Copyright 2019 FRDS



Konrad Adenauer

It is the first project carried out by RSDF, which was also the basis for the establishment of the organization. The project received a “highly satisfactory” rating from the funders. Abbreviated under the initials SDF (Social Development Fund), this project is a manifestation of the government’s interest and commitment to reducing rural poverty and ensuring better access for disadvantaged groups to social services. One of the long-term goals was to overcome passivity and transform poor communities into creative and dynamic social spaces, able to identify solutions and resources for initiating and developing community projects.

It functioned as a grant scheme, with funds allocated to projects being transferred directly to community groups of citizens. The approach used, focused on involving citizens in setting priorities and defining local projects through a participatory process, along with the application of the “learning by doing” principle by investing local initiative groups with responsibilities in fund management, procurement procedures and other activities in within the projects launched a new trend in the design of local development programs in Romania.

SDF took place in two phases and addressed mainly rural communities.

Period: 1999 – 2007

General objectives

  • poverty reduction
  • involvement of citizens in the development of their own community
  • increasing the capacity to develop and carry out local development projects


  • poor rural communities
  • disadvantaged groups (rural and urban)

Project value: USD 51.1 million


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


  • 138 communities facilitated
  • 606 small infrastructure works carried out in rural areas:

-129 social services provided

-184 centers for processing raw materials in rural areas that act as poles of local development

-16 innovative projects

Benefits (cumulative)

  • 1,500 km of rehabilitated roads that improve access to school, public services, markets, etc.
  • 33,614 people benefiting from drinking water and better hygiene conditions
  • 24 community centers where cultural, social, interethnic activities take place
  • 180 raw material processing centers in rural areas that act as poles of local development
  • 2,138 disadvantaged children who benefit from alternative educational services
  • 855 dependent elderly people who are cared for at home or in community centers
  • 1,244 persons benefiting from the services of temporary shelters
  • 2628 members of funded communities trained in project management (members of project management committees).


The results of the external evaluations made to the project (carried out by Metromedia Transilvania in 2000 and 2006 and Gallup International Organization in 2004) showed, among others, the following:

– both ordinary villagers and local leaders were, in their vast majority (over 80%) of the opinion that “the people of the village were in great need of the project”, that it “influenced the life of the community” and that “the results many people in the village benefited from it “;

– the degree of trust in the authorities and in the other members of the community has increased (in the financed communities).

The success of this project on a national scale has led to the adoption of the model in pre-accession programs, but also to its reproduction in some World Bank projects initiated after 2001. Last but not least, many local and regional institutions and organizations have borrowed. practices and tools successfully experienced through this local development project.