The Rojc Alliance

Savez udruga Rojc [SUR]

At this conference Alliance Rojc is represented by Dušica Radojčić. Her position in the organization is not determined yet. She is amongst the originators of the idea of the Rojc NGO Alliance and the civic-public institution “Rojc City”.

Gajeva 3, HR – 52100 Pula, Pula, Croatia
Contact: Dušica Radojčić

social/community center (art, culture, but also other fields)

non-profit association / NGO, to be established in 2011 by NGOs in different fields (Alliance Rojc – SUR is in the process of formal establishment, with registration expected in March 2011; it comprises NGOs with their premises in the Rojc building, the city of Pula’s NGO centre where a total of 104 associations are located)

Alliance Rojc is a network of NGOs located in the Rojc Social Centre which gathers and represents them, stands for their interests, fosters mutual cooperation and actively works in the community. Its goals are to build a distinctive network based on collaboration and joint programs; to improve the management of the Rojc Social Centre based on participative public-civic joint management; to contribute and work in the community and actively promote the need for collaboration, principles of solidarity, and respect for diversity.

Alliance Rojc - Social Centre Rojc, ex barracks, 16.739 m2, ground plan surface

Decision-making: The Assembly of all network members will be the highest governing body. The Alliance Rojc will have a President, 2 Vice-Presidents, and a Management Board consisting of 7 members. The President and Vice-Presidents are also members of the Management Board. Their work is monitored by the Assembly.

Organizational openness: SUR will be a network open to all NGOs located in the Rojc Social Centre. Its representativity will not be based on the number of association members but on ability to represent their common interests and to organize common activities and projects. Initially, the core group of 15-20 organizations is responsible for lobbying other Rojc NGOs for “entry”. After the initial phase, SUR remains open for membership to all Rojc NGOs.

Venue/s / resources: The Rojc Social Centre is located in Pula city centre, in a building named after the 2nd World War hero Karlo Rojc. It is the biggest building in town with a surface area of 16.739 m2 meters (rectangular shape, internal courtyard, 4 floors). Built in 1870 under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it was a military school under the Habsburgs, Italy and Yugoslavia until 1976, when it became a barracks. The Yugoslav Army left Rojc in 1991. In the early 1990s, the building hosted war refugees; the first squatters – civil society associations – entered when they left in the late 1990s. The Town of Pula decided to formalize the existing situation in 1999 and signed the first “utilization contracts” with squatters. Today all 104 organizations have regular utilization contracts with no financial obligations toward the Town of Pula other than electricity bills. The history of the building in Croatian language:

Spaces in the Rojc building belong to one of the following categories/functions: production and rehearsal (studios, laboratories, movies…); sport and recreation; offices; presentations; workshop-conferences; clubs; warehouse; service areas. The spaces may be used individually or in common, permanently or temporarily. Many artists or groups use the Rojc premises for their activities.

Alliance Rojc - Social Centre Rojc, one of the numerous hallways

Budget: Alliance Rojc has no resources at the moment except the people engaged in its foundation and, indirectly, the resources of their organizations. The maintenance of the building is funded by the Town of Pula and the annual budget is approximately €200,000.

Gathering citizens:
The Rojc organizations gather citizens around various activities – each organization on its own, and sometimes jointly. In 2010, they have organized 5 joint events which have attracted significant public attention and numbers of citizens: (1) planting linden trees around Rojc (collecting money among the Rojc associations, and a joint planting action); (2) Action for Rojc – a (successful) protest against the Town of Pula’s decision to transform a huge square in front of Rojc, which belongs to the Centre, into a fee-charging parking lot; (3) a public debate in cooperation with the Architects’ Association of Istria about the intention to transform the external square into a parking lot; (4) an urban garden project in the Rojc green area; (5) a Christmas flea market in the Rojc corridors.

104 NGOs located in Rojc offer the local community numerous activities and programs. The average daily number of visitors to Rojc is approximately 1000. Rojc is recognized as the town’s independent culture, sport, and social activities centre.

The Rojc Social Centre is the premises of 104 NGOs, which mainly belong to the art and culture field, followed by sport and recreation, children and young people, social and health care, technical culture, and other organizations. At the moment it is managed by the local public administration (Town of Pula), but the intention is to develop a new and more effective management form – a hybrid public-civic institution (“Rojc City”). The first steps toward this new hybrid form have already been taken, and the important step of establishing Alliance Rojc is expected not later than March 2011.

The Town of Pula finances the maintenance of the building with approximately €200,000 per year (night and day doorkeepers, cleaning service, building renovations, water). Users pay electricity bills only, with use of the premises free of charge. The problem or deficiency is that there is no actual “management”, no strategic thinking about the Centre, no vision of its future, only the provision of building maintenance and ensuring of essential safety, technical, and hygienic conditions. The Town has reacted positively to the idea of improving the management through a joint public-civic institution, which is currently under discussion and conditions are being negotiated.

Alliance Rojc - Linden trees planting, march 2010

Advocacy / activism: One of the SUR’s goals is to actively contribute to community life by commenting on or reacting to current social and public policies related to civil society organizations.

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