We set up in 2006 on the belief that public decisions must be taken in a participatory way. Meaning that, the mayor, the minister, the school principal – or anyone with decision-making power – must listen to people when taking a decision.
By public participation we understand the process by which citizens and organizations:
- Express their needs and desires
- Defend their interests and rights
- Contribute to public policy making and public decision-making
- React and demand accountability to officials and public institutions
And public institutions and those who work for them:
- Consult citizens and organizations when developing policies and make decisions
- Take into account what people say
- Use the community expertise
Through the programs we run, we are close to the citizens, initiative groups and organizations, through advocacy consulting, specific and long-lasting. Concrete, we offer assistance when guidance is needed to solve various community problems, through public participation. Influencing public decisions is often a difficult process, but by expressing citizens’ rights we find an efficient way for the voices of communities to be heard and respected by decision-makers.
Our intervention is oriented towards civic groups, organizations and communities that fight for a more human-friendly city, but also for fair public decisions, which focus on the real needs of those directly affected.
Our campaigns aim at making the decision-making process in public institutions transparent and involving citizens in projects important to the community.
Through community organizing and advocacy we have a 14-year contribution to the increase of public participation in Romania. We offer space for learning and experience transfer and with the financial help of the American State Department we annually run a 6 weeks advocacy exchange program in USA.
We have been awarding for 10 years, on the stage of the Public Participation Awards Gala, stories of public participation initiated by citizens and organizations, who through their results and perseverance have the power to inspire those who are just starting-up their civic initiatives.
Through our constant concern for democratic principles, civil rights and human rights, we contributed in forming the group ‘NGOs for citizen’, a coalition of groups and organizations with which we act to expand the civic space in Romania.
LOCAL AND NATIONAL CAMPAIGNS
A few visible changes: the re-planting of the linden trees in Iasi, the rearranging of a park with a playground, a pedestrian walkway for the pupils' access to school, arranging the area near Gheorgheni Lakes (Cluj), putting an end to the construction of two illegal buildings, modifying two orders of the Ministries of Health and Labour, improving the legislation for people with autism spectrum disorders.
CeRe stands next to citizens when they need guidance to determine authorities to solve various problems faced by communities - lack of playgrounds for kids, lack of green spaces or abusive deforestation, lack of consultation of citizens by the administration in important projects for the city, etc.
EDITIONS OF THE PUBLIC PARTICIPATION AWARDS GALA
The Gala awards citizens, organizations or public authorities that through their actions manage to change or adopt a public decision for the benefit of the community they represent. It is the only Romanian competition that awards advocacy efforts and public consultation projects.
We believe that citizens and organizations need to make their voice heard when they have something to say regarding public decisions that concern us. For this, we have two types of related intervention: community organizing and advocacy support.
The Public Participation Awards Gala is the stage where we annually reward courageous citizens who are stubborn enough to push the public administration until they resolve things that are not going well. It’s the stage we also provide to institutions when they show citizen involvement in the decision-making processes.
We decided to get together when we saw that in Romania like all over Europe, the participation space for organizations and activists is restricted. The stigma thrown on NGOs and activists alarmed us: the parallel state, foreign agent, the enemy of the nation, slacker, paid protesters etc.
Don’t wait for superheroes is a campaign for accountability and transparency of the Capital’s public administration. Initiated in 2012, it mainly targeted the City Hall and the General Council of Bucharest. Since 2015, it has been extended to local city councils and local councils.
We learn about and adapt interesting methods of public consultation in decision-making, advocacy tactics, and how others work with citizens.
At the same time, we offer opportunities for learning, reflection and exchange of experience to other organizations or individuals.
Involvement in the governing process is a difficult one, which needs to involve strong civic actors especially when the authorities are inflexible and disrespect the principles of democracy.
The project will increase the advocacy capacity of 12 organizations and civic groups.
We aim to create a better representation of the interests and needs of people living on the streets in the public space and on the agenda of the responsible public institutions.
Their problems are perpetuated by the lack of social housing policy in Bucharest and the poor quality of social services for people without shelter.
A strong and vibrant civil society is an essential prerequisite for pluralist liberal democracy.
This crucial role has increasingly exposed civil society to attacks. Accelerating democratic demise, social polarization, and political autocratization undermine the functioning and vitality of civil society across the EU. The result has been, for at least a decade now, the phenomenon of “shrinking space” for civil society.