The CODE Kids – Plan the future of your community! project is developing under the umbrella of CODE Kids – Children are coding in public libraries and aims to create a coding and STEM movement in which children, young people and librarians in rural and small urban areas develop their digital skills and get involved in the life of the community they come from, by solving creative digital topics. Through the training activities and workshops organized, another window is opened to exploring the digital world, with its opportunities for development and learning, so that more than 3,500 children aged 10 to 14 years old are encouraged to be actively involved and even follow a career in technology. Public libraries in 27 counties of Romania are directly involved in its implementation, through the personnel employed and the spaces owned.

Starting with 2021, opportunities are open for the establishment of CODE Kids clubs for any citizen with a civic spirit, coming from any field, who can provide a space or is open to a collaboration with the local public library in his community.

More information here:

Period: January 2018- December 2023|Partners: Romanian-American Foundation, Etic Association, Aspen Romania Institute, public libraries in Romania | Donors: CEZ Vânzare, Societe Generale Global Solution Centre | Budget: 885,000 USD | Details

Ora să ȘTIM (Time to KNOW STEM)

Ora să ȘTIM(Time to KNOW STEM) is a national initiative that aims to stimulate the interest of children in rural areas for reading and other topics in the STEM area (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). The project is implemented with the help of librarians from public libraries located in rural areas in Romania and the Republic of Moldova. They hold Time to KNOW STEM workshops on regular basis, for children aged between 3 to 10 years old. During the workshops, the children listen fascinated to interactive stories and perform small experiments in the STEM area.

The Time to KNOW STEM project is present in over 250 cities in Romania and the Republic of Moldova, most of them in rural areas, and is part of Volunteer Readers international initiative.

Period: October 2018- June 2020| Budget: 77,400 EUR  | Partners: 250 public libraries in Romania and the Republic of Moldova | With the support of: The Association of librarians of the Republic of Moldova (ABRM)OvidiuRoGoethe InstituteBookster | Funder: Deutsche Telekom Stiftung | Details 

Learning circle in libraries

The main objective of the Learning circles in libraries project is to improve and expand the complexity and effectiveness of educational opportunities for adult learners by facilitating access to useful online content, effective study and improvement of lifelong learning abilities.
”The learning circle” is facilitated by a librarian and will take place within public libraries. Free online lessons used in learning circles are used to support digital skills and work / academic skills. This methodology has been designed to mitigate many of the problems faced by students who want to go online, lack of motivation, digital barriers, and social isolation.

Implementation period: September 2018 – August 2021 | Budget: 550,00 USD |Investors: Erasmus +, Action Strategic Partnerships


6 libraries in Romania, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine have started the project “Public libraries as hubs for active citizenship”, implemented by the Progress Foundation, with the support of the Black Sea Trust of Regional Cooperation.

This project aims to create a support network, consisting of public libraries and NGOs, which will support the establishment of public spaces in libraries for the learning and practice of active citizenship. The civic involvement of citizens in the community can lead to significant changes in the way society works. And finally, they can improve people’s quality of life.

Four physical spaces and two online spaces were created to meet the needs of the local community.

Period: February 2020 – February 2021| Funder: Black Sea Trust of Regional Cooperation| Partners: County Library “Antim Ivireanul Vâlcea, Romania; County Library “G. T. Kirileanu ”Neamț, Romania; “IPS A. Plămădeală” District Public Library Hîncești, Moldova; District Library “D. Cantemir ”Ungheni, Moldova; Central Library “Lesya Ukrainka” Lvov, Ukraine; Lugansk Regional Universal Scientific Library, Ukraine | Budget: 25,000 USD | Details

Occupy Library Innovators Hub

The Occupy Library Innovators Hub aims to bring together organizations that help community development through innovative library services, share best practices, and build a support network in the region. Building on existing regional professional library connections, this project contributes to the development of partnerships between CSOs and libraries that will learn about development opportunities, plan systemic interventions to modernize public institutions and ensure long-term sustainability of interventions at community level.

The aim of this effort was to provide support to CSOs and public libraries to effectively contribute to well-being and lifelong learning in their communities through innovative approaches in education and culture projects. Moreover, by implementing the project in 4 countries and creating a community of practice among CSO and library innovators, this project aimed to bring these organizations in the region into a network that works in collaboration with the Working Group for Culture and Education of the Black Sea NGO Forum and which implement joint regional projects.
More information here:

Period: August 2020 – February 2021|Partners: Center for Cultural Management (Ukraine), Association of Libraries of Ukraine (Ukraine), Eduact (Greece), Association of Libraries of Moldova (Moldova), National Library of Moldova (Moldova), Ashoka Romania (Romania), National Library of Romania (Romania) | Funder: Black Sea NGO Forum Sub-granting Scheme For Activities That Support The Development Of CSO Regional Networks”, within the project “Building CSO Capacity for Regional Cooperation within the Black Sea Region” , implemented by the Romanian NGDO Platform – FOND with the financial support of the European Union| Budget: 9,910 EUR | Cost share estimated to: 10,433 EUR | Details


The Occupy Library 2020 online conference brought together innovative ideas that are being implemented in libraries in the regions of Central, Eastern Europe, the Black Sea, the Caucasus and the Caspian regions. The first edition of the conference provided a virtual space for exchanging of best practices and supporting the best ways to involve libraries in their communities.

The main themes of the edition were: Serving communities in times of crisis; Partnerships for strong democracies; Active citizenship in analog and digital format; Emerging technological trends for community empowerment; Public spaces and community involvement.

The 95 speakers from 25 countries provided the 783 participants with examples and innovative ideas through which public libraries support the development of their communities.
More information here:

Period: 22-25 September 2020|Partners: IFLA, Goethe Institute, Next Library, Aarhus Public Libraries, Ashoka Romania, National Library of Romania, ANBPR, Eifl, FRSI, P2PU,  Public Libraries 2030, Wikimedians of Romania and Moldova User Group | Sponsors: Qulto, Solus | Budget: included in Occupy Library Innovators HUB | Details

Școala de Reporteri SDG

Școala de Reporteri SDG project aims to motivate and educate children from rural areas to inform, produce and publish relevant video and audio material for the localities they live in, promoting the 17 Global Objectives from the 2030 agenda.

Thus, they discover what the Global Goals, SDGs are and why are they important to their generation, and promote these goals by making videos and podcasts addressing this topic in an original way. Details can be found on site and Progress Foundation Facebook page.

Implementation period: March 2019-June 2019 | Budget: 47240 Lei | Investors: Co-financed by the European Union and implemented by FINGO (Finland), in partnership with FOND, CROSOL platform and CONCORD.

New Challenge for Public Libraries (New Lib)

Through the New Challenge for Public Libraries (New Lib) project, we aim to create a transnational community formed around active public libraries in the European countries involved, to share good practices in testing the human centered design methodology, in conceptualizing innovative services and in the active involvement of citizens / audience in their creation.

Period: May 2016 – April 2018 | Partners: Consorzio Sistema Bibliotecario Nord Ovest (Italy), Lombardy Region (Italy), University of Milan Bicocca (Italy), Lucio Craveiro Da Silva Library (Portugal), Aarhus Municipality Culture and Citizenship Service (Denmark), Library Iorga county Ploiești (Romania), Progress Foundation (Romania) | Budget: 340 266.08 EUR | Funded by the European Commission under the Creative Europe Program – Culture Sub-Program Details

The third space of the community

The idea proposed by the “The third space of the community” concerns the formation of active citizens and the arrangement in 6 public libraries in the Republic of Moldova, of spaces – nests of democracy – that encourage the learning of civic behaviors, debate local issues and take initiative to solve them. The nests of democracy within public libraries – innovative, modern, made through participatory design, will be spaces for meeting and citizen debate, with free access for all members of the community.

Period: September 2016- August 2017| Partners: Association of Librarians of the Republic of Moldova and Progress Foundation | Budget: 33,584 EUR| “The third space of the community” project is financially supported by Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands within the “MATRA” Program|Details

Third Place for Active Citizenship

Third place for active citizenship (in short, The Third Place) project is financed through EEA Grants 2009-2014, NGO Fund programme. The project goal is to set up a comprehensive system that facilitates citizens’ participation in practicing democracy by forming active citizens, creating spaces that protect and promote democratic values (“democracy nests”) ​​and by conducting integrity audits for local governments.

Period: July 2014 – April 2016 | Budget: 245.884 EUR | Funder: EEA Grants 2009-2014, NGO Fund | Details

Socacitele, the community caterers

According to the tradition of Transylvania villages, the community caterers (socăcițele) are present to all the major events in the village life – weddings, christenings and almsgivings. The objective of the project “SOCĂCIȚELE – Community Caterers” is to contribute to the discovery and promotion of community catering art (socăcit) of the upper Somes Valley, mainly in Feldru, Rebrisoara and Rodna villages from Bistrita-Nasaud County.

