On November 1st, in Chisinau there was held the first Rural Youth Congress from the Republic of Moldova. The event brought together 107 participants from 35 rural communities across the country. The purpose of the event was to promote at national level the concept of inclusive civic activism among youth from rural areas as well as to motivate young people to become more active on the local level, in their communities’ life.
For one day, young activists, state officials, LPA representatives, youth experts, representing 16 districts from the Republic of Moldova discussed about the successes and challenges in the youth sector including aspects related to practical mechanisms of implementing, at the local level, the existing public policies in the youth sector. Especially, the young people discussed about the beneficial impact of the non-formal initiative groups activity and how these groups made positives changes at community level.
The first session of the Congress was entitled “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”. Within this session a number of six active young people presented their stories in which they spoke about successes and challenges they faced when they started certain civic initiatives following the ProCivic and IntegrACT Academy trainings organized by the Institute for Rural Initiatives (IRI) and its partners. In this way, the young panelists encouraged the participants in the Congress to be civically active in their communities while mobilizing other young people in making a difference in their communities.
During the second session the young delegates were divided into several groups where they discussed various dimensions of youth sector and identified ideas that can turn into solutions. The ideas where presented in plenary by the group moderators.
One of the generic conclusions of this workshop was that young people from rural areas have huge potential and that active rural youth can save the country from socio-economic stagnation and decay by the means of civic engagement and participation in decision making processes at the local level. Both Congress sessions were followed by a Q&A panel in which other youth in the room asked questions or commented on a particular subject raised by the speakers.
The Rural Youth Congress was innovative in the way that it was not intended to be an expert-level event that addresses prescriptively to young people. It was rather a meeting of young people from different rural communities of Moldova who were given an opportunity to make their voice heard, an opportunity to present their own experiences and challenges in the process of implementing different initiatives at local level, an opportunity to hear motivational stories and tips for further involvement. The organizers noted all the solutions identified by the young people will direct them to the relevant government decision-makers and other stakeholders.
Both the discussion panels and the workshops have in essence facilitated an exchange of ideas and experience between various groups of young people from the country who interacted by discussing a series of positive practices / common challenges and identifying possibilities for future cooperation.
The next edition of the Rural Youth Congress will take place in the fall of 2020. Organizers are open for partnerships while organizing the second edition of this event.
The event was organized by the Institute for Rural Initiatives (IRI) as part of the project “IntegrACT Amplify: rural youth empowerment” within the 2019 Grant Program for Youth Organizations of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research of the Republic of Moldova and of the “Sustainable Community Partnerships to Support the Rights of Persons Belonging to Minorities in Republic of Moldova” project, implemented by Terre des hommes Moldova (Tdh) in partnership with the Institute for Rural Initiatives (IRI) with the financial support of the European Union.
The General Media Partner of the event was TVR Moldova.
More photos from the event can be found on the Facebook page of the Institute for Rural Initiatives (IRI):