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An organization for people and their problems: Romanian Social Development Fund


The Rural Development Project (RDP) was initiated by the Ministry of Administration and Interior and had as general objective to increase the capacity of local government in rural areas to develop local projects to improve infrastructure, with consultation and community involvement, by increasing the role of local councils and developing investment planning and management skills.

The “Community window” of the RDP – for the implementation of which RSDF acted as implementing agency – was intended for peripheral and small communities, whose infrastructure problems were at risk of being considered marginal in relation to the seriousness of existing problems at the commune level. Based on a project competition, these communities ranked their infrastructure issues and received grants for investments in priority needs.

The grants were managed by involving the citizens in both financial and technical management, following the model already applied in the projects previously developed by RSDD.

Period: 2004-2006

General objectives

  • improving living conditions
  • citizen involvement in community development
  • increasing the capacity of the organization at the local level

Beneficiaries: rural communities from 5 pilot counties

Project value: 3 million USD


  • BIRD (repayable loan granted to the Government of Romania represented by the Ministry of Finance
  • contribution from the state budget


  • 66 km of rehabilitated communal roads
  • 22 km of water supply networks
  • 285 m2 surface built or rehabilitated by the community center
  • 99 members of funded communities trained in project management


According to an internal study (2005), the advance intervention of RSDF at community level had the impact of increasing the capacity of the members of the respective communities to contribute to the implementation of a community project, and, consequently, of the degree of community participation, which later facilitated the implementation. successfully of the other components of the RDP.

The existence of procedures and a functional working system within the RSDF, applicable to the “Community Window” component, made the Project, which was initially at a standstill in terms of political commitment and implicitly delayed in implementation, re-win the trust of the mayors from the pilot counties, to gain visibility quickly, and to constitute a necessary and useful working model for the other components (which started after the formation of the team and the procedures).