We are asking for solutions that resolve the issues of waste management and safe drinking water for fishermen refuges in the Danube Delta in an eco-friendly manner, improving working conditions for fishermen and offering access basic facilities for them, their families and for the tourists that use the refuges when visiting Danube Delta.

Access to basic services, such as piped water and sewage is lower in the villages from the Delta than in the rest of the country. Due to limited accessibility to Tulcea city, waste management is not done accordingly, with low waste collection rate, low recycling rate, and infrequent and high waste transportation costs between Tulcea and the Delta. This is why normal systems do not work and why centralized solutions do not exist. Locals are using alternatives that are more cost effective, but do not use any treatment.

Because the main activity of locals is fishing, followed by tourism and agriculture, the population living in the Delta spends a large amount of time in the wetlands where basic resources are completely missing. Fishermen have built refuges in order to create some basic work condition for themselves, but they do not have drinkable water or any type of waste water management and solid waste management.
Due to harsh conditions, most young people chose to leave the Delta, resulting in the ageing of the general population. Through this challenge, the Association addresses the issue of inadequate working conditions for fishermen in the Delta, in order to reduce depopularisation in the region. However, it is also important to not forget the importance of protecting the natural spaces.

Danube Delta is the best preserved delta in Europe, with large protected areas. Due to its ecological significance, the economic and social challenges faced by the area require a special strategy in order to guide sustainable development in the region.


The challenge is located on the wetlands and banks of the Danube Delta.
Getting into the Delta is difficult - access is provided mostly by water, making waste water management and solid waste management in its localities difficult. Safe water supply is also limited. The situation is worse in the wetlands. The target group of the challenge is represented by fishermen, their families and tourists. Fishing and tourism are the main activities for locals. They built refuges along their trails, on the banks of lakes, ponds and channels, but they lack access to drinkable water or other facilities. The fishermen spend many hours a day on the wetlands, fishing or in their refuges. Members of the families and tourists use these refuges, occasionally.

Our Association aims to improve living standards in the Delta, while observing ecological standards and natural ecosystems. Is already developed a successful pilot-project of pescatourism (a specific form of eco-tourism).


The mission of the Association is to offer the Delta and its inhabitants the attention they need in order to preserve their traditions and protect a pristine habitat.  
It has 7 years of experience in working with the local communities. It conducted projects whose direct beneficiaries are fishermen, as well as projects that shows the Association’s dedication towards sustainable and ecological development. It worked closely with local and regional actors in order to produce sustainable development in the area. Revitalising traditions and identifying viable elements can represent the premises for generating social changes that impact individuals and communities.
The  “champion” for the challenge is Ivan Patzaichin, president of the Association. Born and raised in the Danube Delta, he is a person well known and liked by locals. They respect him, see him as an example, and recognize the work he has done in order to help them.


The area is surrounded by water and access is difficult. Traditional water purification and / or waste management infrastructure solutions are not applicable. We also aim to preserve the environment, hence we need an innovative, ecological approach to deal with waste and provide access to clean water.
The solution must include eco-friendly technologies applicable all year round (considering the fact the Danube freezes for over 4 months a year, during which the Delta is isolated). They need to be easy to administrate, cheap and to require minimum maintenance (one or two revisions per year). They have to equip the existing refuges, in order not to disrupt the ecosystem. The refuges are designed for families and can shelter a maximum of six persons.


We are ready to support the selected solution proposals with the expertise we have acquired during the years we worked in the Delta in order to help the locals to lead a more sustainable life. Being one of the poorest area in the country, the Delta has much lower access to basic services than other areas, and the Association has been constantly working on reducing the gap. Therefore, it enjoys the locals’ confidence and it can use it as a leverage to provide consultancy and coaching. Due to its frequent interactions, the Association will be able to provide pro-bono coaching in the implementation of the solutions. During the implementation of its previous projects the Association has established a network of people and entities that can be brought onboard.
We will support the solutions by promoting them through its channels (website, social media and other good media coverage).
Moreover, we are in a position to provide access to one of the refuges, to be used as a pilot for the project. It will be an illustration of how the traditional and modern solutions can work together in order to solve the problems of the area.
After verifying the success of the applied solutions, they can be transposed in the refuges built by fishermen. The Association will support the solution providers in drafting the hand-over materials to facilitate the transition.


The challenge complies 100% with the ethical standards of the project agreement and does not raise any ethical issue at societal level.