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We know that many things in Romania do not work as well as we would like. We all deal with situations in which we are hindered by incompetence, or just indifference. We know however that there are many positive aspects of Romania. We believe that with enough positive examples and inspirational role models, each of us could get involved in problem solving at a personal, organizational, or community level.

descoperaTherefore, we invite you to discover this other side of Romania that focuses on positive examples. Whether in the form of ideas, projects, initiatives, or campaigns, RomaniaPozitiva.ro brings to you over 15.000 positive examples of exceptional people and organizations that have made an impact through: educational outreach programs protecting nature and the environment; achieving business success while at the same time investing in the local community through social responsibility programs, developing social business models or implementing responsible turism.

inspirateWe hope that these articles will inspire you, will provide you with examples and information, and will motivate you to take action and involve at a personal or organizational level, for you, your clients, beneficiaries or communities you are interacting with, hence for Romania.

invataWe would also like to propose learning programs, because some problems can be solved by „cultivating” certain abilities and attitudes. We can, for example, learn together how to solve problems by stimulating our thinking and our positive emotions.

implicateFinally it is our hope that we can all enjoy a healthy and happy life in a country that we can be proud and pleased of. And when things are not the way we want them to be we hope that we will find together the determination to challenge the staus quo. We hope that you will find what you are looking for on RomaniaPozitiva.ro.

Wishing you well,
RomaniaPozitivă Team

Welcome to the chapter with positive examples about Social Entrepreneurship initiatives in Romania.

We kindly invite you to read about the social entrepreneurship projects and trends in Romania – an article written by our guest, Oana Păun.
Over the last 4 years a lot of exciting things happened around discovering, exploring and developing social entrepreneurship in Romania.
We’ve witnessed the interest and direct involvement on behalf of not only local NGOs, but also foundations, large corporations and international enablers – through various programs, competitions, grant making, resources sharing and open calls for innovative and sustainable social enterprises, for solving critical issues in our communities.
Our first encounters and interactions started 4 years ago. Once we set up to support the development of social entrepreneurship, 3 friends co-founded the ROPOT Association, and got to explore and know the sector realities by meeting the various actors for over one year and starting to prototype events, community building and programs. We’ve grown shortly into the Impact Hub Bucharest, launched the 1st edition of a students competition for social businesses (Social Impact Award), ran yearly conferences on social entrepreneurship and social innovation (Connection), launched the 1st edition of an acceleration program for impact driven ventures (60 Day Challenge).

A lot has happened since with many of the strong actors in the field. Social enterprises were born, supported and tested on the market, covering various fields: from up cycling to crafts, from locally sourced production to integration of disadvantaged beneficiaries, education to environmental sustainability etc.

Looking forward, there’s much we all still need to work on: the sustainability and market viability of the existing social enterprises, more collaborative approaches instead of single initiatives, attracting more investment and funding to the field, learning from the successful ones and bridging the gaps between sectors, and last but not least: keep getting inspired to find novel solutions for a increasing the social impact.


Oana Păun a fondat alături de Vlad Craioveanu și Alexandra Pode Impact Hub Bucharest cu ambiția comună de a dezvolta o platformă unde indivizi și organizații dezvoltă împreună proiecte și afaceri cu impact social. Oana are 5 ani experiență de voluntariat în AIESEC România și 2 ani de experiență internațională în diviziile de marketing și vânzări ale HP în Franța și Elveția. A lucrat ca trader pe piețe financiare timp de 4 ani în Citibank România și este Aspen Young Leaders Fellow 2012

Text tradus în parteneriat cu Shakespeare School, centru Cambridge de învățare a limbii engleze cu o metodă specială de predare, ce oferă cea mai plăcută și eficientă experiență de învățare a limbii engleze pentru copii și tineri.

http://shakespeare-school.ro/

Welcome to the chapter with positive examples from the “green corner” in Romania.

We kindly invite you to read about the “green corner” projects and trends in Romania – an article written by our guest, Magor Csibi.
Many things can be said during debates on environment protection, and just as many excuses can be invoked. Whether we regard this as a too complex or too complicated problem, or we believe that it is not the moment to focus on environment in a time of economic crisis or that we need to focus on people in the first place, and only afterwards on nature and environment. Nevertheless, one cannot invoke the fact that environment protection is a new problem.
Such an argument could have been issued before December 1997, when most of the countries in the world have recognized the problems generated by climate changes and have tried to agree on several measures to reduce carbon emissions. Or, for those who take decisions based on economic factors, such an argument could have been brought out prior to the Stern report from 2006. The famous economist Nicholas Stern concluded at that time, in his de 700 pages report, ordered by the UK governement, that our lack of action or delays would cost us more for each lost second. If we use democracy as benchmark and measure problems by citizen involvement, then the argument of „being a new problem” could have been used until 2007, when Al Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, for the film which was able to boost the environment topic in the middle of social debates, thus activating millions of people in this direction.

