In 2023, our partner AO Neemia was able to access some through the “EU4Accountability – A Civil Society Empowered for a Greater Social Responsibility in Moldova” program, designed for a wide variety of activities related to community development. The goal of the project was to help the local community become more informed and more involved in the process of decision-making and implementation of small projects in their community. One of the main activities of this project was titled Participative Budgeting which required local public administration to create a budget for community projects, and then for people in their community to become involved in identifying specific community problems and access the necessary funding.
The process of participative budgeting implemented by AO Neemia had the following steps: informing the population in five selected communities; signing agreements with each local public administration; setting financial contributions; developing courses of actions for participative budgeting; soliciting and evaluating community projects for each community (initiated by individuals living in each community), allocating funding, and implementing the projects.
Two projects were selected through this process. In Butesti, the winning project was Popas la Capitani, aimed at creating an area for rest and relaxation for the community, for the amount of $6,400. In Cobani, the winning project was to build a Safe and Performance Sports Place for children and young people, with a total budget of $12,000 (WHI contributed $2,650). The implementation of these two projects was a positive experience for AO Neemia, for the local public administrations, and for both communities. They had good trilateral collaboration and as a result, these two communities have new places for children, young people, and adults where they can rest, relax and practice various types of sports.
It was very encouraging to see how the local communities become involved by completing most of the manual works by volunteers from the local communities and by having members of each community contribute financially towards these projects. It’s worth mentioning special contributions by several individuals of retirement age who made monetary contributions from their pension of 2,000MDL (approx $110) because they wanted to be part of something good for their community. Ms. Liusea came to the Community Center one day, and with joy on her face, she said “Please accept this 200 Moldovn Lei donation (10% of her pension), because I would like for my grandson to have a safe place to play sports.” It’s important to note that there isn’t a basketball playground in Cobani and many kids, young people, and adults are waiting with anticipation for our project to be finalized. The new sports place can be used for basketball, volleyball, tennis, and mini-soccer. It will be also used by the local daycare/kindergarten, local middle school, and anyone else in the community to practice a healthy life style.
Please see the newsletter from the fall of 2023 for additional information on this project. We hope that this is the beginning of many new community development projects in the future.