The Institute for Rural Initiatives held an exceptional event – “Citizen Participation market: new models of inclusion through civic engagement”, edition II, and introduced the IRI model of inclusion through civic activism. The model was piloted by IRI for over 3 years in partnership with WSOS/GLC, NW Ohio, U.S., sponsored by the U.S. State Department, Bureau of Democracy.
The need for a new approach on the effective inclusion of minority groups issues emerged as a response to the absence/ineffectiveness of inclusive policies promoted in Moldova.
The fair “sold” “ideas and solutions for inclusive community development and civic activism to stakeholders attending the event as an opportunity to highlight the crucial importance of civic initiatives at the local level.
Over 100 people of diverse backgrounds attended the event: representatives of government, parliament, embassies, local and national NGOs, private sector, diplomatic corps, international organizations and media. The event started with an improvised “market” put together by representatives of the 22 initiative groups. Guests benefited of this opportunity to get more familiar and talk to people from the grassroots, directly involved in putting ideas into practice.
“I have been told for many years how difficult it is to develop the Republic of Moldova, but the success stories we witnessed today, proved that it is possible and how it is possible. IRI’s community development model must be supported and multiplied in as many communities as possible throughout Moldova,” mentioned Antonio Polosa, IOM Moldova chief of mission (International Organization for Migration).
The event was welcomed by civil society activists and opinion leaders, including representatives of the Parliament and local public authorities.
In his speech, Valeriu Prohnitchii, UNDP Moldova, one of the speakers at the event, talked about the alarming exodus of the population from rural areas of the country and the importance of revitalization of Moldova through the valorization of community interaction networks, value chains and “knots of prestige ” existent in rural areas.
Several community leaders coming from 22 communities involved in the implementation of the project shared their experiences in a separate panel, coming up with suggestions to replicate the IRI model at a national level.
“It is important to strengthen community development efforts. We have no right to stop after we’ve gone that far,” said Anna Ciornaia, community facilitator from Maramonovca village, Drochia rayon.
In 2018 the Institute for Rural Initiatives (IRI) aims to organize a new edition of the Citizen Participation market in order to convince state authorities and international community of the importance of such projects that promote civic activism in Moldova, especially in rural communities of the country.
Several media agencies covered the event/communities involved in the project:
More photos from the event can be found on the Facebook page of the Institute for Rural Initiatives: