Romania Civic Education Project, 1994-1997
A. CIVIC EDUCATION
In August 1992, IFES established an office in Bucharest, Romania, in order to implement its Civic Education Program, made possible through funding from USAID. The program, designed to help foster Romania's democratization and develop its domestic institutions, sought to achieve these results mainly by strengthening the emerging NGO sector through the development of its abilities. The focus of the program was directed towards six categories of NGOs: civic, human rights, economic, media, youth and environmental. The program was to be implemented in three phases. During the first phase, IFES tried to stimulate the creation of NGOs by holding a series of conferences/public meetings for civic leaders throughout the country. This was one of the main goals of the Vocea Civica Project. The second goal was to assist existing NGOs to facilitate their networking and expand their audience to include government officials and the media. The next phase of the program was dedicated to improving internal communications within the NGO sector and the external relations with the media and government while continuing the main activities of the first phase. Finally, a phase-out included the establishment of CENTRAS, a Romanian independent organization which had evolved from the IFES Civic Education Program, expanding its focus to become a service provider and promoter of NGO legislation. The core of CENTRAS' staff has benefitted from the experience gained during the IFES program, and was able to propel the organization into one of the most successful and well known NGOs in Romania today.
B. TECHNICAL ELECTION ASSISTANCE Beginning in 1992, IFES was present in Romania on a short-term basis, providing technical assistance to the Romanian government as it prepared for elections. In addition, IFES was involved in the promotion of a new electoral law and in the support of election-oriented domestic NGOs.
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