Yet, in 2014, after decades of debates, laws and effects experienced by the entire society, each time we talk about environment it seems like we bring into discussion a totally new topic, unknow, slightly mystic even. We forget about environment when we plan our industry and economic policies, we design roads, houses and cities without considering the environment, proiectăm drumuri, and we exploit resources by only thinking about now and forgeting about tomorrow.

For example, now in 2014, after a period of 7 years when we were able to test various methods of allocation and implementation of European funding, while monitoring their impact on economy, environment and society as well, we keep acting as if we have discovered something new. We forget our lessons learned, our real problems in the field and we make new endeavours only so that the 5-year plan would look good on paper. Forest surface is growing on paper, although in reality they are critically underfinanced and we do not foresee any modification for the period between 2014 and 2020. We have declaratively to many bears and a fauna which other might envy, and our thousands of dams enable us to have a performing activity and to stop floodings, yet biodiversity is decreasing at an alarming pace, in the field, while floodings appear periodically or even increase in numbers.

Although our country is suffering in all these respects, it only needs one thing: that the indicators improve in all domains – strategic planning. And this happens only after we recognize the fact that economy can only grow together with nature.

In 2014 we have all necessary instruments available in order to build highways for people, without any impact on animals. Or to have a policy for water catchment areas that would use ecologic reconstruction as an instrument of control against floodings and would generate income for local communities by improving fishing and agriculture, rather than trying to control rivers through works and dams.

In order for us to be able to build a world where humans live in harmony with nature, we must not forget the old paradigm either-or and to focus on the and-and approach instead. A sound economy cannot be built without securing resources and observing the balance in nature. Building this kind of harmony requires more work, planning and patience for the development of classical market economy, but on the other hand the benefits shall remain forever.

Magor Csibi
WWF-România Manager


Despre WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature)
Înfiinţată în anul 1961, WWF este una dintre cele mai importante organizaţii internaţionale care derulează proiecte pentru conservarea naturii, în peste 100 de ţări. Misiunea WWF la nivel global este să oprească degradarea mediului înconjurător şi să construiască un viitor în care oamenii trăiesc în armonie cu natura. Mai multe detalii la: www.wwf.ro.

Text tradus în parteneriat cu Răzvan Vatav, traducător bun pentru o cauză bună.

Welcome to the chapter with positive examples about CSR (Corporate Social Responsability) campaigns and projects in Romania.

We kindly invite you to read about the CSR projects and trends in Romania – an article written by our guest, Diana Serban.
CSR is (not) PR
The Corporation Social Responsability (CSR) trend has recently taken a huge plunge in Romania too. We are glad to find more about them in the media and company managers are sad when they don’t find their result in the financial reports of the last 5-10 years.
Yes. Don’t be surprised. CRS is not by far a way of wasting huge amounts of money on society issues, but a way of integrating a sustainable strategy in the company development, in the long run.
I have recently talked to many CRS employees. Most of them have enthusiastically confessed that they have been recycling waste materials produced by the company, but when I asked them whether they are checking the whole process, to make sure it was carried out correctly, they didn’t know what else to say. I have also encountered companies which educate unfortunate children for a brighter future, but they are educated in a totally different field than the company activates in. And here comes a sort of error: basically, those children are educated by a company to be used as a work force by another. In my opinion, the true social responsability for this kind of action would be to educate such children in such a way, that they could be hired in that company, after 3-5 years, once they graduate. They could become possible employees and thus, the investment that the company has made will return to them, and on the other hand, the company will be able to take a load off the shoulders of young men who can not find a job otherwise.

So why doesn’t that happen in Romania? Because we tend to associate CRS with PR, choosing to support causes which might bring loads of visibility to the company initializing it, hence, the decision is not a strategic one. A wise decision would be based on the negative effects that the company brings along in the world around them and on its attempt to diminish them. Therefore we see more and more companies who take reforestation actions in certain areas. Think of what Romania would look like if all the multinationals working here planted trees… You can also see a larger number of companies performing green actions or helping the unfortunate ones… their actions are clearly to be praised, but they hardly have any strategical value, from a business point of view.

