Building bridge(s) in Blaj, Romania

2 years after the end of ROMACT process in Blaj, we are still getting news about improvements and about the good use of investments made based on the plans and projects developed with the inputs and support of our Programme. Among the measures implemented from Blaj Municipal Action Plan for Roma Inclusion, the most symbolic one is the renovation of the bridge over Târnava river, connecting the Roma community settlement with the rest of the city.
The old bridge was dilapidated, implying major risk of accidents. Some parts of the bridge were missing, and one could always dive into the water 15 m down. This issue was presented as a priority by the Community Action Group (CAG) established during the ROMACT process and further included by the municipality in the Action Plan.  
The transformation into a brand-new bridge was funded through the local budget of the municipality which invested 420 000 € and is considered an achievement for the Roma community and the local authorities, an important step towards better local governance and a more inclusive city.
A two years process
ROMACT was implemented in Blaj from July 2016 to March 2018.  
Besides the mobilization, planning and support for local participation of the Community Action Group established during ROMACT, several training sessions were organized to build the capacity of its members on different topics including, for instance, on community development, fundraising and on how to set up a local NGO. In parallel, representatives of local authorities were introduced to the participatory elaboration of a Joint Action Plan and deepened their practical knowledge on applying for EU structural funds. All this led to the creation of a municipal Action Plan aiming to improve the situation of the Roma, Plan which was adopted by the Local Council in November 2016.
Joint achievements
In Blaj, ROMACT contributed to enhancing the cooperation process between local stakeholders, including the Roma community, leading to the implementation of several measures benefitting the most vulnerable citizens, such as:
* an awareness campaign on school dropout;
* the development of a water and sewage network in Plopilor area;
* the employment of two school mediators, a Romani language teacher and a health mediator;
* the employment of 70 vulnerable citizens by the Waste Management company under Municipal authority;
* the improvement of the infrastructure (water / asphalt, animal market etc.) on the Targului area;
* implementation of several community cleaning actions;
*  the asphalting of Ciufud area roads and the building of a recreational sports center.


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