EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Executive Summary old woman
“What can I do? Beat my old age with my stick?”

 

  1. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

  2. BRIEF SUMMARY

  3. METHOD


  4. FSC THE ORGANISATION

    1. Socio-political climate
    2. FSC currently

      1. The Office
      2. The Board
      3. The Staff
      4. FSC Wages
      5. Financial Management, Audit and Control

    3. Financial snapshot
    4. Vehicles
    5. Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT)
    6. Review of BESO critique and recommendations

  5. FSC Project Outlines and Recommendations

    1. Care of the Elderly
    2. Glue Clubs
    3. Mobile Health Care and Community Support
    4. Mosaic project and centre
    5. Volunteer programme
    6. Milly Centre (Project Report by Elizabeth Winstanley)

  6. Other Projects

    1. Vali Racila and Gasteni
    2. Budimex Hospital Bucharest

  7. The Legacy of Former Projects

    1. Mobile Health Care and Mobile Pharmacy
    2. Pistruiatul
    3. TB

  8. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

  9. APPENDICES

 

 

1. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

Edward Parry, Director RFFR, suggested that I might carry out a formal review of the work in Romania - in particular of Fundatia de Sprijin Comunitar, the Romanian charity we had set up to take over many of our projects. Edward kindly recommended that I be accompanied by Elizabeth Winstanley.

About Us

Julia Smyth background: Medical Ward Sister, St Bartholomew’s Hospital; General Practice Nurse/Manager; Community Nurse in Elderly and Palliative Care; Project Co-ordinator RFFR Mobile Health Care unit 1992 - 1994; RFFR Projects Manager 1994 - 2006.

Elizabeth Winstanley background; Civil Service; various PA and admin posts; RFFR Admin Manager 1995 to the present day.

 

2. BRIEF SUMMARY

Fundatia de Sprijin Comunitar is a “Gold Standard” organization operating to the highest standards in all aspects of its service delivery, management, staff performance and in engaging with all stakeholders, local and national authorities and commercial partners.

The calibre of the staff is simply outstanding. They are well-trained, disciplined, very focused, dedicated and extremely hard-working. Everyone I met puts in a lot of extra, unpaid hours and could not have been more helpful. The atmosphere at their extensive offices in the Mosaic Centre is inspirational with an impressive work ethic throughout all their operations.

Though this risks sounding over-effusive it is borne out by the many national and European prizes they have won (see Appendix i. list of awards).

Furthermore this dedication and commitment has spread to state employees that I met who work alongside FSC staff, such as the rural Mayors’ Social Workers, staff at the Child Protection Services and even the Mayors themselves.

This new dynamic among state employees is a vast improvement on my experiences in the 1990’s. I did not encounter any of the “Ce se fac?” (“What can be done?”) fatalism with which I was so familiar.

 

Fundatia de Sprijin Comunitar (FSC) …some facts/achievements

  • Are nationally accredited trainers in Combined Arts Therapy, Care of the Elderly, and Social Work ( a six month course). Their training, many national conferences and publications have spread skills and information throughout the North East and indeed the whole of Romania. Impart training has been carried out in over 50% of Romanian institutions.

  • FSC Currently have 10,873 beneficiaries

  • Their total budget 1997 - 2012 was £8,133.893 of which 21.6% was provided by RFFR. But the RFFR funding has been the only consistent and reliable core funding as they move from different funding opportunities and it has enabled them to keep going as grants ebb and flow. Overall they have provided care and training to many thousands of the most needy in Romania.

  • This compares to DFID expenditure in Romania 1997 - 2003 of £28.4 million and it is very hard to discover what this huge amount was spent on (see http://www.oecd.org/countries/romania/36499336.pdf OECD evaluation of DFID spending in Romania.).

  • They are an influential example of good practice and an effective lobbying agent together with various NGO forums which they have helped to set up.

  • FSC, the organization and its staff have remained flexible and reacted well to change. Their staff switch between projects as the need arises. Lenuta Nastac for example, as well as leading the IMPART training and teamwork, took over at Casa Pistruiatil when they had staffing problems and now runs the Milly Centre.

  • FSC have been extremely effective in devising their own new programmes, e.g. the very successful Volunteers and Summer Camps projects and the wonderful Glue Clubs. They have also shown real imagination and skill in the development and evolution of old projects such as Tumble Tots/Play Therapy and the original Mobile Health Centre which have both evolved into complex community based health and social services and training programmes.

  • FSC, their associates and British trainers have been a real agent for change, particularly regarding the treatment of and attitudes towards the disabled and in the delivery of health and social care to the most needy. They have been pioneers in creating models of health and social care and in successfully selling them to the state and in engaging with other stakeholders, local and national businesses and encouraging and networking with other NGO’s in Romania.

 

They face many constraints, mostly with funding insecurities. Both the central government (Law 34) and the Bacau mayor constantly keep them waiting for news of funding or in forwarding funds late.

