Representatives from 28 youth organisations from across the country met for four days, offline during 1-3 July and then online on 11 August, at the ‘Moldova Youth Civil Society’ (MYCS) Civic Hackathon to experiment and find innovative solutions to challenges faced by young people in their communities. The event was organised by Terre des hommes Moldova Foundation as part of the project „MYCS: Moldova Youth Civil Society – for a stronger youth civil society”, funded by the European Union.

The hackathon was facilitated by the project’s partners from Romania – the Foundation for Civil Society Development (FSCD). The innovation of the event was that participants were challenged to step out of their comfort zone, think out-of-box and find creative and alternative solutions to the problems of youth they are used to addressing in a traditional way.

What is a hackathon?

A hackathon refers, in a broad sense, to the collective solving of one or more problems through innovative approaches, usually using technology. Participants work in small groups to analyse civic problems and related data and generate solutions during an intensive, time-limited event.

Although a hackathon lasts only a few days, it is an intense exercise and it’s only the beginning of a long process, because “hacking” a system is not simple and can take months, even years, explains Vlad Dumitrescu, one of the FCSD facilitators.

What was the MYCS Civic Hackathon about?

At the MYCS Civic Hackathon, almost 70 representatives of youth organisations, guided by the facilitators, learned how to identify the needs of young people and how to generate creative solutions to address them effectively.

Participants’ perspective

The participants mentioned that the working method was new and challenging, they were expecting a traditional workshop where they would receive precise and clear intervention tools. The experience of this hackathon took them out of their comfort zone, out of thinking in template and rigid solutions and showed them that any problem can be solved through different, creative and novel means to address and respond to the needs of young people from their perspective.

„We have been engaged in a series of exercises that taught us to see things from a more creative perspective, in a new, innovative light and to break some patterns. Young people want innovation,”

says Corina Erhan from the Rural Development Agency, Centre branch.

Tatiana Ciobanu, from the Public Association „Sustainable Social Services”, Orhei district, was impressed by the working method and the creative potential that was harnessed during the hackathon.

„Through the exercises we did, we understood how important imagination and creativity are and not to limit ourselves only to what we know. It is important to accept young people as they are, to accept their ideas and understand their challenges from their perspective. They explore the world easily, they have a much richer imagination than those of us with a more rigid educational background.”

Expectations and visions for the future

The MYCS project, funded by the European Union, aims to strengthen the capacities of local civic actors in the youth field to deliver programmes and services. The Civic Hackathon was the cornerstone for the participating organisations to design services and develop inclusive education programmes in harmony with the needs and visions of young people.

Innovative project proposals will have the opportunity to obtain financial assistance of up to 60,000 EUR. With these grants the MYCS project aims to create an enabling environment for a better collaboration between youth organisations, local authorities and young people.

Attending the event, Giuseppe Paglione, Programme Officer at the Delegation of the European Union, underlined that

„this support from the EU confirms the importance of the work of civil society organisations in various fields. I am particularly happy that this project is dedicated to youth, and that it is in the European Year of Youth. I admire you for what you do, and the fact that your organisations come from different backgrounds and regions is an added value”.

The project „MYCS: Moldova Youth Civil Society – for a stronger youth civil society”, funded by the European Union, is implemented by Terre des hommes Foundation Moldova, in collaboration with the Foundation for Civil Society Development (Romania) and the Partnership for Development Centre (Moldova).