Reality Check

Reality Check is a Romanian non-profit organization and one of the beneficiaries of The Alex Fund.

Reality Check’s mission is to support programs and public policies that are smart, with impact, designed for citizens, and are applied correctly and efficiently. The organization’s main field of expertise is social inclusion of the most impoverished children and their families.

Reality Check has two strategic directions:

1. Direct interventions in some of the poorest communities in Romania. After working for many years in extremely poor communities, the Reality Check team knows that the path to have a real impact is through long-term integrated projects with a focus on education, developed in partnership with local authorities. The organization currently works in two poor villages: Ponorâta, Maramureș County, and Castelu, Constanța County. Through our interventions we facilitate children’s access to education (food coupons conditional on attendance, hot meals, educational camps, sports activities, remedial education), help them form stronger communities, and provide immediate relief in critical aspects of their lives (such as education, health, housing). This first-hand experience helps us document and inform public policy design at national level, as well as educate public employees and wider audiences about the implications of poverty and possible solutions to address it.

2. Monitoring and evaluating relevant laws and national programs (particularly in the field of anti-poverty) that are improperly implemented, by formulating recommendations for improvement and by working with public authorities and NGOs to increase their impact. We do this because many programs and public policies look great on paper, but at grassroots level they limp. Sometimes, they limp badly. And in Romania, there are very few organizations that have the interest, the time and the resources to monitor rigorously what really happens, and to take this knowledge further, in order to improve these programs and policies.
In February 2019, with support from The Alex Fund, Reality Check started to work with public authorities and members of Parliament to improve the Law 248/2015, that incentivizes impoverished children to go to preschool through food coupons conditional on attendance. The law project inspired by Reality Check’s recommendations was voted in the Chamber of Deputies almost unanimously and was promulgated by President Iohannis in April 2020. The recommendations are included in the new Law 49/2020. Approximately 100,000 poor children will be helped annually to attend kindergarten regularly. Reality Check currently works together with public authorities to get the methodological norms done as fast as possible in order for the law to take effect starting January 1st 2021, as planned.

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