From my point of view, CRS could be an important sustainable vector in our society in general, should it NOT be based on the idea that it is darn fashionable, or because their competition does the same, or because it can help them become more visible on the market. CRS should be integrated in the business module of the company and atuned to the vision and medium term objectives. For example, investing in an educational system which could „produce” the future employees in the next 5-10 years, ready to face any challenges that they might encounter, checking at all times the processes taking place inside the company, things which aren’t quite visible to the outside,but which can lead to crisis when issues arise, making their employees brand ambassadors, all these are strategic processes which help the company have a sustainable business.

Thus, CRS is different from PR exactly because it has the sustainable development factor to it. A responsible initiative cannot have the immediate response a PR campaign can have. But the effects of the first one, when they hit the media, don’t just generate a positive image, but also a priceless effect, that of a company which has happy employees and creats new jobs, produces competitive products which answer the needs of the most demanding consumers. They all come down to one word which should be very important for companies: REPUTATION.


Social Responsibility Agency își propune să fie o agentie de PR responsabil (PRr). Nu doar pentru ca se ocupa de proiecte sustenabile ci pentru ca isi propune sa elaboreze strategii de PR din perspectiva dezvoltarii durabile a businessului. Responsabilitatea si gândirea pe termen lung sunt doua constante ale strategiilor de comunicare gandite si implementate in cadrul agentiei.

Text tradus în parteneriat cu Shakespeare School, centru Cambridge de învățare a limbii engleze cu o metodă specială de predare, ce oferă cea mai plăcută și eficientă experiență de învățare a limbii engleze pentru copii și tineri.

http://shakespeare-school.ro/

Welcome to the chapter with positive examples about Cultural projects in Romania.

We kindly invite you to read about the cultural projects and trends in Romania – an article written by our guest Delia Panait
When people think about culture they consider past actions, faded works of art, excavations, museums in ruin, memorial houses covered in dust, boring exhibitions, good movies but bad sound system. And they are not too far from the truth. On the one hand because Romanian politicians treat cultural issues like they treat discussions about minorities, education and generally things they do not understand because they don’t bring them immediate profit. In short, culture is not something they can make money out of – it’s just a necessary evil inserted in a political discourse which has to be repeated every four years. And on the other hand because a good manager and a cultural act hardly ever meet.
Culture is very often linked to the past – discussions about our cultural heritage or the great artistic values of our nation are always irrefutably carried out, at all times. So the question is what’s the use of a well preserved culture, once you kill whatever brain muscle you have left in that nation? The past really lives in that nations’s present and that is lived NOW just as any act of creation – in order to create its future. You often hear that if one really wants to get to know a nation, they should know its leaders or its culture.

If leaders might make be at wits’ end and have horrid debates, then culture dissipates us all into different tastes, isolated feelings and emotions consumed individually because of the many interpretations we all have, without necessarily making us fight over ideas. Culture is a substance which binds us closer together, but keeps its amazing properties beyond time and change. It exists beyond our will and views – and we can’t do much about it. However, the aspect we could change decisively would be its visibility, promotion and financing.

Tears on a book, dance moves you have never learnt but you execute perfectly, the carbon stripe which simply didn’t want to turn out straight and the sad tune at the end of a short motion picture, the false violin, the scratching noise at the end of the movie, oil painting which has fused in perfect harmony, despite the perfect brush strike, the line which cannot be uttered because of an amiss scream, the laptop which has all of a sudden decided to update exactly during the show, the line which has an extra iambus, but should not be changed, the projector refusing to stay put in the ideal position…. for all the rest, you can use the credit card advertised in all commercials.

Romanian artists train out of sheer need, evolve only as a result of suffering and create in the dark. But we all feed on their hunger afterwards. It would be nice to ask for the bill at the end of it all. And I cannot help but think of the light-mindedness we display when we consume scandals – including in the ICR management, the green light to approve the Roșia Montana project, the recent censorship attempt of the CNC board regarding the Nymphomaniac, the sad opening nights for certain movies…

I somehow start to get used to the fact that there is a huge gap between the state, as an organization and culture. And then I remember and salute Dan Sociu’s gesture, a poet who refused to get his BEST Poetry Book for 2013, offered by the Romanian Cultural Institute, which was actually offering the poet 3000 RON, which is less than 1000 dollars. It is something I have discussed in depth in a radio show. In the public area, his refusal received the most mercantile and bizarre explanations. But I was curious about one thing. How many of those wise guys have actually read his poetry? My curiosity was satisfied, so was my delusion.

Poetry, music, painting, film, dance, literature, independent and experimental artistic acts are all born and alive, kicking as we speak. Right at this moment. They are not just „completed”, they are carried out by people who have a stomach, diseases, wishes, bills, printers, corns, hopes, fears, revelations, sweat, water and talent. We can’t do anything else but repay them accordingly. NOW, in the present tense.

