Madalina was a finalist Women's Social Leadership Awards | Category Leader in Charitable Organisations and Campaigns 2013
What's your vision, Madalina?
Dignity and solidarity between human beings are the core values that inspire and found my professional as well as my personal life. I believe in a society in which individuals are treated and treat others with dignity and, by doing so, create social ties that generate trust beyond family, profession, ethnicity or private interest. Through the projects which I have initiated and implemented as a civil society professional, volunteer, and citizen, I have aimed to create „more equal” relations between individuals and those in power, either by nurturing dialogue or empowering the former to monitor and hold elected officials accountable, as part of a larger social contract in which those electing and those elected are co-signers. Equally important for living in a society with dignity is equal access to justice. We support justice for those affected by violence, be it perpetrated by other human beings or by the state.How do you create change?
We work at different levels: the individual, small group and community level, and we seek to empower them to change the power relations that are unjust (unfair laws, discriminatory policies, threatening circumstances).
At the same time, we work with local and national authorities and advocate for changes in legislation, such as legislation on human trafficking as part of our human rights campaigns, equal access to information, or easy access to information (open governments).
Our performances so far relate to mobilising thousands of citizens in our prevention campaigns and hundreds in deliberative forums in communities throughout the country.
Our impact is measured by the number of citizens that get involved either online or offline and the extent in which public institutions take into account our suggestions for public policies or changes in the legislation. Quantitatively, our anti-trafficking campaign helped to mobilise 14.000 people in 34 venues in Romania and abroad. During the electoral campaigns, 700 people participated in our 10 deliberative forums, keeping candidates accountable and 3000 visitors were on our platform cineceapromis.ro. Additionally, we have 140 registered volunteers and interns during the year. Another important indicator is the number of organisations that ask us to share our best practices and seek to partner with us in the long term. Also, it is important for us to be asked to participate in the early stages of policy design or drafting and to advocate that our guiding principles and values are comprised in new policies or pieces of legislation.What kind of obstacles have you faced?
The obstacles which we had to avoid or overcome are mainly related to the poverty, lack of opportunities, and lack of information of Romanian citizens combined with the lack of transparency and abuse of power of those in public service. We strive to overcome them by working directly in as many communities as possible and supporting small organisations to monitor and hold those in power accountable. Great importance is given to the use of new technology tools such as mapping, crowd-sourcing, online campaigns
Often in our work, we are in the situation when most learning comes from our beneficiaries that in time become our partners. What is most important is that we keep on learning from the ever-changing realities in the field and base our projects and our interventions on a good and fair understanding of the community without assumptions. I am proud to have been able to learn from failures and be secure enough to share our experience of failure to others as such, without packing it nicely and thus losing the message.More about Madalina's work at Ratiu Foundation for Democracy here