Empowering Youth to Protect Moldova’s Natural Heritage

The project “Empowering young people to protect their native natural heritage“, proposed by the Ecological Movement of Moldova, unfolds in the context and necessity of empowering young people from Moldova by involving them in actions leading to strengthening, promotion and conservation of several protected ecosystems across the country. The project is a continuation of a series of 3 similar projects, carried out by the Ecological Movement of Moldova with the support of the Department of International Programs of the US Forest Service: “Empowering youth for nature interpretation” (2020), „Local youth – the voice for a sustainable promotion of the „Orheiul Vechi” cultural-natural Reserve” (2019) and „Empowering Eco-Education. Skills and experiences for nature interpretation” (2018).

The current project aims to empower young people from rural communities that are part of five protected areas of the Republic of Moldova:

  • Natural Reserve „Codri”,
  • Natural Reserve „Plaiul Fagului”,
  • National Park „Orhei”,
  • Biosphere Reserve „Prutul de Jos”,
  • Tipova Landscape Reserve

The pupils and students aged between 11-17, involved in local schools, youth centers and public associations in the above-mentioned regions, will benefit from important knowledge about local ecosystems, wildlife, biodiversity conservation and natural heritage of the native region. At the same time, they will be provided with specific tools, in the form of micro-grants, to monitor and improve the condition of the habitats that surround or overlap with the five protected areas. Thus, the involvement and empowerment of young people will help local communities (especially rural ones) in the target areas to be more open to the active protection of nature, ensuring the consolidation, promotion and conservation of protected ecosystems in these areas.

The project goal is to build youth civic involvement to make changes in their communities.

  • Objective nr 1: Raising youth’s awareness and increasing their attachment to their place of birth.
  • Objective nr 2: Empowering young people to lead projects beneficial for their local communities, protected natural areas and places with an important natural heritage in Moldova.


Activities:

  1. Nature conservation trainings (November 2021 – March 2021)

Young people from the communities involved in the project will benefit from a training program on nature conservation. The program will have a total duration of 12 hours and will consist of 3 separate courses:

  • Nature conservation course (online development);
  • Course on flora and fauna specific to the protected area in the native area (will take place at the headquarters of the reservations);
  • Course in the form of a field visit to the protected area to document the habitats of the protected area in the native area.

     2. Youth competition dedicated to research/monitoring of natural sites. (April-June 2022)

The activity will be carried out as a competition between young people in researching/monitoring the environmental situation of a certain natural resource from the surroundings of their settlement or protected area. Young students from each region of the project’s pilot area (participants at the training but not limited to them) will be invited to participate in the competition called „Be the change!”. The competitors will need to monitor and document the environmental state of a natural resource (specific location, forest, spring, river bank, cliff, cave or another natural resource). They will collect information and prepare a monitoring report that will include pictures, video and a brief description of the site’s ecological situation by completing a form to be provided by the organizers of the competition. The participants will also organize an information campaign at local level regarding the state of the environment in their community and the identified problems during the monitoring process. The information campaign will include at least one activity such as round tables, flash mobs, public debates, etc. One winner initiative group will be awarded by evaluating the quality of the research and the impact of the information campaign.

      3. Mini-grant competition and implementation of micro-projects at community level (June – July 2020):

All participants at the first stage of the competition will attend an orientation seminar on writing grant proposals. The seminar will last up to 4 h and will be dedicated to the initiative groups from each pilot area and will feature fundamental topics such as how to calculate budgets and how to choose the most efficient activities. After the training, each initiative group will come with a grant proposal oriented to solve of the identified problem or to improve the ecological situation of the natural heritage that was researched (planting, cleaning up, sanitation activities, etc.). They will perform an impact evaluation activity and willpresent their results at the end of the project.

For the successful implementation of the planned activities, MEM will collaborate with various partners: town halls and local authorities of the communities located on the territory of the five protected areas, educational institutions and local organizations, administration and management teams of the reservations targeted in the project.

Government institutions:

  • State Forestry Agency „Moldsilva” – the agency manages and coordinates all the national protected areas:
    - Administration of „Codrii Natural” Reserve,
    - Administration of „Plaiul Fagului” Natural Reserve,
    - Administration of „Orhei” National Park,
    - Administration of Tipova Landscape Reserve,
    - Administration of „Prutul de Jos” Biosphere Reserve.

 Municipalities and city-halls of the following settlements: Lozova, Vorniceni, Pănășești, Micleușeni, Dolna, Scoreni, Căpriana, Condrița, Ciuciuleni, Drăgușenii Noi, Bursuc, Sipoteni, Bahmut, Temeleuți, Vălcineț, Rădenii Vechi, Bumbăta, Cornești (sat), Cornești (oraș), Milești, Bălănești, Lalova, Horodiște, Slobozia Mare, Văleni, Brînza, Manta, Cîșlița Prut, Giugiulești, Colibași, Vadul lui Isac, Pașcani, Crihana Veche, Tabăra, Camencea, Teleșeu, Lucășeuca, Seliște, Puțintei, Ivancea, Vatici, Furceni, Trebujeni, Piatra, Orhei, Mașcăuți, Codreanca, Țigănești, Romănești.

Public education institutions (schools and high schools) in the localities adjacent to the 5 protected areas: Lozova, Vorniceni, Pănășești, Micleușeni, Dolna, Scoreni, Căpriana, Condrița, Ciuciuleni, Drăgușenii Noi, Bursuc, Sipoteni, Bahmut, Temeleuți, Vălcineț, Rădenii Vechi, Bumbăta, Cornești (sat), Cornești (oraș), Milești, Bălănești, Lalova, Horodiște, Slobozia Mare, Văleni, Brînza, Manta, Cîșlița Prut, Giugiulești, Colibași, Vadul lui Isac, Pașcani, Crihana Veche, Tabăra, Camencea, Teleșeu, Lucășeuca, Seliște, Puțintei, Ivancea, Vatici, Furceni, Trebujeni, Piatra, Orhei, Mașcăuți, Codreanca, Țigănești, Romănești.

Youth centers and youth councils:

  • Ungheni Youth Center
  • Orhei Youth Center
  • Orhei District Youth Council
  • Orhei Youth Center, Branesti branch
  • Orhei Youth Center, Puțintei branch
  • Mascauti Branch Youth Center 
  • Criuleni Youth Center
  • Straseni District Youth Center
  • District Council of Young Straseni
  • Hincesti District Youth Council
  • Hancești Youth Center
  • Nisporeni District Youth Center
  • Calarasi Youth Local Council
  • Rezina District Youth Council
  • Cahul Youth Center
  • Cahul District Youth Council

Public associations focused on environmental protection and the involvement of young people from localities adjacent to the 5 protected areas.