IRI organized a unique event aiming at discussing successful practices and achievements attained within “Minority Empowerment in Moldova”, piloted by IRI with 22 local initiative groups for four years (2014-2018) in partnership with local public authorities, entrepreneurs and specialists in community development in 22 communities from Republic of Moldova. The event was attended by representatives of the 22 initiative groups, mayors, local councilors, entrepreneurs, representatives of the State Chancellery, as well as guests from the USA.
The idea behind the event was to give the participants the opportunity to discuss how the results of the project (practices, lessons learned, success stories, methods, etc.) could be replicated and applied with a maximum impact for the Moldovan society.
“The IRI model of Minority Communities Empowerment is one of the viable models that can be successfully replicated by the Government,” mentioned Valeriu Caldararu, Executive Director of National Association of Community Mediators from Moldova.
Erica Ceka, Chairman of IRI Board, said in her presentation: “We, the citizens, hope that the Government, while developing public policies, will invite citizens to contribute to the process of developing stabile and effective policies. That is why the role of citizens/communities is to unite politicians’ aspirations with the academics theories and create a bridge between civil society: LPA – CPA”.
“The CONTACT Center, same as IRI, works with rural communities through local initiative groups’ empowerment. I do consider that IRI’s mechanism of community empowerment that contributes to certain changes in society, especially in the villages and towns of RM, is worth promoting and supporting by both civil society and citizens,” mentioned Sergey Neicovcen, Director of CONTACT Center.
The event was attended by special guests: Peter Ujvagi, member of Toledo City Council, Ohio, USA, and Dr. Elizabeth Balint, Project Director, WSOS/Great Lakes Consortium, Toledo, Ohio, USA. The guests welcomed the results achieved within the project and emphasized the importance of replicating IRI model by donor community and responsible local and national authorities.
“Although the concept of community empowerment is a new one for Moldova, this public event, attended by both community members, state officials, NGO representatives, LPA, demonstrated the interest of the society for the IRI model of community empowerment through: interaction, dialogue, training, exchange of good practices, mentoring, etc.,” said Peter Ujvagi, member of Toledo City Council, Ohio, USA.
The event is organized by the Institute for Rural Initiatives in Moldova, funded by the U.S. State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor in partnership with WSOS Community Action Commission, Inc.
More photos from the event can be found on the Facebook page of the Institute for Rural Initiatives: