Since 2003, FPDL elaborated and developed a complex working methodology in local communities, in which community members are mobilized, involved and made responsible in participatory planning process for the progress of own communities. The first pilot community for which FPDL experts designed and conducted such process is Horezu Town, Valcea County, who represented along the time a best practice example for the involvement of the community members in the formulation of ideas and initiatives for a common future.
Since then up to the present, the FPDL experts have applied this methodology successfully for territories of various size, from small communities, towns and counties to associations of such entities, using the following approach:
- Elaboration of local development plans through participatory processes with the involvement of the community members (representatives / experts of local authorities, public institutions, NGOs, business sector, as well as citizens and community lieders), aiming at defining the common future and strategies to achieve it.
- The participatory planning processes are flexible, depending on the size of the territory and of the complexity of the problems saught to approach in order to be solved, over a period of time between 6 and 12 months.
- The various organizations / institutions and community groups need competent facilitators in order to support them to work efficiently. The support of such facilitators can be realized in 2 modalities successfully used:
- directly, through the FPDL expert facilitators, who have the competency and expertize to design and conduct participatory planning processes.
- through the component of forming and developing the local organizations capacity to design and deliver facilitated participatory planning processes for local development, with local facilitators attending the Training of Facilitators (ToF) program delivered by the FPDL trainers.
- The stages of the participatory planning process for local development:
- Data collection and core planning team identification
- Identifying and attracting the planning team members / local key stakeholders (representatives / experts of local authorities, public institutions, NGOs, business sector, as well as citizens and community lieders) active in various community areas of interest for the local development (economic, social, environment, infrastructure, culture, education, health, etc.).
- Diagnosis of existing situation (major obstacles/problems and opportunities for development) using experts research, interviews, surveys, public meetings and opinion polls
- Diagnosis results dissemination to key local stakeholders
- Raising Awareness activities, such as press conferences, contests (as the drawing contest for the school pupils “My community, when I will grow up”), public events
- Strategic Planning Workshop involving key local stakeholders to draft the Local Development Strategic Plan, where the participants have the chance to learn and gain experience as a result of the working in groups, with the support of a facilitators team (either the FPDL expert facilitators, or the local facilitators) to formulate the vision, the objectives, the strategies and activities for local development.
- Launching the public consultation (through various local sites accessible to the citizens, workshops with local experts on the development areas) of the adjusted and integrated version with the results of the work of the planning team during the strategic planning conference) by the FPDL expert facilitators.
- Consolidation of the final version of the document with the results of the consultation process, by the FPDL experts together with the representatives of the local key stakeholders (mainly local authorities)
- Elaboration of the operational plan, for the first year of implementation, and creation and organization of a local structure / team responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the strategic plan
- Validation and official approval by the responsible local authorities (local council, county council, etc.) of the local development strategy document.
- Training sessions are embedded within and in-between workshops, in order to build common understanding on the key concepts related to sustainable and integrated development, planning and participation. FPDL experienced facilitators manage the group processes: team-building, group communication, group decision-making and problem solving.
- Judetul Vâlcea: Dezvoltare economica locala in 5 comunităţi (orasul Horezu, 2004-2007, 2007-2013, 2014-2020, comunele Măldăreşti, Costeşti, Tomşani, Vaideeni, 2006-2013)
- Judetul Gorj: Dezvoltare economica locala in 3 comunitati (orasul Novaci, comunele Crasna şi Polovragi, 2006-2013)
- Judetul Gorj: Dezvoltare economica si sociala a judetului (2007-2013)
- Judetul Teleorman: Dezvoltare economica locala in 6 comune (Ţigăneşti, Brânceni, Conţeşti, Fântânele, Viişoara, Vităneşti) şi a Strategiei de Dezvoltare Regională pentru Asociaţia de Dezvoltare Intercomunitară a celor 6 comune (2009 – 2013)
- Judetul Valcea: Dezvoltare economica si sociala a judetului (2008-2013)
- Judetul Buzau: Strategia de dezvoltare locală a comunei Cislău, şi asistenţă tehnică pentru elaborarea Strategiilor de dezvoltare locală din alte 8 comune din judeţul Buzău (2007-2013)
- Judetul Gorj: Dezvoltare locala, comuna Bustuchin (2013-2016) si comuna Hurezani (2016-2020)