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We celebrate civic initiatives in the Transylvanian Highlands - PACT2020

The Rhubarb Fest, now in its ninth edition, is a good example of an event born from the community for the community. The event was created by Vecinătatea Femeilor din Saschiz, an association formed by the women of Saschiz, a delightfull Saxon village, not far away from Sighișoara, in the heart of the country. Their main goal is to support the rights and interests of women and families at local and micro-regional level. 

Rhubarb Fest brings the community together under the umbrella of gastronomy, equity and multiculturalism.

On the occasion of this festive day that took place on May 7th in Saschiz, Mureș county, the PACT2020 "Transylvanian Highlands - Active partnership model for sustainable developmen” project team had the pleasure to interact with the founders of the Saschiz association, people from the community who were eager to promote their traditions and members of the press.

The project is run by WWF Romania in partnership with the Mioritics Association and Mihai Eminescu Trust Foundation with the financial support of Active Citizens Fund Romania, a programme funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway through EEA Grants 2014-2021. The aim of the project is to transfer knowledge and experience about good governance systems to local communities in the Transylvanian Highlands through the creation of a network of mentors and community leaders that will respond in real-time to locally identified needs.

The day was filled with key moments such as a presentation by Mihaela Frățilă, Community Development Specialist - WWF Romania, about the interaction with various initiatives and active citizens in the 10 communities we work within the Hârtibaciu Plateau.

"We have collected examples of active communities that are at various stages of citizen involvement and empowerment, from blossoming ideas to years of collaboration between citizens and local authorities. These,  alongside simple and motivating explanations of what a sustainable community means, have been the foundation of a digital and printed guide. Weuse this material in our discussions with the people of the Transylvanian Highlands and show them how they can follow these good practices." says Mihaela.

The Transylvanian Highlands partnership brings together 11 associations and local action groups with the aim of promoting and supporting sustainable development in this culturally and naturally valuable region. Through the PACT2020 project the partnersgip is consolidating itself as an important pillar in the regional decision making process and to benefit the communities and nature of this area..

"By working together with many experienced and open-hearted people, we manage to be where we are really needed. We listen to people and go into communities where we discuss their problems on the spot. Now, for example, we are gathering information on infrastructure, equity, environment protection, services, economy, community cooperation, which will be used concretely in the next step of the project", says Luminița Tanasie, Communication and Education Specialist, Mioritics Association.

Before indulging in rhubarb pies, we listened with interest to Ursula Radu Fernolend, representing our partners from the Mihai Eminescu Trust Foundation, who talked about the information and education process that the 150 people from the 10 communities in Brasov, Sibiu and Mures counties will follow in the next months of the PACT2020 project.

"The processes through which citizens can ensure good local governance for sustainable development are unfortunately unclear or unknown. This is where we come in and try to provide them with all the necessary information to ease the bureaucratic process and facilitate lucrative activities in the community", Ursula Radu Fernolend informs us. "How do I formulate a petition? How can people and local authorities respond together to the needs of the community? How do I preserve traditional and natural values, but evolve and have a good living standard? These are valid questions and starting points, and we believe the journey will be a useful and beautiful one that connects us to each other and to this unique place in the world." Ursula adds.

With the PACT2020 project, we are putting another brick in the Transylvanian Highlands eco-destination which can only thrive if the pieces of this puzzle come together in harmony, more precisely, if people understand how they can organise and cooperate to build a healthy and prosperous present and future in harmony with nature.

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