In the project work, most constraints appear to be in the elderly home care programmes. The carers often report not having enough time with their patients, of having to walk long distances and being short of resources. I visited many patients who needed more time from the carers but which the project just did not have the capacity to deliver. In rural areas, the lack of running water or heating makes life arduous for the patients and their carers.

Overall, Relief Fund investments in Romania since 1991 have provided long-lasting change and benefit to thousands which would never have happened had the organization not been created and had Edward Parry not visited the aftermath of the Siret river flooding. The wider impact through those whom FSC have trained is numerically incalculable but is surely significant.


(EP note: Mention should also be made of Jessica Hellings, my then assistant, whose connections with the Bacau-based Missionaries of Charity was also instrumental in helping us focus our efforts on the area
).




3. METHOD

I travelled to Romania by train with Elizabeth Winstanley 19 - 30 September 2013. Six days travelling and five days viewing projects and interviewing beneficiaries, partners, staff and three mayors in rural communities. We met with Ken Hawker and Marta (RFFR charity shop Managers) at King’s Cross station for a coffee who told us they thought that RFFR shop staff would be very interested in some news and feedback on our visit.

The programme included:

  • An all day briefing meeting with FSC senior staff and project coordinators
  • An all day debriefing and findings discussion with Gabi Achihai, FSC President, and FSC senior staff
  • A meeting with the Volunteer Team
  • Visits to 6 home care patients in Bacau town and 6 in rural villages with local care staff
  • Visits to the Stefan Ciobanu Day Centre where a performance and lunch were provided
  • Several visits to the Mosaic Centre and 5 visits to Glue Clubs in rural areas
  • A half day at Gasteni with Vali Racila, Dr Necula, and Lenuta Nastac where a performance was put on and craft workshops viewed
  • A meeting in Bucharest with Ozana Ilie of the Budimex Hospital Project. I did not visit the hospital as I had a bad cough and cold and was unable to meet Dana Condrea as she was out of town.
  • A visit to the Milly Centre in Buhusi by Elizabeth Winstanley with Gabi Ungureanu and Lenuta Nastac
  • Elizabeth Winstanley was treated to a visit to the painted monasteries in NE Romania with Gabi Ungureanu after her visit to the Milly Centre
  • A short, farewell dinner

All project visits were with Project Senior Coordinators and/or Gabi Achihai

This review is a pragmatic “see, ask, listen and tell” report incorporating the aims and objectives outlined. There is a short section on SWOT lines overall but I did not attempt a formal SWOT analysis of all projects.

 

4. FSC THE ORGANISATION

 

4.1. Socio-political climate

It is not within the scope of this report to give an in-depth analysis of the socio-economic and political background in Romania which is well-known to the RFFR and covered in detail in the quarterly reports that FSC send to the RFFR.. These are the impressions I gained of significant issues over the course of 5 days.

Tokenism: On my first morning I noticed some smart new recycling bins had replaced the filthy old brick rubbish dump outside Gabi’s Bacau flat. I looked in the glass and plastic containers expecting that in the Romanian tradition of mild anarchy they would be full of any old rubbish but was impressed to find them tidily full of the correct stuff. When I remarked on this to Gabi she said “Sure, the sad thing is they mix it all together when they collect them!” I encountered many instances of this nod to standards that were basically ignored, not I hasten to add, at FSC.
State Provision For Health and Social Care Unbelievably, there are still no formal programmes or ring-fenced government funds for Primary Health and Social Care. Funds as ever, are prioritized for secondary (hospital) care. NGO’s have to fight and scramble for govt Funding via law 34 (central govt) or local City and Community mayors. The mayor of Bacau runs grandiose and expensive sports events and is funding a massive new Orthodox Cathedral and other populist projects in the run-up to elections. FSC still do no know how much the Bacau Mayor will grant to them for the coming year. On the plus side, rural Mayors have become more committed to and involved
in FSC projects. The Ministry of Works has granted ALL of FSC’s Care of the Elderly budget costs for 2014 for wages and some other costs. Usually they make various cuts. Notably FSC are the only organization in Romania to have all of their request granted.
EU financial controls I heard from several sources that “The Romanian government happily uses economic pressures as an excuse for providing no health and social
services and funding”. “The EU is just not interested. Romania tells them they are dealing with health and social issues and the EU believes them because all they care about is the economy and the enforcement of stringent controls”.
Rural poverty The plight of the rural poor, especially the elderly remains dire. Pensions can be as low as £25 - £50 per month, hospital doctors tend to over-prescribe expensive medicines; more and more younger relatives who could have helped have gone elsewhere or abroad to work. There is still no running water in any of the villages and no local shops, even if they had money to spend. I honestly wondered what on earth some of the elderly poor were eating there being little or no evidence of food in the house.
Frequent political Change
This has always been a problem and it remains so. FSC with the NGO Forum lobbied the Minister of Works in Bucharest about Law 34 i.e. to grant them funding for Care of the Elderly as essential services, not to keep them waiting for months on end for news of funding and for the funds. He was sacked a week later. But in light of recent news, perhaps it worked as full Law 34 funding was granted to FSC.

