Together for Children: Stronger NGO Coalitions in the wider Black Sea Area

Wedenesday, January 29th, ChildPact, World Vision Romania and FONPC (Romanian Federation of NGOs for Children) have launched in Bucharest the project „ Together for Children: Stronger NGO Coalitions in the wider Black Sea Area”. 

The project aims to contribute to reforming the child protection systems in the partner countries by reinforcing the capacities of child-focused national coalitions of NGOs from the wider Black Sea area. Civil society’s organisations and coalitions in Romania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova are essential actors in the process of reforming child protection systems across the region. The project is financed by the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the Official Development Assistance programme and implemented by UNDP – BRC (the United Nations Development Programme – Regional Centre of Bratislava), and by the project implementation partners: World Vision Romania, the Romanian Federation for NGOs for Child (FONPC), the Armenian Child Protection Network, the Azeri NGO Alliance for Children, the Georgian Coalition for Child and Youth Welfare, the Moldavian Alliance of Active NGOs in the field of social protection of family and child (APSCF).

Dana Buzducea, World Vision Romania

“World Vision is present in numerous states across the region and it has a vast experience in developing and implementing solutions that properly respond to children’s needs. In every country, the organisation is member of national coalitions and it aims to share its regional expertise with its partners by adapting successful action models to the local context.” declared Daniela Buzducea, Advocacy Director, World Vision Romania. “For these reasons we have been involved in this project aiming for regional cooperation. Childhood is a period when every child should have the opportunity to develop skills and abilities that cannot be developed anytime later. Thus, we believe that only through regional cooperation we can properly support the reforms in the child protection systems, because only by sharing lessons learned among states we can stop wasting further childhoods. This is the conclusion I have reached to, after 20 years of work in the field of child protection in Romania.” After having been introduced to further details concerning the project and ChildPact, the audience has been presented information regarding the regional and European contexts for child protection, as well as the particular steps and changes undertaken by the Romanian child protection system reform. Helen Gonnord, representative of the Human Rights and Democracy Division within the European External Action Service, has presented the instruments that the European Union employs in order to support child protection related policies in third countries.

Mirela Oprea, ChildPact Secretary General

Mirela Oprea, ChildPact Secretary General, emphasised that in 2007 Romania, with the EU accession, has become a donor of official development assistance, targeted towards the developing countries of the Black Sea Region. “This is why ChildPact aims to promote Romania’s experience at regional and European levels through the creation of a working group within BSEC – Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organisation”, she explained. The audience had at its disposal a support document explaining the need to introduce child protection on the BSEC’s political agenda and an open letter launched by ChildPact a month ago towards relevant authorities and NGO representatives within the Black Sea Region.

Daniela Gheorghe, FONPC

Daniela Gheorghe, FONPC

The event has cast a light on Romania’s evolution in the field of child protection in a period of 30 years, the stages and the actors who initiated the change, as well as the political, social and economical determinants of the moment.  “Romania has made significant progress in the field. But in order to present this progress and share our experience with our partners, we have to acknowledge how we got here. The fact that institutionalised children are living in better conditions today than 25 years ago is due to the deinstitutionalisation processes which have begun in 1997. We want our partners to learn from both our mistakes and accomplishments, and adapt valid models to their contextual realities”, emphasised Daniela Gheorghe, Executive Director of FONPC.