On June 7, 2022, the Institute for Rural Initiatives (iRi) organized the first edition of ReThink Rural Moldova Forum.
The forum brought together a number of actors interested in rural development, including representatives of central and local public authorities, experts in the field as well as various representatives of civil society to discuss priorities and challenges in the field of rural development in the Republic of Moldova.
“The village in the Republic of Moldova is not just about agriculture, there live people, people who want better services, a pharmacy, quality education, a place of leisure, better jobs, etc., so a better economic situation. Therefore, through the project ‘Rethink Rural Moldova’ we had as the main goal to introduce a new narrative about rural development in the Republic of Moldova and especially changing the concept and perception of what rural development in the Republic of Moldova implies and requires.” – Tatiana Costev-Cosuleanu, executive director, Institute for Rural Initiatives (iRi).
“The embassy is proud to support this project because we believe that Moldova can only succeed with the help of rural communities. In my opinion, the heart of Moldova is in the village, in the rural communities. Every Moldovan I know has a village that he considers to be his home. Unfortunately, these rural communities do not have the same opportunities as the cities in Moldova and other countries…” – Tyler Beebout, the press attaché of the US Embassy in Chisinau.
Over the last year, the Institute for Rural Initiatives (iRi) together with the 10 project partner NGOs have organized several discussions and round tables at district and local level with various stakeholders on topics that revolved around the idea that rural development must be urgently updated, human-centered and declared a national priority having as final result the socio-economic empowerment of the citizens and the improvement of the quality of life in the rural environment.
“This FORUM is meant to invite people to think about what rural development means for the Republic of Moldova. A rural community must be attractive and friendly to those who live there, which is possible given the experience of other states. Rural development has a lot of angles, and dialogue is a solution.” – Ruslan Stanga, expert Institute for Rural Initiatives (iRi).
Representatives of the central public authorities contributed to the discussion by expressing their support for the idea of updating the concept of rural development and putting the village man at the center of public policies:
“Yes, Moldova is largely a country with rural localities, but that does not mean that they do not have the right to development or to have normal living conditions. We, as the Ministry of Infrastructure and Regional Development, at our level try to help the localities to overcome that moment where they are…” – Igor Malai, head of the Regional Development Policy Directorate, Ministry of Infrastructure and Regional Development.
“Now we must all unite and develop business in agriculture, to develop crafts, people’s occupations, rural tourism in rural areas so as to attract as many people as possible to invest and develop rural localities in Moldova thus improving the quality of life of people from villages.” – Vasile Sarban, State Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry of Moldova.
Representatives of civil society pointed out a number of systemic issues, calling for a faster acceleration of rural development in the Republic of Moldova:
“The village must have two elements in its development: the human element and the element of democracy. Only dialogue and decision-making will contribute to the development of the villages of the Republic of Moldova.” – Octavii Ivanov, expert CALM (Congress of Local Authorities from Moldova).
“We, in the rural areas, not only have to live, we have to be active. This will lead to a decent life as in the city… If it wasn’t for the village, it wasn’t for the town.” – Eugeniu Ribac, mayor of Borosenii Noi, Riscani district.
“If there is no school, a kindergarten, the village will surely die. How can there be villages if there are no people who go in search of a better life in the city. Probably we should focus on financing the institutions [from the village].” – Svetlana Savin, Fortuna NGO, Zgurita village, Drochia district.
The activity is part of the project “ReThink Rural Moldova”, implemented by the Institute for Rural Initiatives (iRi) and 10 local partners with the support of the US Embassy in the Republic of Moldova.
The photo album from the event can be accessed on the Facebook page of the Institute for Rural Initiatives (iRi):