On March 31, 2021, the Institute for Rural Initiatives (iRi) organized a webinar on the importance of implementing youth policies at local level and the LPAs’ role in this sector.
The activity united virtually 55 participants, including youth specialists, LPA representatives, 15 partner NGOs representatives, iRi Youth Experts Council, from 30 rural communities, partners in YEP program. The event was also attended by 2 experts from the United States, who spoke about their experience in the field of youth and shared success stories with youth specialists and LPA representatives from Moldova.
“If you want to have a sustainable community, you have to include young people in its life. Make sure you all have one common thing – to make your community a better place to live.” – Tyler Engle, youth expert from Tennessee, USA.
“I encourage youth specialists to start working with young people under 14 years old. Our research showed that the sooner you start working with young people, the more connected they will be to their community and when young people leave the community they will keep that connection with the place where they grew up and become more responsible for it.” – Debora Martin, community development expert, Ohio, USA.
The experts from Moldova had the opportunity to share success stories in the youth field, starting with the process of involving young people in the community life and up to the creation of partnerships with local authorities. They mentioned the methods that worked well in their community and how young people contributed to building a sustainable youth friendly community.
“We want LPA representatives to get more involved in developing the youth strategy, to tell young people how to create and develop a local budget and to encourage them to actively participate in decision-making processes.” – Svetlana Budistean, youth specialist, Varnita, district of Anenii Noi.
“With the formation of the initiative group, young people became more receptive, more enthusiastic and more active in the process of community development and interaction with LPA and various community stakeholders. Until the creation of the initiative group, the interaction of young people with the LPA representatives was based only on some sports and community cleaning activities.” – Ion Bors, deputy mayor, Pelinia, district of Drochia.
During the webinar, iRi encouraged youth specialists and local authorities to create integrated youth policies and participatory mechanisms that would civically involve young people from rural areas. Together with the participants, we discussed the existing public policies in the youth sector at local level and what the authorities do to motivate young people to stay in their community.
“The good news is that at the local level there are many opportunities. It is important that the development of the youth sector becomes a priority. We talk about building a friendly community for young people where there is communication and partnership between LPA, young people, stakeholders and community.” – Tatiana Costev-Cosuleanu, Executive Director, Institute for Rural Initiatives (iRi).
Following the webinar, both youth specialists and LPA representatives from rural areas put on their common agenda the priority to value youth in their community and to actively involve them in the decision-making process. iRi will always support and help local authorities to consult young people and to understand that youth national policies can also be implemented at local level.
The activity is part of “Youth Empowerment Program (YEP)”, implemented by the Institute for Rural Initiatives (iRi), in partnership with Great Lakes Community Action Partnership (GLCAP), Ohio, USA with the financial support of U.S. Department of State.