To whom do we make a statue this year at the Public Participation Awards Gala
The jury of the Public Participation Awards Gala nominated the winners of the 11th edition of the event organized by CeRe: Resource Center for public participation. This event rewards the people and organizations whom, through their civic initiatives and advocacy campaigns, managed to push the authorities to resolve different problems that were found in their communities.
The topics of the civic initiatives that were awarded this year at the Gala are of large interest for our society but also for smaller communities, topics such as the initiatives that manage to bring to surface the power of the citizens which in turn bring positive changes to their street or village. The awards of the Gala, highlight the courage and perseverance of persons and organizations who managed to bring to the decision-making table pressing problems for the citizens and communities, problems such as: systemic problems in education, problems that have a grave effect on nature and the environment, the conservation of heritage buildings and the stoppage of illegal constructions, holding public institution accountable when it comes to transparency at the decision-making level, stimulating the younger population in villages in order to raise the level of education and development, tackling the worrying phenomenon of violence against women, friendlier and safer communities for the citizens .
“This year, the Public Participation Awards Gala had a difficult mission: to show that, with everything that happened during the pandemic – a handful of citizens and organizations continued to bring the issues of their communities to the agenda of the responsible institutions. We wanted to see who are the ones who found the resources to fight for the change of some laws, to ask the mayor to create a playground, to demand transparency from the local council, to ask the ministry for application norms, to ask the environmental guard to intervene. Of course they were less than usual, of course it was harder than usual. „
Oana Preda, Executive Director of CeRe
The winners of this year’s Public Participation Award Gala are:
- “Initiatives for Bilca” Civic Group – Transparency and accountability of elected officials in Bilca commune
The citizens managed to organize themselves and demanded more transparency when it came to the decision-making process in the Hall and they volunteered to make the site of the Hall. The group participated for the first time in a meeting of the Local Council, they convinced the mayor and the local counselors to transmit their meetings online and to open the Hall for better communication. For the first time in the history of the commune, an electoral debate for the local elections was organized.
- MKBT: Make Better, PACT Foundation, Valea Corbului initiative group (Argeș county), Bumbești-Jiu DEP Association (Gorj county) and GAL Reșița (Caraș-Severin county) – About the creation of a law for Informal Settlements or about Communities with legal documents, which mean they have a future
More than 200.000 people live in informal settlements. Before the involvement of NGOs the zones of informal settlements did not exist in the official documents of the public administration. For them, there was no legal framework that would facilitate access to infrastructure, improve their living conditions, guarantee the safety and health of the inhabitants.
The organizations involved managed to work on an advocacy campaign that culminated with the passing of a bill in 2020 that created norms of application for the recognition of informal settlements.
- Rădăuțiul Civic Association – The history next to us – a story about heritage and civic involvement in the north of the country
The members of the association mobilized the community from Rădăuți and organized advocacy actions that were meant to make the local administration more responsible when it came to the protection of historical buildings in the center of the city. At the same time, they participated in public initiatives that managed to stop the illegal constructions and convinced the City Hall to give them space for a community center in one of the historically buildings that is representative for the city. The costs and activities of renovating the community space were supported by community efforts.
- WWF Romania – Stop Illegal Logging/the Non-Forest Marathon
The illegal logging of the trees from forests is a long standing national problem, and the measurers that were taken by the public authorities still leave room for abuses and legal loopholes. WWF Romania uses advocacy actions in order to pass a new Forest Code, which should prevent others from illegally logging our forests.
- Ecopolis Center for Sustainable Policies – Aerilive.ro
The organization shared the data from Aerlive.ro with the Ministry for the Environment, the subordinated institutions, the Environmental Guard and the City Hall of Bucharest. When there was no sign of at least the intention to start a dialogue from the City Hall, Ecopolis Center for Sustainable Polices stared a lawsuit in order to cancel the Air quality management plan. The lawsuit was won in 2020 and the plan was canceled. Meanwhile, the campaign started by Ecopolis managed to create a large community of people who understand the problem, react and put pressure on the authorities when severe pollution episodes appear.