 

4.2. FSC the organisation: currently

4.2.1. FSC’s office

In 2008 the main office was moved to a new location in a poor part of town at Str.Marasti 32. It is known as the Mosaic Centre (please see Mosaic report for full details) and comprises offices, meeting facilities, the Mosaic crafts workshop and a “Glue Club” for local school children. The office in str.Livezilor is still open and used as a centre for the volunteers and for much needed storage.



4.2.2. The Board

The Board has changed over the years and now comprises:

  • Gabi Achihai (Chair) President of FSC
  • Florin Finaru: Vice-President, Engineer
  • Delia Andres: Financial Manager of the training agency CODECS
  • Stelian Bejan: Director of a bank
  • Ioan Damian: a retired police officer

The “Founder” of FSC is Mrs Doina Rosu (mother of a former Romanian GP with FSC). This is an honorary title, required by law in the founding documents, but with no active role in the running of the organization.

The Board is mainly involved in fundraising and major decisions such as capital expenditure, the buying of property etc. They meet 2 – 3 times a year, sometimes more often. They are not very “hands on” but fulfill legal obligations, read all reports and make useful contacts, sell tables for the annual Gala etc. Florin Finaru helps out with training, the volunteer programme and making introductions for FSC. Gabriela Achihai signs legal documents. Irina Avoricitei (Director FSC) deputises for Gabi Achihai as necessary.

Changes to the Board came about after an audit by BESO which was critical of too many FSC staff on the Board. (British Executive Services Overseas (BESO) carried out an external review of FSC in April 2005).

Lenuta Nastac resigned and Dr Stefan Cobanu, very sadly, was killed in a road traffic accident. The current Board comprises a good mix with a broader experience and contacts in the fields of local commerce and industry.



4.2.3. The Staff

  • Gabi Achihai: President
  • Irina Avornicitei: Director

Project Co-ordinators and middle management

  • Elena Nastac: Impart, Impreuna Network and Milly’s Village
  • Danut Darie: Glue Clubs Network, Medical and Social Services in Rural Areas, Acquisitions Manager and vehicles supervision
  • Elena Ungureanu: Care of the Elderly rural areas, Supervisor of all programmes, and supervises registrations, certificates and legal approvals.
  • Raluca Bitleanu: Care of the Elderly Bacau city, co-trainer for Impart team
  • Gabriel Magurianu: Volunteers programme, co-trainer Impart team
  • Ionut Chirita: Fundraising
  • Vivi Raba: Social worker, Supervisor of the Glue Clubs in rural areas

Middle management staff are very much engaged in strategic planning, problem-solving and forward planning. All coordinators and top management are trained in project management, strategic planning, fundraising, proposal writing, training of other people and financial management, They perform many other tasks apart from the day to day direct management of activities.

 

Other staff

FSC: TOTAL PEOPLE WORKING 130

Wages covered by

Home care -city 14

City Council Bacau, Law 34, Health insurance house

Day care-city 3

City Council Bacau, Law 35

Rural home care 59

Law 34, Local mayors

Glue Clubs 20

County Council, other funding

Activ Mosaic 3

Incomes from selling goods

Impart 1

Training

Milly's village 19

Contributions from beneficiaries

Volunteers 2

Fundraising, other funds

Fundraising 2

Fundraising, other funds

Administrative 6

RFFR, other funds

Bucharest-RFFR 1

RFFR

 

4.2.4. FSC staff wages

All FSC employees are legal, have working contracts which are registered in a national database. For those on low salaries FSC try to give Christmas bonuses.

The salary levels are:

  • The minimum national wage which is 100 GBP net (200 GBP total): all rural home carers
  • 200 GBet /400 GBP total for people with university degree
  • 343 GBP/642 GBP for middle management
  • 368/747 GBP for top management
FSC: Breakdown of wages covered by  
RFFR 3%
Buhusi contributions 13%
Charity Shop 2%
County Council 12%
City Council 10%
Local mayors 8%
Fundraising 5%
Health insurance house 6%
Other funding 8%
Law 34 32%

Core team costs per month

Nr. crt. Name

Net Lei

Net GBP

Total salary Lei

Total salary GBP

1

ACHIHAI GABRIELA

1,853

371

3,736

747

2

AVORNICITEI IRINA

1,842

368

3,503

701

3

BITLEANU RALUCA ELENA

1,668

334

3,024

605

4

UNGUREANU ELENA

1,763

353

3,203

641

5

DARIE DANUT

1,287

257

3,248

650

6

NASTASA GABRIELA

1,864

373

3,331

666

7

CHIRITA IONUT    

3,200

640

8

NASTAC LENUTA

1,715

343

3,211

642

9

MAGURIANU GABRIEL

1,763

353

3,217

643

  TOTAL

13,755

2,751

29,672

5,934

 

 

Basic costs per month and annual total

 

lei

GBP

Wages

29,672

5,934

Mortgage

5,200

1,040

Utilities

3,000

600

Health & safety

1,000

200

Consumables

1,000

200

Taxes

2,000

400

Fuel

10,000

2,000

Repairs

5,000

1,000

TOTAL

56,872

11,374

12 months

682,470

136,494

FSC calculate their annual core costs as 136,494 GBP/year (representing core team plus expenses).

