Moldova: the citizens from Falesti brought Europe closer to their localities

"Running after big money abroad, we forget about our most precious values (which are) from our country. Very soon, with European aid, we will have good roads, which will lead to nowhere. And it’s a pity. We don’t need necessarily a lot of money to set-up an “agro-business” or a tourist initiative, especially now that there are European funds available for this purpose, "said Ms. Svetlana Lazar from ANTREC at an IREX Europe supported discussion session on rural tourism and the opportunities it offers local communities.

The "public platforms for discussion" is part of a project that promotes local solutions to local economic and social problems and the role that EU and other international support may play in supporting local initiatives. IREX Europe is working with local partner ATI and the Novateca program to film ten documentaries on economic and social issues and then use those documentaries as springboards for public debate. Novateca’s network of libraries and librarians are a key partner and IREX Europe is running a series of media literacy trainings to librarians so that they can then use those skills to build local media literacy and help lead discussion and debate on key local issues.

This first discusison session took place on June 10 at the public library "M. Eminescu" in Fălești rayon. 35 people drawn from local NGOs, business and local government came together to view the documentary on “Rural Business”. The film featured one Moldovan family who’d set up a rural museum and another who’d set up an agribusiness, both with start-up funds from the European Union. The audience then discussed the challenges and opportunities rural and cultural heritage businesses offer with one of the film’s journalists Rodica Nemerenco, and the regional coordinator of the Novateca program Andrei Gavriliță. The discussion was moderated by IREX Europe’s project coordinator Daniela galai and Svetlana Lazar, the President of the National Association of Rural, Ecological and Cultural Tourism (ANTREC).

The discussion was passionate, with participants presenting different situations and problems that they have encountered and sharing plans for the future. All agreed that this kind of information and presentation of concrete local success stories in this, or any other area was vital to motivate more people to seek to build their own rural businesses. The discussion sessions take place within the "Strengthening independent media and media literacy in Moldova" program, implemented by IREX Europe in partnership with ATI and the Novateca program.

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