The small grants programme within the project “Activating Governance Reform for Enhacing Development (AGREED)”, funded by the European Union was launched in April 2020. The project is implemented by the European Association for Local Democracy (ALDA), Local Democracy Agency Moldova (LDA Moldova) and the University Legal Clinic.
The small grants programme aimed to promote the principles of participatory democracy at the local level in the Republic of Moldova. The total amount offered for the grant projects is EUR 120 000, for each grant project the amount being from EUR 3 000 to 6 000. In May 2020, the Evaluation Committee selected 16 project proposals out of 123 received. The funded projects aimed to raise public awareness and increase public involvement in solving local problems, as well as improving cooperation between local CSOs and LPAs. The projects are implemented in both urban and rural local communities with the aim of mobilising members of civil society and other key actors in the community through active participation, the use of the principles of participatory democracy and good governance at the local level.
One of the selected projects that has successfully completed all the proposed activities is “Ungheni for the development of sustainable urban mobility”, implemented by the “Regional Center for Sustainable Development” in Ungheni in partnership with Ungheni City Hall and other local public associations. The aim of the project was to sustain the urban space, by reconverting an unused land, in a sustainable participatory planning process and transforming it into a track (234 m2) for cyclists with recreational functions in the “Micul Cluj” Park in Ungheni city. In addition to the work of arranging the bike lanes, the project provided for awareness campaigns on the European Mobility Week and the promotion of environmentally friendly transport, the organisation of a conference and a cycling marathon.
The Municipal Bicycle Marathon took place on 19 September 2020. The event was organised in partnership with the City Sports School, the Ungheni Tourism Base and the Initiative Group “Volunteers Pro Ungheni”. The municipal marathon entitled “Come with us, by bike” aimed to raise public awareness about cycling, as an essential component of sustainable urban mobility promoted by the project, which was attended by about 50 children, young people and adults from various neighborhoods of Ungheni. The first 3 cyclists who crossed the finish line received gifts with the logos of the project “Ungheni for the development of sustainable urban mobility”.
The second grant project that was successfully completed in November is “Democracy at home”, implemented by “Florești District Youth Council” in partnership with the City Hall of Florești. The aim of the project was to promote participatory democracy and good governance at the local level by training and strengthening critical thinking skills, civic education of about 150 young people and active citizens from Florești.
A survey of about 500 locals from Florești took place. The survey focused on the needs and challenges the population is facing at the local level and about the selection of a project to be implemented. Following the survey, the population of the city chose the revampment of the alley “Victoriei Boulevard” in the town of Florești and the installation of 30 street benches and 30 garbage cans. Moreover, a Public Information Campaign was organised during the project implementation. The Campaign was focused on the implementation of the project, promotion of the concepts of participatory democracy and transparency in decision making at the local level. On 20 November 2020, the closing event of the project took place in the city of Florești.
The third grant project successfully completed recently is “Transparency and participation – the basis of good local governance”, implemented by Public Association“Ștefan Vodă Ecological Movement” in partnership with Ștefănești City Hall from Ștefan Vodă district.
The project aimed to increase the capacity of at least 50 members of civil society and LPAs in developing and monitoring local policies to ensure a transparent public administration; initiating programs for education and development of citizen participatory behavior; increasing the capacity of civil servants and local elected officials to ensure transparency and citizens’ access to information of public interest. About 30 people participated in the launch of the project, including Ms. Ersilia Qatrawi – the mayor of Ștefănești, Mr Victor Cotruţă – ALDA Project Coordinator for the Eastern Partnership countries, advisers, teachers, librarians, young people and of course the media. An opinion poll was subsequently launched following the creation of an initiative group in which about 40 people were asked about transparency and decision-making at the local level.