For the last 12 years, the PACT Foundation has been actively working to promote community development in the South of Romania. The organisation aims to contribute to the sustainable development of rural and small to medium urban communities by encouraging, supporting and promoting local and regional initiatives, partnership and social responsibility among individuals, companies, public authorities, and institutions.
The essence of PACT activities consists of empowering citizens and community members to take action to make changes in the communities they live in. To achieve this, PACT Foundation combines training, onsite consultation, and activities with community facilitation.
Aflatoun International and PACT Foundation have been working together since 2012. After conducting training on the Aflatoun methodology, the organisation introduced these methods within one of their most significant projects, “zefiR.”
ZefiR is the initiative of a consortium composed by PACT and 7 other Romanian NGOs that aim to improve access to education and healthcare for over 20,000 people in three districts from South-West Romania: Olt, Dolj, and Gorj. The target population in this project are vulnerable groups, focusing mainly on women, youth and children.
Aflateen has become the main component of the zefiR project targeting teenagers. Additionally, the organisation has supported the development of 12 Aflateen Clubs and have been actively involved in organizing weekly educational activities with the youngsters. These clubs stimulate young people to question their identity and the world around them.
In 2016 the Aflateen Clubs held 302 meetings that were continuously attended by approximately 114 youngsters. The topics debated during the activities at these meetings were: family, community, career, rights and responsibilities, gender and social roles, how do I defend my rights, assessing the needs of community youth, setting goals and developing a project, building a budget, functions, and responsibilities, savings, etc.
During this fun and creative activities, the youngsters said that they: got to know themselves better, had the opportunity to express themselves freely and develop their creativity, made new friends, and had a chance to put their ideas into practice, and their opinion is taken into consideration.
In 2018, the zefiR project started an extension to focus on active citizenship. During this year, 3 of the Aflateen Clubs from Caracal, Ocolna, and Bumești-Jiu received training on active citizenship and advocacy and have been encouraged to engage in the life of their communities by implementing such methods as Flash Mob, Photovoice and Human Library. All the three ways have been used choosing a theme relevant to their community, after having made a needs assessment analysis and addressing it creatively.