Development Cooperation Handbook/Interviews/Adela Rusu

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  • Adela Rusu is currently working as the Coordinator of the FOND platform, the Romanian NDGO platform which supports NGO's working or willing to implement projects in the fields of development and cooperation. Her academic background is in Political Science and European Studies and before working in the sector of development and cooperation she has worked in diplomacy and coordinated part-time projects and different actions in the same area.
  • Relevant Expertise: Coordinator of the FOND platform, the Romanian NDGO platform which supports NGO's working or willing to implement projects in the fields of development and cooperation, experience in diplomacy

Key points of the interview[edit]

  • Project initiatives targeting the education for development and transnational cooperation are not met very often in our country. And I believe that this type of project could be very useful for activists and a very good way of promoting successful projects implemented by Romanian NGOs.
  • There is one successful way to implement this type of projects: cooperation. I believe that educators, media and Local Authorities should find ways to collaborate and work together and address the same target group with different and useful tools. Media is therefore responsible with setting a coherent message. Local authorities have the necessary resources and can secure a more powerful impact.
  • Anyone can be a world citizen if there is enough information to educate him in this direction and anybody can assist in achieving the objectives. For example, if all of us would recycle our own garbage, it would be easier to reach together the ecological goal. Those responsible for creating the right attitude are both the governmental and non-governmental actors that need to create a collaborative and complete effort, in order to have e better impact.

Synopsis of the interview[edit]

How target stakeholders can contribute to the achievement of the MDGs?[edit]

  • The Romanian NDGO platform supports NGO's working or willing to implement projects in the fields of development and cooperation.
  • The Romanian NGDO Platform (FOND) has as main objective the responsible and effective involvement of Romanian civil society and Government in international development cooperation and humanitarian aid. To this concern, FOND is a partner of the Romanian Government and the MFA in their process to implement the policy for international development cooperation.
  • With a view to achieving the goals, the Federation aims: to represent the common goals of its members in the field of international development cooperation and humanitarian aid and development education at national and international level; to provide information regarding the development cooperation and humanitarian aid and the opportunities for cooperation between the FOND members and the international partners; to cooperate with the local and central public authorities and with other institutions in this field; to cooperate with the international partners on issues related to international development cooperation;
  • Romania sustains the development of states from the geographic areas labeled as priorities for the Romanian foreign relations, namely the Eastern European states, the West Balkans and South Caucasian countries. However, Romania will, in principle, also support the least developed and low income countries. The list of beneficiary states is expanding towards Central Asia, Africa and Latin America, as Romanian capacities in the assistance for development field are being consolidated.
  • Romania is, in principal, prepared to offer assistance in the following areas: Good governance, The strengthening of democracy and of the rule of law, Economic development, development education, Health, Development of infrastructure and environment protection.
  • In the first phase, Romania will focus on a limited number of areas, where it has a strong advantage in comparison to the other donor countries: promoting human rights, strengthening of democracy, development education.
  • All of us should be more active in different organizations, of all types and become volunteers in national campaigns to promote the MDGs. Thus, we can create a lobby group, a structure and influence the governmental actors. Organizations should also be part of wider, global platforms at the international level, such as FOND (The Romanian NGDO platform).
  • We already have an working group very active in this direction, we are coordinating awareness campaigns and publish on our website material, documents and information regarding the MDGs. Creating awareness about the cooperation for development policies is one of our organization objectives and we are interested to further these efforts in different other programs and cooperation actions.
  • We are interested in future partnerships both as a general platform and as individual organizations. Our fields of interest are similar and have similar objectives that can be achieved through partnerships in different projects.