That’s the paradox of culture in Romania – althogh the cultural act is profoundly independent, culture depends on too much/many.

Culture – who the heck invented it anyway?!

Delia Panait este o veche activista intr-ale cailor de comunicare mass-media cu tot ce cuprinde asta: radio, televiziune, print si online. Baza si-a stabilit-o in Radio Guerrilla – in urma cu aproape un deceniu – de unde a tot migrat complementar si temporar catre proiecte de comunicare dintre cele mai diverse (conferinte si workshopuri – speaker sau moderatoare, emisiuni TV – realizatoare, scriitoare ocazionala), toate avand nota comuna a spiritului analitic presarat cu doze potrivite de umor si ironie. Bucurestiul Subiectiv este cel mai recent proiect al ei.
Mai multe despre Delia, activitatile, proiectele si interesele ei citeste aici.

Text tradus în parteneriat cu Shakespeare School, centru Cambridge de învățare a limbii engleze cu o metodă specială de predare, ce oferă cea mai plăcută și eficientă experiență de învățare a limbii engleze pentru copii și tineri.

http://shakespeare-school.ro/

Welcome to the chapter with positive examples about the Education field in Romania.

We kindly invite you to read about the educational projects and trends in Romania – an article written by our guest, Ștefan Pălărie.
If it were to analyze the struggle Romania is facing to regain a quality education, we will have on the one hand the Galactic Empire represented by the curriculum and its totally dysfunctional content, by the chronic under-financing of public education, by the generally low preparation of the teaching body, by the unappealing and undermined status as a teacher, and by a corrupt and politicized system that strangles and exploits even the last resources from the small oasis of normality from teacher’s room.
On the other hand, the Rebel Alliance, less in number but empowered by the impossibility of their mission: a few hundred educational Non-Governmental Organizations, activists without an organization willing to contribute to the battle, few teachers who still have the faith that education can be the way we imagine it, few parents of good faith who really collaborate with the teachers for a better education.

If it were to scroll for last months news on formal education, we could say that the Empire had won the battle.

The beginning of December 2013 brings us the results of OECD – PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) 2012 evaluation. Romania ranks 45 of 65 at math and 50 of 65 at reading (one of the last places from Europe), and what is more concerning than anything else is that there is no other country in the world (according to the study) that has a lower motivation to learn than Romania. The penultimate ranking country (Slovakia) has to lower their motivation level to less than a quarter to reach the same level of Romanian students.

Also, the Official Journal of 30th of December brings the first Emergency Ordinance of the National Education Law, with a nonexistent public consultation, which “only” changes at a deep level the structure of education decided in January 2011. If we wanted predictability in this chapter, we would still have to wait. From mandatory classes for 10 years (5-year primary school cycle – including preparatory class, followed by five years secondary education – which would have allowed 10 years of education even in rural areas, and then high school for three years), we get to 11 years of mandatory school (5 years primary, four years secondary school and first two years of high school / vocational education compulsory). Apparently sounds well, but it has no chance of implementation in small rural communities where either vocational or technical high school is tens of kilometers away.

January brings to the fore the famous case of the lack of ethics of the teacher Dana Blându from School Number 10, and the rapid reaction of the Ministry of Education which quickly reaffirms the Ministerial Order of the code of ethics in the pre-university education – great intent, but which, as a side effect, ruts any initiative of teachers to organize quality activities outside the classroom with their students. It appears the history about eliminating non-formal activities that cost money, which removed the few quality activities during the week known as “School Other Way”.

March brings the disastrous results of the capacity exam simulation.

As I was telling you, the Empire looks omnipresent, all-knowing, relentless and victorious before giving any battle. But at the periphery of the furthest galaxies, the Rebels gather. The same period of time for brought some good news for the education in Romania, designed to keep hope and faith burning in the hearts the brave ones (I will mention some of them, those that I have heard about, not pretending that the fore mentioned list is complete):

