Institute for Rural Initiatives (iRi) organized a unique event designed to facilitate the exchange of experience between rural communities in the Republic of Moldova. The event (within the program “Minority Empowerment in Moldova – MEM PLUS”) aimed at empowering a number of partner communities by creating opportunities for dialogue and civic interaction. The event was organized by the Institute for Rural Initiatives (iRi) with financial support from the USA Department of State in partnership with WSOS/GLACP in NW Ohio, USA.
Although the event organized on ZOOM platform, it was attended by 65 participants from over 30 rural communities across Moldova representing various initiative groups, LPAs, entrepreneurs, local NGOs. Community development experts and project partners Debora Martin and Elizabeth Balint participated as US speakers.
During the event, the participants were able to exchange experiences on their community activity conducted within the project. The speakers presented their success stories, but also some of the challenges they faced in the community empowerment process.
“In order to achieve good results you must have a well-prepared team. We created a core of the initiative group (4 people) that coordinates the group’s activity.” – Valeriu Caldararu, leader of the initiative group, Mingir, Hincesti district.
“When we interviewed the young entrepreneurs, we understood that they needed trainings in the field of Strategic Business Planning, Marketing, Management. So, we created a partnership with the Business Incubator in Ceadir-Lunga, which offered a set of trainings to the beneficiaries.” – Nicolai Disli, leader of the initiative group, Ceadir-Lunga, ATU Gagauzia.
“We started to identify and analyze the problems in the community. Based on that, we elaborated the Community Empowerment Strategy, then we prioritized the problems and started to solve them.” – Viorica Curjos, leader of the initiative group, Larga Noua, Cahul district.
“As an active part of our society, we have thought about what young people in our city really need. It turned out that there is no platform to support youth. Therefore, it was decided to create a community center to offer variable services to young people in our city.” – Elena Babin, the leader of the initiative group, Edinet.
“Due to the actions of the initiative group and the common results achieved in the development of our community, people’s attitudes towards civic activism have changed. They get involved more actively in the social life of the community and propose their own initiatives to improve the quality of life.” – Valerii Oborok, mayor of Huluboaia, Cahul district.
The USA experts Debora Martin and Elizabeth Balint especially encouraged local and regional public authorities to more actively support civic participation by maximizing the potential of the initiative groups empowered within the project.
“I am very inspired by what I heard and it is a great joy to see when things are done as they were planned from the beginning. Our idea was to change people’s mentality, to help people understand that the power of change belongs to them.” – Debora Martin, Great Lakes Community Action Partnership, SUA (GLACP).
“The example of empowering minority communities following the active application of the community transformation model speaks of the LPA’s need to embrace it.” – Tatiana Costev, Executive Director of iRi.
As a result of this activity, the Institute for Rural Initiatives (iRi) aims to create space for sustainable partnerships between local initiative groups from rural areas of the Republic of Moldova, which are promoters of participatory community spirit, with stakeholders, to put on agenda common problems and challenges that can be solved in close collaboration with LPA. In this sense, 2 more such events will be organized in April and May. Those interested are asked to contact the organizers.