Identifies the capacity and knowledge gaps among target stakeholders in enabling informed choices among public with regard to support for global partnerships aimed at reducing poverty and achieving the MDGs?[edit]

  • While EC’s communication channels are well established, the message transmitted is not really focused on the idea of the assistance that needs to be created in order to help the others, it is not specifically related to the idea of cooperation for development.
  • All the information that is available on the CE website is professional and very detailed but sometimes inaccessible. There the Info points such as Europe Direct but they do not provide materials and information on cooperation for development programs, they are related more to the general communication policy of the EU.
  • I am aware that consistent efforts are being done regarding this policy but the informational tools available do not really reflect those efforts. The message is not accessible, is not “in your face” and sometimes a more proactive approach is necessary especially with regard to this type of actions.

What are the gaps and problems to be addressed through the manuals, web site and the documentaries?[edit]

  • There should be more materials and available information on the subject and a message focused on the cooperation for development policy.
  • Global education is sometimes overlapping the education for development and this is not the right approach because global education has a general, wider audience.



Complete version of the interview[edit]

Introductory question[edit]

  • Did you have a chance to prepare yourself for this interview? Did you have the time to read the documents we sent to you? Have you visited our project web site (www.eugad.eu)?


I have briefly browsed the documents I have received. I know the project and I had an introductive discussion before the actual interview.

Questions regarding the contributor profile (1)[edit]

  • Tell us something about yourself.

I am currently working as the Coordinator of the FOND platform, the Romanian NDGO platform which supports NGO's working or willing to implement projects in the fields of development and cooperation. My academic background is in Political Science and European Studies and before working in the sector of development and cooperation I have worked in diplomacy and coordinated part-time projects and different actions in the same area.


Questions regarding the partner profile (1)[edit]

  • Introduce us to your Organization / Company / Institution .

The Romanian NGDO Platform (FOND) has as main objective the responsible and effective involvement of Romanian civil society and Government in international development cooperation and humanitarian aid.
To this concern, FOND is a partner of the Romanian Government and the MFA in their process to implement the policy for international development cooperation.
With a view to achieving the goals, the Federation aims:
a) to represent the common goals of its members in the field of international development cooperation and humanitarian aid and development education at national and international level;
b) to provide information regarding the development cooperation and humanitarian aid and the opportunities for cooperation between the FOND members and the international partners;
c) to facilitate the information exchange and mutual learning process between the FOND members;
d) to cooperate with the local and central public authorities and with other institutions in this field
e) to cooperate with the international partners on issues related to international development cooperation;
Romania sustains the development of states from the geographic areas labeled as priorities for the Romanian foreign relations, namely the Eastern European states, the West Balkans and South Caucasian countries. However, Romania will, in principle, also support the least developed and low income countries. The list of beneficiary states can be expanded towards Central Asia, Africa and Latin America, once Romanian capacities in the assistance for development field are being consolidated.
Romania is, in principal, prepared to offer assistance in the following areas: Good governance, The strengthening of democracy and of the rule of law, Economic development, development education, Health, Development of infrastructure and environment protection.
In the first phase, Romania will focus on a limited number of areas, where it has a strong advantage in comparison to the other donor countries: promoting human rights, strengthening of democracy, development education.

  • What made you interested you in our project? How are Eugad issues related to what you (and your Organization) do?

The project caught my attention because it considers an issue that it is not very popular in Romania. Project initiatives targeting the education for development and transnational cooperation are not met very often in our country. And I believe that this type of project could be very useful for activists and a very good way of promoting successful projects implemented by Romanian NGOs.


Issues (1) - How can we contribute to the achievement of the MDGs?[edit]

  • The United Nations member countries have committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and they are supposed to be setting out concrete plans and practical steps for action. Global objectives will be achieved through many coordinated locally based actions. Non State Actors and Local Governments are also supposed to do their part in this collective effort.  see http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/. Please answer one (or more) of the three:

What do you think educators can do in order to support the activities aimed at achieving the Millennium Development Goals?|1.What do you think educators can do in order to support the activities aimed at achieving the Millennium Development Goal?

I believe that there is one successful way to implement this type of projects: cooperation. I believe that educators, media and Local Authorities should find ways to collaborate and work together and address the same target group with different and useful tools. Media is therefore responsible with setting a coherent message. Local authorities have the necessary resources and can secure a more powerful impact.