  • The series of local launches of “Ba se Poate!” (Yes We Can!) documentary movie made by Tedy Necula – based on the (more than bold) Coaching in Education ZBURD project – of the friends at the ROI Association, coordinated by the brave Simona David Crisbășanu. The movie attracted more than 4,000 viewers and generated sparkling debates in all communities. Fortunately, ZBURD does not die, it transforms in ADOPT A HIGHSCHOOL, becoming an example of troops gathered in the same battle against the EMPIRE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9BJCOiYFUs
  • (re)launch of TEACH FOR ROMANIA –under the leadership of inspirational Ionut Soleanicov – brings together a young but very dedicated team, determined to attract of some of the most talented graduates to an educational career http://teachforromania.ro/
  • The vibrant activity of RESTART EDU community goes on http://restartedu.ro/
  • One of the biggest PR and communication agencies in Romania (I can not tell the name for now, but I am sure it will soon be out in the open) is actively looking for one or more ideas that the agency will align resources an energies with, willing to make a difference in education in Romania
  • Apparently the local private sector has never been more interested in the fate of education. From the hot topics on education discussed at the 3rd Summit of Romanian Business Leaders Foundation – held in February, to the fact that in all my interactions I found that every business association, every professional club, each bilateral chamber of commerce, almost each embassy has a public agenda to discuss with Minister of Labour or Minister of Education; all the signs show that the fruits ripen. The big business coalition (representing 39 entities) who began to work with public institutions through dialogue with Romanian Government also has a board of education that leads away a limited number of strategic topics for education in Romania.
  • Besides the “usual suspects” in education, groups of educational activists (accompanied by passionate people who want to help) gather at dawn with wine (or early in the morning with coffee and tea) in Bucharest, or Cluj or Timișoara or Iași, willing to find the vulnerabilities of the empire, the Death Star that once destroyed can change history and fate of human kind and also of other species.

Is too soon to say for sure who is Darth Vader, is hard to say who is young Jedi Luc Skywalker, but for those who haven’t lost hope I say again: REBELS are gathering, they identify and attract allies (from all social classes and all institutions), they collaborate, learn and train together for the day the battle will be fought openly.

Until that day, this principle of action people remains true: LEAD, FOLLOW OR GET OUT OF THE WAY!

Ștefan Pălărie
President Școala de Valori


Școala de Valori este o organizație non-guvernamentală modernă a cărei VIZIUNE este transformarea României într-o societate bazată pe valori puternice și oameni de caracter. Mai multe despre noi aici: www.scoaladevalori.ro.

This text was translated by Ana Răducanu (RestartEdu – Community of Practice for Innovators in Education and Learning Community on Education at the Alternative University) and Diana Ghindă (Romanian Institutute of Training and Training Café: community for trainers and facilitators).

Welcome to the chapter with positive examples about People and Communities in Romania.

We kindly invite you to read about the people and communities in Romania – an article written by our guest, Chris Worman.
Communities intent on leaving the world a little better than they found it come in nearly as many shapes, sizes and flavors as there are problems to solve. From student and church groups to communities occupying boulevards; to pro bono lawyers and tree-huggers to groups of ethically-biased businesspeople… Some last a matter of flash mob hours and some a hundred years. Both can lead to substantive social change. Ultimately it is not the brand or budget of these groups, or even if they win their particular battle that makes them effective; but if they manage to engage and enlighten participants so everyone involved takes some ownership to develop and improve upon the vision for years to come… often long after the community itself has disappeared.
Decat o Revista is one such community. On one hand it is a magazine. On the other, it is a conversation amongst many about the essence of Romania as told through stories, photo essays and good old fashioned reportage. Thousands of individuals follow Decat o Revista on social media and participate in micro-campaigns, hundreds show up at launch parties, dozens work for free to get the publication out each month. Yes. For free. Most volunteer their words, images and time; gifting us one of the most intelligent, thoughtful and beautifully done publications on the Romanian market.

The community foundations popping up across the country are another. Local grantmaking organizations focused on supporting local ideas, community foundations seek to source their funding from the community they serve. Local money, local ideas, local projects, local leaders… Collectively, Romania’s community foundations are engaging thousands of local donors in a discussion about what is important in their town every year as they fundraise for small projects from school and clinic renovations to public parks, youth and sports programs.

Lets Do It hardly needs an introduction, to the point that feels almost cliché to bring them up here but it’s worth considering their impact in all those out-of-the-way places that make Romania so beautiful. Seeing a Lets Do It banner proudly displayed on the wall of a village schoolroom in the middle-of-nowhere and hearing the kids talk proudly about being a part of the movement hints at the potential for good things to come.

One example of a dialog in print, another about philanthropy and a third in volunteerism. All three are engaging masses of Romanian citizens and offering platforms upon which folks can connect, learn and act. Each have their strengths and weaknesses and they are but a few amongst several others built upon an understanding that the best way to build a brighter future is not hopping on a soap box and starting to preach. It is explore what Romania could become through a process of engaging regular folks and finding ways to co-create solutions based in all of us challenging and changing the behaviors that enable the status quo.

