We support the Archdiocese of the Lower Danube in strengthening its role in fighting unemployment and dealing with migration in order to improve the livelihoods of the people in Galati County.
The county of Galati is located in the South East of Romania and borders with the Republic of Moldova. Galati belongs to one of the poorest regions of the European Union and faces the same problems as the rest of Romania, a lack of quality jobs and migration of qualified people.

For decades, the traditional industries in Galati were shipbuilding and steel works. Both these industries have been in a state of decline since the late twentieth century. Galati is no longer a stronghold of shipbuilding as the industry outsourced its production centre to Asia. In addition, back in the days more than 30.000 people of the approximately 540.000 people living in Galati County used to work for the ArcelorMittal steel factory. Due to cost-cutting and restructuring measures the number of employees has dropped over the last two decades and nowadays only 9.000 jobs at ArcelorMittal are left and this number is still decreasing.

This development has a negative impact on the inhabitants, the economic situation in Galati and the future development of the area. As a result of this lack of prospects and also because of the poor infrastructure and the missing connection to Romania’s strong capital a lot of highly qualified people have left Galati.

We realized that focusing merely on market development of certain business sectors is not enough in Galati. We need cross-cutting activities in Galati to address issues such as corruption, lack of self-reliance and lacking cooperation. That is why we are happy to work together with the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of the Lower Danube as the church is a driving force in the Romanian society and enjoys the confidence of the population in Romania.

Over the last two decades the local representation of the church, the Lower Danube Archdiocese, has been building new churches and established a network of social services. Archbishop Dr Casian Craciun and his executive staff strongly support the Galati 2020 initiative with their infrastructure and their connections to social and economic decision makers.

The church will act as a key change agent whose task is to awake the people from their lethargy and to fight against the corruption that is still widespread and accepted among the people in Galati. Furthermore, the church provides the local office in Galati, will actively participate in implementing projects in agriculture and lifelong learning and give support for the acquisition of funds.

The making markets work for the poor (M4P) approach is the underlying methodology of our initiative in Galati. The central idea of the M4P approach is that the poor are dependent on market systems for their livelihoods. Therefore changing those market systems to work more effectively and sustainably for the poor will improve their livelihoods and consequently reduce poverty.[1]

We have used the M4P approach to plan the workshop we conducted in Galati and our sector analyses and we will use it to further specify our sector interventions.

In the course of our first project phase we discussed with decision makers from the church, the local economy and with our experts in Germany and agreed on three different areas of intervention for our project activities: