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Prietenii Pamantului (Galati)

Prietenii Pamantului (Earth Friends) works to raise public awareness of environmental issues and build the capacity of local environmental and community-based organisations to mount effective local programmes. It also works in partnership with public authorities to help elaborate strategies and policies for sustainable development, and helps stimulate citizens’ initiatives, including implementation of Agenda 21 and the development of Local Action Plans.

PP was established in 1991 by a initiative group of 21 individuals. It has a small core team and a large network of volunteers and consultants. It has an office in Galati, a major industrial city on the edge of the Danube Delta. It has the experience gained in 18 years to contribute to policy questions on national and international level, to involve different stake holders in development of planning and action for sustainable development, to work with schools and implement small scale practical energy solutions.

Over the years PP has carried out over 55 information, education and training projects, including training of trainers. It works primarily in Romania, but also neighbouring Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Moldova, Serbia-Montenegro and Ukraine. It is especially interested to encourage and support practical grassroots initiatives that build understanding and improve communication, and encourage public participation in local decision-making on environmental issues. It is working both in rural and urban communities. Twelve of the 70 or so school projects that PP has run (with PI) over the years have won first prize in local competitions organised by The Department of Education.

It helps mobilize teachers to organize extracurricular activities with impact on local communities, and train young people for sustainable development. Its techniques involve ‘learning by doing’ and hands-on ‘do it yourself’. It also works to strengthen the institutional capacity of newly registered environmental and community-based NGOs. And it aims to promote best practice in the field of environmental protection and resources conservation. It is the first Romanian NGO involved in developing the DIY system of work in the field of energy efficiency and use of renewable energy in houses.

Camelia Zamfir working with students from a school in Ciughes, high in the Carpathian Mountains.
Ion Zamfir showing students how to make a solar panel.

PP is running a major community development project in one rural community (Brusturoasa in the Carpathians) which is helping build local capacity to tackle deep-seated social and environmental problems. It works closely with foreign partners: it has had a long association with PI, and is also working since 2007 with Norges Naturvernforbund Norway in the field of education for sustainable energy in the framework of SPARE project.

PP is affiliated to a number of national and international networks and working groups on education (ECOFORUM), public participation (enforcement of the Arhus Convention), and on energy. It is on the board of Romanian Climate Action Network – RAC-RO, and is core member of the International Network for Sustainable Energy INFORSE since 1993.

Contact: Ion Zamfir & Camelia Zamfir
Address: Strada Portului, Bloc Siret 4, scara 7, ap 109, 800025 Galati, Romania
tel/fax: [+40] 36 462564 e-mail: earthfriends@clicknet.ro