Chris Worman, Director of Program Development at www.TechSoupGlobal.org has been working in civil society since 1998. Chris began in community development, communications and fundraising for the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis where he was a part of the $130 million ‘New Guthrie’ Capital campaign team. At the successful conclusion of the campaign, Chris became Direct Marketing and Foundations Manager for Special Olympics where he introduced various methods for cultivating individuals of high net worth, managed a database of more than 250,000 individual donors and began his first serious data and technology projects, launching several online fundraising and community building platforms before facebook made it so easy. As the systems reached maturity Chris, raised in Botswana, felt his international upbringing pull on his professional self and began to look at opportunities abroad.

Chris arrived in Romania in 2006 thanks to Peace Corps and by late 2007 had started the country’s first community foundation and a national platform for more of the same. Over the next 5 years Chris started a variety of civic-engagement-through-philanthropy processes designed to create alternative and enabling power structures for citizens in post-democratic societies; today more than 20,000 families donate regularly through processes of Chris’ design.

Along the way, Chris designed and launched several social enterprises and brought TechSoup into Romania in 2009. Through TechSoup projects of Chris’ design, more than 4 million citizens in Romania, Czech Republic and Slovakia, Serbia, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina have been exposed to an intensely local dialog about the role of the citizen in nominal democracies. More than seventy web or mobile sites for online to offline action have been generated and the process is being modeled with new topical foci across the region.

In his current role, Chris has moved to Warsaw where he will coordinate more of the same, try to build global alliances for tech and social change, and continue consulting on how to best accelerate web-based social leadership from beautiful ideas to usable apps. In his spare time, Chris teaches masters-level coursework in NGO management for the University of Vienna School of Economics, is a trainer, facilitator, mentor, erstwhile writer, and consultant for organizations ranging from Microsoft, The Aspen Institute, National Democratic Institute, and the Erste Bank to Transparency International and sits on the boards of several start-up social enterprises you haven’t heard of yet. He doesn’t tweet much but you can find him at @ChrisWorman or on linkedin at http://linkd.in/ZPGJ19.

Welcome to the chapter with positive examples about the sport field in Romania.

We kindly invite you to read about different sport projects and trends in Romania – an article written by our guest, Paul Călin.
How in the world can you speak about sports in this country without being tackled straight into the subject of football! Even when the news is good, I cannot be anything but fed up with the topic… and this in the condition of me being a football fan. Let’s lock Gica up/vs./Free Gica, might or might not be a good message to send out to society, whether president Basescu decides to sign his amnesty or not! The topic has been so present in our lives, that even in this article I felt ‘obliged’ to touch upon it. Given the verticality promoted around us and the “good to follow” examples served to us on a daily basis, I almost don’t dare to hope that each of us will get to carry the cross of their own decisions and deeds. And yet I do.
Still, we do have some very gifted girls who bring us joy: Simona Halep and Ana Maria Branza. The first has already racked up 7 titles this year alone, reached an Australian Open quarter final and is well positioned (qualified in the round of eight) for the Indian Wales (break a leg!). Ana Maria Branza was named the best swordswoman of 2013 and started her year with a victory in the Qatar World Cup.

I am pleased to notice that, in the last two years, sport competitions in our country have begun to bloom. The most popular ones are clearly running and cycling, with an increasing number of participants every year and with a healthy rivalry being created amongst its practitioners. Who has taken part in the highest number of competitions? Who had the best timing? Who fainted because of the heat or managed to finish the ‘coolest competition in the country’? We are slowly edging forward towards a state of normality, this being a feeling which I take great pleasure of living in the first person.

Education and physical exercise go hand in hand and complete each other very well in personal development projects or in initiatives of education through sport. The endless talk shows are being slowly but surely replaced by going out in the park, sweat and a doctor’s smile rewarding your efforts.

The start of the year is colored by some considerable sporting events like ‘Wings for Life’, strongly supported by local celebrities such as Mihaela Radulescu, Andrei Rosu or Tomi Coconea; and the Bucharest Semi-Marathon. The bad part is that they are organized two weeks apart, but the good part is that they were organized in the first place!

The triathlon and the “ultra” competitions have become increasingly popular and even a triathlon for kids has been set up! SmartAthletic are the ones organizing the best and coolest competitions (my own, personal opinion). You really have a lot to choose from, depending on your level of training and the sport nearest to your heart.

To sum it all up, we have an interesting year ahead of us, which I personally intend to fully enjoy together with the ones who have done some deep introspection and have been pleasantly surprised to find a little bit of sporting ambition pushing them towards acts of courage which were hard to imagine a few years back.
Let us stretch our legs, shall we? It can’t be that difficult!


