the Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, University of Bucharest, former member of the Board of Directors of the Fund, 1998-2002


The establishment of RSDF meant an innovative approach of Romania in terms of the concept of poverty alleviation, starting from international models, adapted to the national specifics. In the 10 years since its operation, RSDF has amply demonstrated its managerial capabilities (viewed from the point of view of the 4 components of the management system: organizational, informational, procedural and decision-making), selecting subprojects exclusively on objective criteria, pre-established in operational manuals, constantly following them and trying to rhythmically ensure the financing of these subprojects, despite the small staff it has and the financial obstacles encountered over time. RSDF managed to propose and implement social projects financed from international financial resources, obviously contributing to the alleviation of poverty in the communities in which it acted, enjoying the appreciation of communities, financiers, the Ministry of Public Finance and other Romanian institutions involved in protection. social. I wish RSDF more success and I hope that the Romanian institutions will use this entity in the absorption of structural funds, the results obtained by RSDF since its establishment and so far proving its capability, put at the service of the Romanian state’s interests in achieving one of the major millennium goals: poverty alleviation.

Carmen Ghiţă, Ministry of Public Finance, General Directorate of Treasury and Public Debt