Question about good/bad practices (1)[edit]

Research and analysis - There is a research paper on cooperation for development in Romania that analyses the situation before the revolutionary moment of '89 in Romania trying to discover the moment when the political/social/mental changes started and what has occurred after the transition period, insisting on the commitments we need to respect as member of the EU.
External support and cooperation - Activities of the NGOs, the projects they develop in the development direction and the evolution of their projects can be accessed through the TRIALOG platform aimed at raising awareness about development issues in the enlarged EU and strengthen development cooperation through the full integration of development NGOs from new EU member states and accession countries into CONCORD and other European Networks.
Agreements - The Cotonou Agreement, Partnership Agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Groups of States and the European Community and its Member States – based on three complementary pillars – development cooperation, economic and trade cooperation, the political dimension.
Study visits for the member organizations in the targeted countries
Effective communication and information tools – website, specific section for resources and documents about the cooperation policies, clear information about the MDGs addressed to the general public.

Africa Day, May 25, 2009, organized by the Romanian NGDO Platform and the Civil Society Development Fundation, in partnership with the Refugee Women's Organization in Romania and Save the Children Romania with the support of the Department for European Affairs.
Organization of a Seminar with the participation of Sophie LeRue-DG Development, European Commission, H.E. Ambassador Abdelhamid Senouci Bereksi-Algerian Embassy in Bucharest, Mihail Dobre-Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Middle East and Africa Directorate, Ana Vasilache-Partners Foundation for Local Development (FPDL). Among the objectives of the event:
analyze the relation between Romania and the African continent and find ways to improve them
discuss possible strategies in establishing nationhood, promote accelerated growth and sustainable development, eradicate severe poverty (NEPAD programme)
Organization of the event “Africa is everywhere” at the Romanian Peasant Museum to enhance the importance of the development cooperation policy and the needed contributions.
launching of a photo competition on MDGs, photo exhibition and documentary screening
open fair with traditional African costumes and artifacts.
As for bad practice, the few campaigns that have been implemented in Romania cannot really be compared, it is a relatively new domain, with a rather low level of experience that could not be efficiently evaluated at this point. And it would be difficult and quite irrelevant to compare the local actions with the international ones because Romania is only in the initial phase regarding this type of projects. Nevertheless, there is a rather inefficient approach that is met maybe too often in our country:
low budgets, inefficient promotion and communication campaigns. There is a need for investment in PR&Communication in the NGO field in order to create the tools that would sell a campaign or a product, even though it is the Non-for-profit sector
lack of resources and experience.

Issues (2) - How is the European Union contributing to the achievement of the MDGs? [edit]

  • According to you how much money did the European Commission allocate in the year 2008 for achieving the MDGs?

Amounts are taken from the EU communitary budget.

  • Do you believe that the European Commission is doing enough to inform its citizens about the objectives and the scope of EU external aid programmes?

Yes EC informs well its citizens – communication channels are well established but the message transmitted is not really focused on the idea of the assistance that needs to be created in order to help the others, it is not specifically related to the idea of cooperation for development.
All the information that is available on the CE website is professional and very detailed but sometimes inaccessible. There the Info points such as Europe Direct but they do not provide materials and information on cooperation for development programs, they are related more to the general communication policy of the EU.
I am aware that consistent efforts are being done regarding this policy but the informational tools available do not really reflect those efforts. The message is not accessible, is not “in your face” and sometimes a more proactive approach is necessary especially with regard to this type of actions.

  • What can be done to improve the communication between EC and its citizens about the objectives and the scope of EU external aid programmes?

There should be more materials and available information on the subject and a message focused on the cooperation for development policy.

Issues  (3) How can people participate in the Global Development Agenda?[edit]

  • Do you think that common people can support and influence policies (at local, National and global level) targeting the implementation of commitments taken in favour of building the “global partnership for development”? How?