Lipesc pasiunea pentru sport de cea pentru educatie sub umbrela unei idei cu care ma confund de ceva vreme – liberinmiscare.ro

Text tradus în parteneriat cu Shakespeare School, centru Cambridge de învățare a limbii engleze cu o metodă specială de predare, ce oferă cea mai plăcută și eficientă experiență de învățare a limbii engleze pentru copii și tineri.

http://shakespeare-school.ro/

Welcome to the chapter with positive examples about Public Administration in Romania.

We kindly invite you to read about the public administration challenges and solutions in Romania – from the citizen perspective – an article written by our guest, Sînziana Dobre from Ce-Re organization.
Dear visitor,
We are glad to see you have entered this section of the website. It only means that deep inside, you have an interest for what public resources administration really means. So do we!
You will find information about public administration from a citizen’s point of view. We will try to find topics which will show you how the government’s actions really impact us directly and personally and especially to find ways for both us citizens and the state, to work together, in the long run.
To set things straight for future discussions, we have a few things to mention, good and bad:
The local administration – where man is sacred!

The good news is that there are flowers which let us know that spring is coming – cities like Horezu, where there has been a long-lasting tradition in collaboration between the local administration and the NGOs, that eventually led to the establishment of key priorities for the community and also projects/funding obtained for investment.

But in most of the cases, the administrators of those settlements are obtuse when it comes to decision making.

When citizens collectively decide to take action and their plans deal with friendly decisions, which do not work against the local authorities’ bigger picture (more or less public), usually they get what they want. Some examples are the rehabilitation of the Istru Park, Bucharest (http://totb.ro/tag/parcul-istru/), blocking the traffic around one of the lakes in Gheorgheni, Cluj, or opening a public library in Filipestii de Targ, Prahova.

But when it’s about an idea which is against the direction they have set forth for themselves (which actually loses its legitimacy when the community opposes it) then any small victory obtained by its citizens is actually really fought for, through hardships. Here are some examples: in Iasi, the mayor decided to cut down the bass trees, going against the public will of the local community (see the whole story here: http://impotriva.blogspot.ro/) and on Facebook here (https://www.facebook.com/IasuliubesteTeii). A similar situation occurred in Târgul Mureş, where the mayor shares the same passion for cutting down trees, you can access these links to read all about it (http://asociatia.undaverde.ro/) and for the Romanian (https://www.facebook.com/groups/opritimasacrul/) and Hungarian Facebook. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/nevagjkimindenfat/).

I would like to end this series of examples with Bucharest, where the mayor has not only ordered the demolition of the Matache Hall, (action which has recently been declared illegal) but he has been also giving permits to third parties for building a bridge near Ciurel area, which is totally against the law. Actually the law isn’t abided in the sense that this project pushed forward by the City Hall is against everybody`s will, including Justice and active cycling communities.

About the local administration – forever fascinating!

At the date of the platform launch, the Ponta 3 government will have installed themselves in the ministries chairs for a few days. A piece of news, which was broadcasted on the radio at that time, announced that with all the current turmoil at that time, caused by the changes in the government structure, the medical patients` organizations were worried that the project concerning subsidized medication will be once again put on hold. This project would allow for the valid treatment of cancer, hepatitis and cardiovascular disease.

But one of the worries that many social actors have is the government’s lack of vision – one that could at least indicate the direction it is likely to take (even with small steps).The unpredictability of their decisions, the fact that they do not respect their previous promises and deadlines. Their popular, but totally unsustainable measures. Do the medical insurance figures go up or down? Does the VAT go up or down? Do the resident doctors receive their 150 euros scholarship or not, even if it was promised to them so, back in January. How does the election law really work? This is information obtained through conferences and talk shows and not by studying public policy documentation which ought to be transparent. But all these decisions have the same characteristic: They appear and disappear overnight.

Therefore, as a government, you don’t know which decisions to make, (not just a right/vs./left decision, but more like deciding upon education, investment or health matters) you hardly ever find time for consulting. And the more this decision depends on the public opportunism, the more the organized pressure of getting things done should be taken into consideration.

And in this case, the role of the watchdog type of organizations is really important (they monitor this fixed set agendas and have a trained capacity of opposing their calls and expressing expert advice in certain situations). For an example dating back in the first week of March, you can check APADOR-CH’s reaction to their attempt to reduce the access of the press to documents in the justice department.

On the other hand, major subjects are missing from the public debates, subjects that could build on the idea of what is truly important and this is a vision which could stretch for more than just the election period.

