Approximately 25 participants from civil society and local authorities in the Republic of Moldova benefited from a study visit to Iasi, Romania, in the EU4Accountability project framework, where they exchanged experiences and best practices in the field of voluntary sector work, community development and social accountability.
About 25 participants learned about the organisation of social enterprises in Romania, the legal framework and cooperation with local authorities, and their social and economic impact. In this context, programmes in the field of social services, inclusion and integration of vulnerable groups in the labour market, lobbying, advocacy and support for NGO development were presented.
The visit to the Refugee Centre, organised and supported by Bethany Social Services Foundation, allowed for an exchange of impressions and best practices between participants who have been on the front line of the crisis caused by the war in Ukraine. Participants learned about the integration services, psychological support and translation provided by volunteers at the centre, as well as the tailoring of support to the needs of beneficiaries.
Participants had the chance to learn from insightful contributions in the field of voluntary sector work, community development and social accountability.
The visit to Iasi County Council provided insights into public funding mechanisms for the non-governmental sector, legislative aspects, and cross-border project best practices. Representatives of the Iasi Municipality spoke about the importance of developing partnerships at local community level and presented examples of municipal programmes to support youth and cultural projects. The participatory budgeting process is managed by the Local Office for Participatory Democracy, which implements projects and works through the Iasi Neighbourhood Centres.
A good example of social enterprise development is the food hub Roade și Merinde, which provides a platform for farmers and small producers to test and market quality local products. The Foodhub’s mission is to bring local food and craft products to new consumers and to promote the culture of consuming traditional and ecologically grown products.
The study visit concluded with a visit to the Dream Art Center Iasi, a social enterprise offering creative spaces, painting workshops, music lessons, and instruments for children. Approximately 10% of the center’s students come from vulnerable families and receive free services and support from volunteer mentors.
The activity is carried out in the framework of the EU4Accountability project, which aims to strengthen the capacity of civil society organisations in Moldova to better play their role as actors of governance and to increase the social accountability of local and central public administration in Moldova.
EU4Accountability is funded by the European Union in the Republic of Moldova and implemented by ALDA – European Association for Local Democracy, European Partnership for Democracy and People in Need Moldova.