RurACT Academy – an extra chance for rural communities which have initiatives

The Institute for Rural Initiatives (iRi) announces the successful completion of the RurAct Academy – a mentoring initiative developed in partnership with the American organization Great Lakes Community Action Partnership (GLCAP) designed to exchange experiences and good practices with 8 rural communities it has never worked before.

In July 2020, there was launched a participation competition to identify rural communities eager to learn from the MEM Plus project experience, implemented in 28 rural communities of the Republic of Moldova, to capitalize on the innovative RurAct model developed by iRi and GLCAP in the last 7 years.

Following a public competition, there were selected 8 rural communities that had never previously benefited from iRi services: community of Cotova, Drochia district; community of Obreja Veche, Falesti district; community of Marculesti, Floresti dsitrict; community of Malaiestii Noi, Criuleni district; community of Sudarca, Donduseni district; community of Zgurita, Drochia district; community of Danceni, Ialoveni district, community of Sociteni, Ialoveni district.

Within the RurAct Academy, each of the 8 initiative groups (mayors, LPA representatives, teachers, parents, and entrepreneurs, in total 34 people) had the opportunity to know about the RurAct community mobilization model, the lessons learned by iRi and its partners, but also to learn from the American experience presented by the American experts Deb Martin and Elizabeth Balint.

The training took place online, and the discussions revolved around the idea of cultivating the spirit of initiative at local level that leads consequently to the development of the community. Within the RurAct Academy, the participants requested to discuss about the economic empowerment of the rural communities in the Republic of Moldova, resulting in competitive communities ready to face the new challenges at regional and global level.

“We want to motivate and mobilize our citizens, to cultivate a tradition of participation in our community, but we do not know where to start.” – Sergiu Chetraru, mayor of Marculesti, Floresti district.

The participants received recommendations and guidance taking into account the specifics of each community (resources, geographical location, population, etc.).

The USA experts came up with a number of suggestions and recommendations.

“It is good for local leaders to focus on the resources that already exist in the community. The development of the human sector, such as the development of people’s trust and interaction between them is the most important factor in mobilizing the community. Focusing on the development of the youth sector will directly motivate young people not to leave their communities. And if they leave, they will gladly return home.”

The participants in RurAct Academy benefited from a set of useful materials in the field of community mobilization. More details can be found here.

Following the RurAct Academy, iRi will organize a final event with all participants in order to motivate each other and exchange the lessons learned. iRi will provide logistical support to all 8 rural communities.

The activity is part of the “Minority Empowerment in Moldova – MEM PLUS” project, implemented by the Institute for Rural Initiatives (iRi) in partnership with Great Lakes Community Action Partnership funded by the U.S. State Department.