A global pandemic with significant impact on everyone’s lives is a new experience for the 21st Century. This experience provides the opportunity for states, public institutions, political leaders, the private sector, media, and civil society to react and demonstrate resilience. Given the context of a general crisis, all sectors act in parallel, aiming to contain the threats posed by the pandemic, as well as by the emergency measures which bring a significant impact on social, economic, and cultural life.
In the Romanian case, civil society proved active and proactive in two key directions. First, a high level of resources was mobilized and invested in reinforcing the health infrastructure (medical equipment) and the functioning of hospitals and GP offices (protective gear, disinfectants, etc.). Second, NGOs, alongside local authorities, play a critical role providing support to vulnerable groups, engaging a high number of volunteers, as well as supplies and care.
Several relevant questions arise: how did the Romanian civil society manage to mobilize? What factors contributed to enabling certain organizations to contribute? What contributed to the success of their fundraising campaigns and to their ability to mobilize volunteers? How did these organizations adapt to the crisis and what are their sustainability prospects? How did they relate to the hospitals and other institutions relevant in the crisis context? What were the resources used for and where did the resources go? Are there parts of the country that remain less attended? Why?
Organized and impactful civic action tells us that there is a growing level of social capital in Romanian communities and of networking and connectivity among civil society organizations. In addition, we see a growing number of channels of collaboration opened between CSOs and public institutions, which prepares the ground for more cross-sector collaboration. At the same time we see an increase in generosity (both in terms of volunteering and donations) which underscore a growing trust in civil society and philanthropic infrastructure and a growing level of empowerment among community members who become aware that their actions matter and become also knowledgeable on how to meaningfully invest their time to affect social change.
This project is going to present a series of analysis on the above-mentioned questions, aiming to provide a thorough understanding of the way civil society reacted to the COVID-19 crisis and contributed to its mitigation.
Lev Fejes, Ph.D.
Silvia Fierăscu, Ph.D.
Ștefan Cibian, Ph.D.
Departments: Research Department, Policy and Outreach Department, Society, Crisis and Resilience Program; Young Researchers Club
Topics: Civil society, Philanthropy and Local Development, Civic Engagement
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