For example, the educational system reform – which has already been done by each and every single minister, harshly criticized by all the participants in the educational process (parents, teachers, managers and of course, governors). Or the social security reform – with minor modifications that don`t change anything actually and let us continue being lost in the haze – especially since our current system doesn’t seem to be able to pay for the pensions of those who are now 35 (http://dilemaveche.ro/sectiune/dileme-line/articol/pensia-ultima-frontiera-0 ).

We would love to have a more predictable future, with more opportunities for us to be a part of the system, one in which not only the watchdog types of organizations intervene, but also those whose roots are firmly stuck in people`s grounds (federations, coalitions, umbrella-type of organizations – as useful as unions or employers` communities) who need enough time to utter official, well informed opinions (a general guide of principles and basic norms, which is valid for the European Union, suggest that when people are asked to give an official written opinion for an organization which is active in the European area, they have to wait for a minimum of 8 weeks, and the invitation to participate to a meeting has to be launched at least 20 working days in advance – http://ec.europa.eu/governance/docs/comm_standards_en.pdf ).)


Centrul de Resurse pentru participare publica (CeRe) acţionează pentru ca deciziile publice să corespundă nevoilor şi dorinţelor actorilor sociali.

Text tradus în parteneriat cu Shakespeare School, centru Cambridge de învățare a limbii engleze cu o metodă specială de predare, ce oferă cea mai plăcută și eficientă experiență de învățare a limbii engleze pentru copii și tineri.

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Welcome to the chapter with positive examples from the Economy in Romania.

We kindly invite you to read about the economy challenges and trend in Romania – an analysis written by our guest, Claudiu Vranceanu.
The Economy, as seen from the core: the strong impact of government’s fiscal policies on business.

Observing from the outside, foreign analysts will calmly describe the Romanian economy as one with strong relationships to Europe, but with a weaker economic growth and some structural and economic challenges. With these observations in mind, financial forecast organizations estimate a 2-4% economic growth for 2014, mainly based on exports and domestic demand, but affected by risks mainly in the credit area, due to underperforming loans and a reduction in transborder financing by foreign financial institutions.

Changing the perspective to an internal one, the views change. 2014 is an election year and seen as a potentially very dangerous one. However, optimists see it as an already fairly stable, macro-economically balanced year, and with a varied number of growth engines in place.

An election year is known to bring populist maneuvers by the government, some of them already noticed in the first quarter of this year. At the same time, fiscal policies based on increased taxation can be dangerous and not necessarily able to bring the expected balancing of the budget. The two major recently introduced levies: the special building tax and the Diesel fuel excise tax could hit the businesses fairly hard, which could mean a negative impact on the economic growth. At the same time, the stimulus measures proposed, mainly the tax credit the Finance Minister is to afford to low-income holders of underperforming loans, could – in my opinion – have unhealthy consequences.

As for the expectation of a tax lowering in 2014, there are slim chances it will happen. The main argument for not lowering the sales tax or the obligatory social contributions would be that the budget cannot afford it at this time. And this may be the truth, since the exports are the only ones growing, while domestic consumption is dwindling, the construction boom has vanished, and bankruptcies are an unfortunate constant presence in the business environment.

It is naturally expected that the business community requests a lowering of government’s financial demands as Romania is a country with one of the highest requirements in that area. Businesses are not only affected by the increased level of taxation, but also by the high level of bureaucracy when it comes to making those payments. For example, while a Romanian company makes 39 payments in on year, the companies in OECD countries make only an average of 12 annual payments, while European countries make 26. Of the Central and East European countries, companies make an average of 13 annual payments in Bulgaria, 12 in Hungary and only 8 in the Czech Republic.

In conclusion, what we hear from the core of the business community is that the government’s current fiscal policies have a large impact on the ability to keep business competitive and that there is a general worry that budget balancing measures implemented at government level are negatively affecting businesses.


Claudiu Vranceanu is a business journalist, with 8 years experience in the media. He is interested in how businesses communicate within and with their clientele, investors, and employees. He particularly enjoys writing about the entrepreneurial ecosystem, organizing business events, and attracting the youth into the business environment.

WALL-STREET.RO
Wall-Street.ro is the 8-year old daily journal with the highest readership nationwide (according to BRAT). It is the voice of the Romanian business, representing its largest community in the country with their 150,000 subscribers.

Translated by Ramona M, engineer, photographer, hockey player, and overall ‘nice gal’. She can be found either whooshing through downtown Toronto, chilling at a local rink, or strolling around with her camera searching for her next big image.