 

 

4.2.5. Financial Management, Audit and Control

External National Accreditation of Management and Financial Systems: In 2012 FSC received the ISO 9001:2008 Certification provided by RINA SIMTEX-OC, licensed and recognised at national level. They looked at all of FSC’s project work and issued a quality management certificate covering 2012 – 2015. This certificate gives official testimony that FSC provides a high standard of management of services oriented towards the best interest of its service users and that its financial systems are transparent, well controlled and documented. (This external audit cost $1,000 and was funded by a Norwegian Grant and has proved very useful in government and independent grant applications)

Because of state funding, FSC’s accounts are checked monthly by various state departments. Once a year FSC publish their accounts in the National Monitory Register. This is obligatory for “public utility organisations”.

See Appendix ii

 

FSC are Nationally Accredited Trainers: by various Romanian government departments in:

  • Home Care of the Elderly
  • Combined Arts Therapy for adults and children with special needs
  • Community Social Work

 

Financial planning, protocols and control within FSC

FSC developed new financial and budget strategies in 2005 following BESO’s report and critique. This is based firstly upon:

  • Formal annual budgeting and projections
  • Calculation of the minimal budget necessary to function and which work may have to be cut
  • Because of the instability of state funding, some of this is guesswork and nothing is guaranteed
  • If funds exceed expectations, FSC plan development ahead, evaluate sources and plan reserves for the emergency funding of shortfalls

 

The coordinators

The programme coordinators, based on weekly/monthly planning of activity, request their funds to be released. This release request is approved by the Financial Manager and the Director. They also:

  • have set budgets according to the monthly/yearly need of the activity
  • prepare numerous reports of activity for various departments
  • establish performance indicators and evaluation of all employees and prepare personal development plans for these employees

 

The financial department oversees

  • According to the yearly budgets and cash flow projection, each programme has a budget to cover the basic costs and other special projects (according to the funding lines approved by individual funders).
  • Most large expenses which are made via the bank to avoid cash handling
  • After expenses are made by the authorized people (coordinators) they are registered (and numbered) on-line into a document posted under FSC’s Google account. This is passworded and reflects the expense made/by whom/on what, etc. This helps to keep the cash-flow under control.
  • All expenses are checked by the Director of FSC and then recorded into the official records which is licensed software
  • According to the requirements of the many different funders, the financial department prepares financial reports for donors which are approved by The President.
  • The expenses and accounts are audited by an external licensed company

 

Ionut Chirita: was appointed Head of Fundraising by FSC after the death of Dr Stefan Ciobanu. He manages appeals and funding proposals to:

  • Local community: street appeals, supermarket buckets, street performances etc
  • Local and national businesses
  • The annual Gala
  • Various fairs, concerts and galas
  • Local and national government funding
  • International funding sources
  • The tax reimbursement scheme
  • “Global Giving”

Some funds are generated within FSC

  • Some charges are made to beneficiaries on an “able to pay” basis e.g. the Milly Centre
  • Sale of the FSC Mozaic programme products
  • Charity shop and fundraising incomes

 

 

4.3 FINANCIAL SNAPSHOT (as at September 2013)

 

FSC INCOME/EXPENDITURE SUMMARY 1997 – 2012, all in EURO

Income Expenditure  
Source Income Percent Project/item Expenditure Percent  
Funds from abroad (UK,France, Netherlands, USA, Norway)

4,533,704.00

55.74%

     
      Medical & Soc rural

1,117,809.00

13.82%

Funds from Romania

3,600,189.00

44.26%

Education rural

727,154.00

8.99%

TOTAL INCOME

8,133,893.00

100.00%

Education Mozaic

79,661.00

0.90%

      All Care of Elderly

1,924,467.00

23.80%

Breakdown funds from Rom     Impart

432,782.00

5.35%

County and local councils

742,834.00

  Vol/fundraising

328,124.00

4.06%

Governmebt Law 34

666,337.00

  Soc support

218,898.00

2.71%

Health Ins House

127,181.00

  Casa Pistruiatul

481,708.00

5.96%

Fund raising

687,666.00

  Ready, Willing & Able

311,671.00

3.85%

Income generating (training, charity shop)

146,912.00

  Better Houses (2003)

77,854.00

0.96%

Other

1,229,259.00

  Citizens' Advice

68,859.00

0.85%

Total

3,600,189.00

  Support other NGO's

318,684.00

3.94%

      Other

100,184.00

1.24%

      Admin

735,424.00

9.10%

      Training personnel

90,444.00

1.12%

      Audit and evaluation

34,459.00

0.43%

      Building and inventory

845,235.00

10.45%

      Campaigns

192,526.00

2.38%

           
TOTAL INCOME

8,133,893.00

100.00%

TOTAL EXP

8,085,943.00

99.91%

Detailed year by year spreadsheet available from FSC

NOTES:

1. Income from RFFR 1997 – 2012 represented 21% of total income over this period. !n 1997 of course this was 100%, slowly diminishing and would be higher overall without capital expenditure from Norway, Colin Williams etc.