- National Council of Students – ResetEDU – education for all
Award- Public Vote/Award
The campaigns carried out by the National Council of Students in order to ensure the minimum amount of 100 RON for scholarships and the free transport of students, lasted more than 3 years and necessitated the work of hundreds of students from all around the country.
After hundreds of official addresses, negotiations with decision makers and protests, the efforts of the National Council of Students had finally yielded results: from now on, scholarships will start from the minimum amount of 100 RON, opposed to 6, 10 or 20 RON that were granted by some local authorities some months ago and students will benefit from free transportation
This success belongs to all the students of Romania and represent a first step towards guaranteeing access to quality education for all children
- The Academic Society of Romania – Clean schools
The schools of Romania are strictly depended of the local authorities when it comes to financing and the assurance of a decent educational infrastructure. In many cases, students and the educational system are affected by the lack of transparency of local authorities, when it comes to subjects such as the violation of the right to a scholarship and the sums allocated for investment in the school. The Academic Society of Romania, launched a series of diagnostic reports for 5 counties (Bacău, Cluj, Mureș, Timiș, Vâlcea), and so far, thanks to their efforts, 54 local councils have approved the granting of scholarships for students.
- Declic Association – 112, find me!
In the tragedy in Caracal, it took 19 hours for the localization of the victim that called 112. Afterwards, the community mobilized and asked the team from Declic to initiate an advocacy campaign, in order to make the public authorities to create a more efficient location system. The petition from Declic was signed by 16.000 persons, they organized protest in front of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and sent 1.310 messages to members of the parliament. This got the attention of the responsible authorities. The Special Telecommunications Service announced that a new service is functional, in which the location area of a caller has been considerably reduced thus making it easier to locate him.
- Andreea Oprea – Emma’s playground
The children from the Colentina neighbourhood (Pancota – Magnoliei zone) had to play every day in the street, amongst cars that were circulated in the area. The closest park was at a distance of approximately 10-12 minutes from where they lived and this forced the children to spend their time in front of their apartment blocks, where cars were circulating. After 2 years in which she participated in hearings at ADP and the City Hall of District 2 and after many petitions sent to the two institutions, Andreea convinced the administration to build a playground.
- The Association for Active Development – European Youth Village
Special Award for the Youth, offered by the National Agency for Community Programs in the field of Education and Vocational Training
Awards outside of the competition
In Romania, the life in the village does not offer many opportunities of development and education for the younger population. This segment of the population is often ignored in the plans of the local representatives and there are no actions or strategies that try to promote the desire to remain and develop in the village. The Association for Active Development offered a concrete example for a better involvement of the youth in the rural area. They developed the pilot project “European Youth Village”, through which they brought together the youth from 4 different villages (Cleja, Slimnic, Grivița și Aroneanu) and organized activities that created a better communication with the local authorities.
- The Special Award for the representation of victims of domestic violence during the pandemic – Romanian Network for Prevention and Combating Violence against Women, FILIA Association , Anais Association
Award outside the competition
Violence inside the family is not a phenomenon that is taken too seriously by the institutions of the state. During the general quarantine, the authorities were not concerned about the safety of the persons that are subjected to different forms of domestic violence. For these persons, there were no measures that would allow them to leave their home. A few NGOs and journalists managed to put the subject on the public agenda and brought to light the life stories of women that are victims of domestic violence and their rights were better represented in the public space.
In the months of May and June, CeRe will organize the Travelling Gala, the winners will be awarded in local events, which will take place in the communities where they managed to obtain the change.
You can find information about the Gala at:
Help us support those who, despite the indifference of the authorities, think that we should fight for our cities. In the following months we will award ten initiatives from our country, and we need your help, in order to show them that they are not alone and that we support them. Donate 50 RON in order to help them continue the fight.