Implementation period: 2015-2016 | Budget: 15.000 EUR | Funder: EEA Grants 2009-2014, program PA17/RO13 | Details

Bistrita mea, secretul meu

My secret Bistrita, a winning concept promoted in the framework of the Casa Ema vrea sa te miste project competition, was implemented from June to November 2014. The project goal was to create a collaborative map of the city by collecting selfies made by fellow citizens in various town parts that they’re found of. In other words, the project aimed and succeeded to reveal the subjective (yet wondersful) side of Bistrita, drawing a new map of the town, one marked by memories and emotions.

Period: June – November 2014 | Budget: 800 RON | Funder: Casa Ema

Silver Stories

Silver Stories is a project funded by the European Commission, Leonardo da Vinci Transfer of Innovation program, which follows-up the DigiTales – Extending creative practices project (2011-2012, financed through Grundtvig program) and the national program DigiTales, financed by IREX (2013)The main objectives of the project are to create a new digital storytelling course and to deliver it in 11 county libraries for VET specialists, working with marginalized learners (i.e.: NGO representatives, employees of public institutions social workers, psycho-pedagogues, psychologists).

Period: November 2013 – August 2015 | Budget: 279.014 EUR | Funder: EC, Leonardo da Vinci | Details

Schollar performance no matter the social level

Schollar performance no matter the social level”, a winning project proposal submitted in the RSC competition “Raiffeisen comunitati”, was implemented in the school year of 2013 – 2014 to help 60 students in classes VII and VIII of the Secondary School “Lucian Blaga” University and the Gymnasium No. 7 from Viisoara Bistrita with a specific goal: help them get the best results at the National Assessment in 2014. Students received special tutoring after school for the Romanian Language and Mathematics disciplines. At the same time, teachers from two schools participated in a workshop regarding innovative teaching methods while students were given the necessary training supplies and collections.

Period: 2013 – 2014 | Budget: 28.370 RON | Funder: Raiffeisen, „Raiffeisen Comunitati” | Details


During 2011 and early 2012, Progress Foundation facilitated the participation of 14 librarians from 12 Romanian counties in the digital storytelling training course (DigiTales ToT) organized by Goldsmiths College in the UK. Upon their returning to Romania, the librarian trainers trained in turn seniors in their communities and so we were able to achieve three important goals: preservation of cultural identity in the local communities, digital literacy and and digital inclusion of older persons. Besides this, the project implementation had as a tangible result a collection of over 100 digital stories, all very interesting and exciting.

Period: 2011-2012 | Budget: 20.000 EUR | Funder: EC,  Grundtvig | Details

And the list goes on…

Since its establishment until now, Progress Foundation has developed a lot of projects, locally as well as nationally and internationally. Click here to see our organizational annual report and find out more on our projects in 2020.

  1. Who we are
  2. Our vision
  3. What we do
  4. Our approach

Who we are

We are an experienced Romanian NGO that pilots local initiatives in the field of education/training, (e-)inclusion and community development and then scales it up, at national level, as innovative and impactful best practices.

Our vision

Our vision regarding development is that “small is beautiful” which means that activities or punctual interventions can have a great impact on people and communities. Therefore our motto is: “Small steps, giant leaps“.

In its 18 years of activity, Progress Foundation has implemented and continues to implement projects (local and national) focused on strengthening the local capacity, active citizenship, digital literacy and social innovation, while helping vulnerable groups (Roma, marginalized youth, women, elderly etc.) to develop new skills and become active in their communities.

At the heart of our development approach are the county/local libraries as social hubs for lifelong learning and community centers that connect various social groups, especially the marginal ones.

  • I have worked with Progress Foundation because they are an absolutely reliable partner in our international projects. Participants from Progress Foundation are very well prepared concerning the subject of our cooperation (empowerment of vulnerable groups – girls/women) as well as they are strong personalities to stand for their own position and opinion. At the same time Progress Foundation represents real intercultural learning because of their open minded attitude and capacity to transfer differences into challenging leaning experiences. 

  • I really admire Progress Foundation for its original, courageous and meaningful idea of bringing democracy and civic activities into libraries. Thanks to that libraries become important spaces of POLITICAL CULTURE in their local communities. We keep finger crossed for this project and we look forward to implement it in Poland!

  • Progress Foundation does exactly what they say on the jar. They create a strong foundation to enable progress, whether it be the capacity of organisations to increase or the development of individuals not only to think outside the box, but to create a whole new space. I chose to work with Progress Foundation because of the commitment and passion and professionalism of their team. They understand the landscape in Romania and internationally. I am impressed both by the expertise and skills of their principals and by the resonance and power of their principles.  I look forward to the next opportunity to work with Progress Foundation again.

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