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BRIEF INTRODUCTION

ROMANIAN SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT FUND (RSDF), established by Law 129/1998, contributed to the administration of six grant schemes, targeting mostly poor and isolated communities, especially in rural areas, and participated in the actual projects implementation of local, sectoral, or national interest. The absorption rate of funds managed by RSDF is 98% and donors' assessment regarding quality of management and interventions reached in the level "highly satisfactory".

The main areas that RSDF's activity targets are as following: social inclusion (with focus on Roma communities), socio-economic development (including creation of new jobs), equal opportunities, poverty alleviation (especially in rural areas), and community development.

RSDF is an autonomous, non-profit organization, which supports communities and disadvantaged groups by promoting participatory approach, in which members of local communities identify issues, and choose to be supported through funding one that is considered a priority. The forms of support offered by RSDF are:

1. Financial support, which involves funding projects through the provision of grants, intended to improve the conditions of life, addressing several segments of local development:

Access to alternative education services (e.g. day centres, social centres, educational activities for young people, including cultural activities)

Development of human resources (e.g. information, counselling, training, labour mediation)

Entrepreneurship and the creation of poles of local development (start-up for small business)

- Improvement of health care conditions(e.g. awareness campaigns, establishing medical points, public baths)

Housing (individual and collective housing rehabilitation)

Small infrastructure (e.g. roads rehabilitation, drinking water supply, sewerage networks, improving environmental conditions etc.)

Access of disadvantaged persons to public services

• Education for the environment, civic education, activities of inter-ethnic character

During the period 1999-2012, have been funded 1,438 projects (around 120 projects / year, with grants between 20,000 and 195,000 US dollars): 219 projects of entrepreneurship and creation of jobs, 159 community-based social services addressed to disadvantaged groups, 16 innovative projects, 133 integrated projects of social inclusion addressed to Roma communities, the rest of them (911) approaching rehabilitation of community small infrastructure.

2. Technical assistance and training, aiming at increasing the capacity of beneficiaries to prepare and implement projects in good condition and ensuring their long-term sustainability. It involves, among other tools, training on project management for coordinators, on the spot supervision of the projects, participatory monitoring projects (involving beneficiaries), networking (setting up networks of beneficiaries, non-governmental organizations and local authorities) etc.

3. Support for accessing European funds, involves contracting specialized technical assistance on behalf of those who wish and/or direct support provided by RSDF's experts in order to develop strategies, studies, and analyzes necessary for preparing the applications or actual support for writing projects.

The structure of the staff, the rules, and the way RSDF operates are flexible depending on the needs of the projects and programs implemented. Strategic and operational decisions are quickly taken by the Steering Committee or by the management, as appropriate and specific procedures and operating manuals are elaborated for each of the managed programs. The staffs consist of specialists in various fields:

-         projects/programme management;

-         financial management;

-         small infrastructure;

-         small business;

-         social services;

-         monitoring and evaluation, studies and analysis related to impact;

-         training;

-         information and communication;

-         public procurement and legal advice.

They operate to the central office, in Bucharest and, in country, in the two branches (in Iasi and Alba Iulia). RSDFhas also field experts: community facilitators, appraisers and supervisors, which support the beneficiaries' activity both during the preparation and implementation period of the projects.

RSDF's portfolio, besides the six grant schemes managed, includes participation as a partner in projects financed from European funds and private funds.