You can consider my previous example with the necessary individual involvement in recycling. Also, all of us should be more active in different organizations, of all types and become volunteers in national campaigns to promote the MDGs. Thus, we can create a lobby group, a structure and influence the governmental actors. Organizations should also be part of wider, global platforms at the international level, such as FOND (The Romanian NGDO platform)

  • Do you think that the “world citizenship” is a modality of self-awareness that can be achieved by all? Whose responsibility is it to build such an awareness?  

Global education is sometimes overlapping the education for development and this is not the right approach because global education has a general, wider audience.
Anyone can be a “world citizen” if there is enough information to educate him in this direction and anybody can assist in achieving the objectives. For example, if all of us would recycle our own garbage, it would be easier to reach together the ecological goal. Those responsible for creating the right attitude are both the governmental and non-governmental actors that need to create a collaborative and complete effort, in order to have e better impact.


Questions regarding the partner profile (2)[edit]

  • Do you think that your Organization/Company/Institution would be interested in having a bigger role in implementing the “global partnership for development” and in informing people on what Governments and Civil Society do/do not for achieving the Millennium Development Goals? Among the activities of your Organization/Company/Institution, would you like to implement a program/action of Information/Education for Development? Why? (Or you already have one?)

We already have an working group very active in this direction, we are coordinating awareness campaigns and publish on our website material, documents and information regarding the MDGs. Creating awareness about the cooperation for development policies is one of our organization objectives and we are interested to further these efforts in different other programs and cooperation actions.


Questions of collecting feedbacks from stakeholders about project results (1)[edit]

  • Please read the draft index of the Manual that we are preparing. What are the sections that are more relevant for you? What are the sections that you think are not relevant for you? Which other sections would you like to add?
    What is the approach/methodology/style that you would like the manual to have in order to be really interesting and useful for you?

All mentioned sections are relevant and personalized for each of the targeted audience. It is important to create the best tools for the educators as they should be the best informed in this direction. When it comes to media, the language should be more accessible and needs to be personalized as the media professionals are the less informed about the issue and if a certain subject is not clear right from the start it is unlikely to be further approached. A general index for the manuals is suitable as a starting point but the manuals need to be personalized. As a remark about the general content, I confess that is has risen my curiosity and seems appealing enough for any type of reader.

  • In such a manual what kind of resources and tools would you like to find that that will help you in your professional activities? Can you share with us the knowledge, resources and tools developed by you/your organization that will help us in writing the manual and that can be shared with others through the project web resource library?

Resources and information that are available on the websites of the organizations that have already run programs and actions in this specific direction; those can be used for benchmarking, as examples of best practices and useful experience regarding different results achieved in the implemented campaigns, their impact and reaction among the public.
Also, research papers, organizational models, different efforts and actions.

  • Are there other knowledge resources you would like to suggest? Web sites - Books - Journals - Audiovisuals

www.fondromania.org, for cooperation and development programs
www.mae.ro
www.concordeurope.org
www.trialog.or.at

Put the resources suggested in the relevant sections of the resources collected in the manual: please go to http://www.eugad.eu/wiki/index.php?title=Other_resources

Questions regarding the partner profile (3)[edit]

  • Would your organization/Company(Institution be interested in studying a possible area of cooperation with us to implement this Action?
    What kinds of synergies and partnership do you envisage?

Yes, we are interested in future partnerships both as a general platform and as individual organizations. Our fields of interest are similar and have similar objectives that can be achieved through partnerships in different projects.

Feedback on this interview[edit]

  • Are you satisfied with the questions and the approach of this interview? Why? Do you have any suggestion how we can improve?

The questionnaire is quite clear, the questions are targeted and have a precise objective.

Links to Manuals[edit]

This interview - Reference (19) in List of references for link to Manuals, has provided useful information, linked to the Manuals, to the following Chapters:

How the European Commission contributes to the achievement of the MDGs?

How Non State Actors contribute to the achievement of the MDGs?

Empowering informed judgements