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A new challenge for IRI’s network of local initiative groups: reaching out to more community members

A new challenge for IRI’s network of local initiative groups: reaching out to more community members

One of the best tools ever in “the realm” of community mobilization and local democracy is the local initiative group. Open, flexible, passionate, natural, always willing to learn – just some of the advantages in IRI’s view local initiative groups have over other types of community organizing entities.

Institute for Rural Initiatives (IRI) has been working with local initiative groups since 2014 and so far it proved highly effective in 22 communities all over Moldova. In 2019 the program has some 11 new communities joined while helping them to become a civic voice in their communities.

Each initiative group is very unique. However, there are a number of new common challenges the initiative groups face every year. IRI does its best to help and assist the initiative groups to get stronger and more effective in their community mobilization endeavors.

On May 2-3, 2019 at the request of local community leaders IRI organized a training on effective instruments for reaching out to more community members. This activity goes also hand in hand with IRI’s plans of enlarging the 30 current initiative groups so that the group becomes more representative and diverse.

In the first training day the 30 community leaders focused on sharing their current positive achievements. Later, the training took the participants through a self-reflection process and then a group-reflection on the work they do as leaders and also as members of the local initiative groups. Most of the participants found that exercise extremely useful as they were offered a space to reflect on things they somehow knew, but never acknowledged in a conscious way. On that exercise the training got the maximum positive feedback:

“The training exercises made me reflect not only in our teams, but also at a very personal level.” – Victor Caras, training participant.

“Until now I wasn’t really sure that I needed specific communication tools in my local action group, but now I can see it clearly and I am thinking about the way to apply them.” – Liudmila Strahoteanu, participant.

The other two sessions the training focused on some tools of reaching out to their communities, particularly by active use of technology, the role of social networks in reaching out to more people and also strengthening the core initiative groups while improving internal communication and engagement. The training showed the 30 leaders a number of specific issues related to social networks such as the difference between a personal page and a public page, communication in a private vs public group etc. The trainer even created a fake page as a demonstration and challenged the participants to engage critically and also come up with a plan of reaching out to larger community groups via social networks and other communication application such as Viber, Messenger, and WhatsApp.

This is the 3rd national capacity building activity IRI is organizing this year for a number of 30 communities.
This activity is part of the MEM PLUS project, implemented in Moldova by the Institute for Rural Initiatives (IRI) in partnership with Great Lakes Community Action Partnership, with the financial support of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.