2. FSC fundraising peaked in 2011at 82,525

 

4.4 VEHICLES

With the exception of the Mozaic Centre and Dr Stefan Ciobanu Elderly Day Centre, both in Bacau, all of FSC’s work is heavily dependent on the use of vehicles. Much of the work takes place in scattered, outlying rural villages in Bacau county and beyond. Even in the Bacau projects, vehicles are used daily in the supply of provisions and for staff and beneficiary transport.

FSC currently have 8 vehicles:

1 Matiz: nursing care Bacau
1 Chevrolet Spark: Fundraising and administration
1 Dacia Logan: Care of Ehe elderly Bacau
1 Dacia Duster: Lenuta Nastac (multiple projects)

2 Nissan (Xtrail, Qasqai): both rural care
1 Renault Symbol: volunteers programme
1 Land Rover (donated by RFFR in 1994 now 20 years old): repairs and interventions

In addition, FSC donated 4 minibuses (Norwegian grants) to local rural communities, the mayor pays for the driver and the petrol. This has developed the mayor’s “man with a caruta” facility which still exists in some communities. (A caruta is a tradiotional Romanian horse and cart).

FSC manage and oversee this activity and that of the local Social Workers (employed by the mayors) in the rural Care of the Elderly projects.

All of the vehicles were donated to FSC in various grants. Several of the vehicles have well over 100,000Km on the clock. Wear and tear over country, untarred roads and tracks is heavy.

FSC Rural Vehicle Community minibus Huruiesti Community minibus logo Motoseni
FSC CoE rural vehicle Community minibus Huruiesti Community minibus logo Motoseni

In 2012, FSC vehicle maintenance costs were: 12,000 GBP

At present, FSC do not foresee having enough capital reserves to replace any of these vehicles. EU grant opportunities have now all passed to government agencies.

 

4.5. SWOT ANALYSIS

  STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES OPPORTUNITIES THREATS
FSC THE ORGANISATION
  • Long experience of community service delivery
  • High standards set and reached
  • Widespread recognition with many awards
  • Accredited national trainers in 3 fields
  • Pioneers in selling services to the state
  • Dedication of staff

  • A lot of expertise is invested in the most senior staff but this is now less so than some years ago.
  • FSC’s experience and status should provide a good opportunity for more intense networking and lobbying within Romania and perhaps more widely

  • Middle management have developed skills and responsibility for a wider role
  • Most threats to FSC are related to future funding

  • No formal state provision/system for primary health and social care
FUNDING
  • Good record of obtaining funds from many different national and international sources

  • FSC income generation and fund-raising schemes are diverse
  • Income generation: artwork sold is labour intensive but inexpensive and small.

  • Hand made items sold could be larger and raise more e.g. painted children’s furniture

  • An expert opinion may add ideas on Mozaic workshop products

  • Law 34 funding from central government may be stabilizing from a previously very uncertain situation but this will need constant work and lobbying
  • EU funds for Romanian NGO’s have dried up – they all go through central government

  • EU not interested in Romania’s lack of provision of health and social care

  • RFFR as main, stable core funder ? future

  • Local government funding is at the discretion of rural and city mayors who may have political and other priorities
ACCOUNTING AND ACCOUNTABILITY
  • Transparent and nationally recorded systems
  • External certification
  • Good reporting to donors
  • No weaknesses identified
 
  • Complex systems are very labour intensive. If future funds dry up FSC may face accounting staff cuts.
MANAGEMENT AND PERSONNEL
  • Management systems appeared to me improved since the BESO audit and entirely satisfactory.

  • The Board is not very active. I think this is not necessarily improvable and that sometimes reality has to be faced.
  • I was not able to fully grasp all of the BESO management systems critique. Consider external management audit when affordable or within grant application
  • Low wages of lower management staff and carers may drive staff away as the private sector in Romania develops

PROJECT WORK
  • Good spread between all sectors of health and social care
  • High standards
  • Prize-winning volunteer programme
  • Good liaison with and example to state sector
  • Much improved engagement of some local mayors
  • Some staff feel “overworked and underpaid”
  • Resources in the Care of the Elderly Project e.g. pampers are expensive and insufficient
  • FSC are in a good position to use the local “on side” mayors and NGO forum for continued lobbying for state funds of badly needed, accredited and successful projects
  • Vehicles: projects heavily dependent on ageing vehicles which FSC does not have the capital to replace
  • Not enough time/resources widely reported by carers in the Care of the Elderly Projects

 

 

4.6. REVIEW OF BESO CRITIQUE AND RECOMMENDATIONS

British Executive Services Overseas (BESO) carried out an external review of FSC in April 2005.

BESO RECOMMENDATIONS
APRIL 2005
PROJECTS REVIEW 2013 JS COMMENTS
Improve performance and management system at Board level. “The Board should undertake a scrutiny role” etc (p.19 BESO report) The Board see all of FSC’s reports and do take an overseeing role My own view is that management and performance at FSC is consistently satisfactory and results in little need for Board intervention.
Establish systematic annual performance appraisals Achieved   
Develop new budget strategies. Role of Co-ordinators within FSC’s financial management should be re-evaluated Both achieved see 4.2.5. Financial Management, Audit and Control   
Establish an NGO forum in Bacau Achieved. Local NGO forum in Bacau established by FSC and others. FSC give a lot of support to this NGO forum and other small NGO’s in and around Bacau and elsewhere, organise seminars etc and involve the Bacau forum in lobbying etc  
Be more rigorous in commercial activities and in charging for services Achieved: training, Care of the Elderly and Milly residents all now charged on a means tested basis.There will remain an ongoing need to look at opportunities to charge for services but this will always be limited in caring for the poorest of the poor.  

Performance management:

  • Analysis of service data not enough
  • Insufficient understanding of performance management
  • SMART objectives
  • Display trend information
  • Lack of Key Performance Indicators

I went through all of these systems in detail with FSC.I am satisfied that they have addressed these issues and they have many systems of measuring Key Performance Indicators, project analyses, beneficiary and staff feedback.

It is too complex to cover in detail but FSC can provide a report of this on request

On examining some performance indicators with FSC, staff performance was rated as 100%. I queried this as impossible and was told by a senior member of staff “ It is actually nearer 125% as we work week-ends unpaid, provide our own food for the children etc”However, FSC agreed to review their appraisal scoring.

FSC senior staff and I went through the whole of BESO’s 2005 report and I was satisfied that all of their recommendations had been addressed. But, I am not from a specialist management background and am sure some small issues may have been overlooked or not fully understood by me. If FSC ever have the funds for a further management audit, this may be worth considering.

It is true that FSC Board are not that “hands on” or active, but they are very busy in their own careers and bring a good mix of experience to their role. As mentioned in the SWOT analysis, I do not think this is improvable or that it would be worth risking stability by further change.

 

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5. FSC PROJECT OUTLINES AND RECOMMENDATIONS

FSC Project

Recommendations

5.1. Care of the Elderly

Project began in 1998 in Racacuini, scene of the Siret river floods in 1991. It now has two arms, Bacau City and 12 Rural village programmes providing nursing, social and personal support to the elderly sick and infirm and a Day Centre in Bacau providing occupational therapy, rehabilitation and social interaction. The projects have a total of 870 direct beneficiaries. The project also:

  • Delivers accredited training

  • Publishes a newspaper “The Voice of the Elderly”

  • Has a hospital based nurse to asses discharge needs

  • Supplies food and incontinence materials

  • Collaborates with local mayors and social workers

  • Obtains salaries and supplies via the mayors, Law 34 and the Health Insurance House

  • Collaborates with other care providers in Romania, arranges seminars and conferences


  • Continue to press and lobby for state funding with local personnel, mayors, NGO forum etc

  • Consider lobbying at EU level

  • Review hours, distances walked and general conditions for care workers. Can anything be done to improve their pressure of work related to time available?

  • Publicity: if Bacau City Mayor declines funding consider press coverage

  • VEHICLES: heavily dependent on vehicles for Co-ordinators and mayors’ staff. ? consider a vehicle appeal

5.2. Glue Clubs

A dynamic programme started in 2006 for children at risk in Bacau city and poor rural communities. They provide for 461 children and their families with 11 families receiving social care and counselling:

  • Education, art, music, song and dance, IT skills

  • Health promotion

  • Parenting programmes

  • Homework clubs

  • Handicrafts, games, sports and fun generally

  • Summer camps

  • High school educational grants and accommodation (107 children with several graduating from university)

  • Programmes for children with disabilities since 2012

  • Theme clubs and language classes

  • Help with school uniforms

  • Healthy, snack meals

  • Showers

… and much more

 

  • Podu Turcului: needs a football pitch and has the land which needs draining etc. Consider approach to the local building business tycoon

  • A very successful project with well motivated staff but is future funding secure? Could FSC again lobby for state funding from the mayors’ budgets to provide staff salaries?

  • Continue to review the underused computer rooms

5.3. Mobile Health Care Legacy and Community Support

Adapted from the original Mobile Health Centre 1992 onwards which developed to support local Romanian doctors and nurses and provided a Mobile Pharmacy 2004 – 2009, family planning etc. Most communas now have their own doctors and pharmacies as a result of RFFR and FSC’s past actitivites. The project trained local Community Workers who are now employed by rural mayors and now co-ordinate the Care of the Elderly teams. They acted as partners for local mayors in various EU grants e.g. for the Glue Clubs buildings.

Legacy and current services:

  • Community transport for children, sick and elderly

  • Home Care of the Elderly in 4 communities

  • Liaison, collaboration and support with/to Community Social Workers

  • Glue Clubs” in 4 communities supporting poor families and children (separate report)

  • Summer Schools associated with the “Glue Clubs”

  • High School and University Scholarships for children from poor families (separate report)

 

  • Check disabled access at the Huruiesti Dispensary (RFFR funded). Access was very poor up many steps. Letter written to the Mayor by Edward Parry in September 2013.

5.4. Mosaic Project and Centre

The Mosaic Centre houses FSC offices, a Glue Club and the Mosaic Workshop.

The Mosaic project is part of the fund-raising, income generation and PR departments of FSC. They make and sell artwork, cards and handicrafts. In 2012 they raised 23,702 Euros most sales being at Easter, Mothers’ Day and Christmas. They promote merchandise with a catalogue, monthly newsletter to 3,000 and an online shop. They use project beneficiaries to make some items which is a good inclusivity tool.

 

  • A very successful start which needs to develop

  • Consider making larger, items from wood e.g. painted children’s furniture which would make more money (loads of information on the internet)

  • Consider expert advice on making and marketing items

5.5. Volunteer Programme

Operating since 2004 this prize-winning programme has at the time of reporting 280 well-trained and supervised volunteers serving 3,723 beneficiaries in 31,326 hours of work for the year. They help in all projects, particularly the summer camp. Please see full report for details.

 

  • (Quote from JS report)

I can only class this Volunteer Project as an inspirational 5 star success with very positive ramifications for the future. I did not detect any particular threats, weaknesses or procedural problems and have no recommendations for any improvements.”

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6. OTHER PROJECTS

Non-FSC Project

Recommendations

6.1. Vali Racila and Gasteni

Vali Racila and Dr Necula at Gasteni have been seminal agents for change in the field of adults with disability in Romania alongside many years of specialist input from Mary Turner, Muzika, Impart and others. They have been pioneers in helping to change attitudes towards and opportunities for adults with physical and mental disability.

Vali now works as a peripatetic Arts Teacher in three institutions and a centre for blind children in Bacau.

Vali has been funded by RFFR for many years. He remains something of a loose canon which contributes to his success in manipulating rigid state systems.

The current set-up, workshops, theatre etc at Gasteni is fantastic and a far cry from the days when naked residents were hosed down with cold water.

Quote from Lenuta Nastac on the success of IMPART training and its use in institutions:

The most important thing was Dr Necula who changed attitudes. He had the courage and strength to take on 4 staff and have a special room designed and this was a very important example. At the beginning, there was ONLY Dr Necula.”

 

  • More of the same as Edward would say

  • JS to forward videos of Gasteni workshops and theatre performance

  • JS offered article on Gasteni for Impreuna magazine. FSC please follow-up if appropriate

  • Make more use of Adrian Tabol who needs a new computer. He is desperate to be of more help. I have a testimonial/request from Adrian (Appendix iv) He could perhaps edit Gasteni video clips for uploading onto RFFR website?

6.2. The Budimex Hospital – Ozana Ilie

Over the years, RFFR have run many programmes at the Budimex, Co-ordinated by Dana Condrea. (As outlined in the project report).

Ozana Ilie has worked for RFFR for 10 years as a paediatric psychologist specializing in the support of children suffering from terminal illness and/or surgery – and their families.. Ozana originally started with RFFR as a Play Therapist but has developed this role as the playrooms disappeared owing to pressure on bed numbers.

 

  • The work is very stressful and Ozana is somewhat isolated. She would benefit from some volunteer help which perhaps Dana Condrea could organize and monitor

  • On asking if the hospital could fund her role and more like it, I was told an emphatic “no” but could this nevertheless be pursued?

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7. THE LEGACY OF FORMER RFFR PROJECTS

Former Project

Recommendations

7.1. Mobile Health Care and Mobile Pharmacy

See 5.3

 

7.2. Casa Pistruiatul

Operational 1998 – 2008. FSC now focus on early intervention in the Glue Clubs, scholarships and community support programmes.

See separate report

No recommendations

7.3. Tuberculosis update

I did not review this project or meet any former personnel. However, I note that Dr Lucica Ditiu who was funded by RFFR for some years and who was so effective in helping Romania’s National TB project and in obtaining large grants from the World Bank etc is now Executive Secretary of the WHO “STOP TB PARTNERSHIP” in Geneva. See www.stoptb.org

One presumes this is a good thing!

 

 

 

8. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

I can confirm that all of FSC’s management and project works are carried out and monitored to a very high standard. Apart from the minor adjustments and recommendations made in the Project Summaries, I was made aware of no causes for concern other than:

  • Future funding
  • The vehicles situation
  • The Home Carers who, though very dedicated, were feeling justifiably overworked and lowly paid

I found to the best of my abilities, that BESO’s recommendations had been implemented.

One of my fist questions at the briefing meeting with FSC was “What is the state doing to train and provide health and social services outside hospital (which is known as secondary care). The answer “ NOTHING”.

My final recommendations are:

  1. That whatever difficulties face the RFFR, if they can continue some support to FSC it would be more than worthwhile in enabling what is probably the best community based charity in Eastern Europe to continue its pioneering work. It would be such a waste of past investment to see this wonderful work wither and die though I realise there must be an endpoint sometime

  2. That FSC continue to lobby for state funding together with their active partners

  3. Gabi Achihai would be willing to lobby at European level about the lack of state provision for primary health and social services but she would need advice, help and support.

  4. That “somebody” urgently considers a vehicle appeal. I have approached my brother about this with no success but if Gabi were to do so, she may have more luck.

  5. Social Media: I know little about this but feel more use could perhaps be made of Facebook, Twitter etc

  6. Ken said that the shop staff would really value some more information on the work in Romania

  7. Gabi wondered about having a “Romanian Corner” in the RFFR shops whereby FSC could send some handicraft articles, pictures etc.

  8. That RFFR/FSC consider approaching Channel 4 Dispatches programme to see if they would be interested in doing a follow-up to their previous item that featured the MHC project

Finally, thank you so much to Edward and the RFFR Board for enabling this visit. I am only sorry that a very difficult year has led to such delayed reporting.



Julia Smyth
2 July 2014



APPENDIX I: List of FSC awards and prizes

Awards FSC Projects 1 Awards FSC Projects 1
Awards FSC Projects 1 Awards FSC Projects 1
  • 2003: Awarded “Best practice model in child protection” (USAID and Prochild)  for outstanding work in strategic planning
  • 2004: Accreditation by Open College Network for Impart training (Combined Art Techniques)
  • 2005: “Human solidarity” award for the Mobile Pharmacy project and short listed “Network of Community Workers” at the Civil Society Gala, Bucharest
  • May 2005 FSC was awarded the Status for Public Utility by Government decision
  • 2006: awarded “Best sustainable project for the street children” by FONPC (Federation of NGOs in Child Protection)
  • 2007: Awarded for best Volunteers Project by national People for People Gala of AmCham (American Chamber of Commerce) and ARC.
  • 2007: awarded “Best programme for youth” by FONPC (Federation of NGOs in Child Protection)
  • 2008: big winner of the national televised contest “Respect for the Future”, organised by Petrom
  • 2009: FSC wins at the  ERSTE Foundation  Awards for  Social Inclusion
  • 2010: First prize for the project “Integrated Services for Rural areas” at the National Civil Society Gala in Bucharest
  • 2010: First prize at the national contest Gala Awards for Education organised by Dinu Patriciu Foundation
  • 2011: Best Impact Project-for the Integrated services for the elderly at the National Civil Society Gala in Bucharest
  • 2011: Best Sustainable Project- for the Glue Club-integrated educational services for the children at the National Civil Society Gala in Bucharest
  • 2012: Best Fundraiser at People for People Gala organised by AMCham
  • 2012: Best coordinator of the volunteers at the National Gala of the Volunteers organised be Volum Federation

APPENDIX II: Simtex Management Systems certification

Management Certification

APPENDIX III: Request from Adrian Tabol

Adrian Tabol

My name is Adrian Tabol and I was born in 1961 in a little village called Vladomira, comuna Trifesti in Iasi County. When I was 2 years old, I was diagnosed with a severe illness. 7 years later my parents thought I would receive better care in a specialized institution in Siret, Suceava County.

Time passed and after a while, I came here. Throughout the years, I have dreamt of owning a computer but this was never possible due to financial aspects. Fortunately, with the help of Doamna Julia, Mrs. Julia from England, I received my first computer. In the beginning, I would draw in Paint and play video games. Vali Racila’s arrival at our center was a blessing for us all, especially for me. He took the time and patience to teach me more advanced skills on the computer and we started with text editing in Word. I used to take care of the texts they needed at Gasteni Theatre.

Things started taking off after that and I started video editing thanks to Domnul Edward Parry’s help, who very kindly gave me a new computer. After installing his Pinnacle video capture card on my new computer, Vali would give me video tapes of Gasteni Theatre performances and I would cut and peace together everything into proper DVDs. Meanwhile I started writing articles for a periodical called Impreuna, which I still do. I also work with photographs. Radio responsibilities came along with my technical knowledge and experience and every morning I go to the radio studio here at the center and I prepare the morning’s playlist. After this, I start editing the recordings of the theatre’s shows. I truly believe I have come a long way and because I am so passionate about video editing, I would call myself a professional.

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