Confidence brings changes for better in Moldova
Joint UNDP-EU programme supports confidence building on two banks of Nistru River improving the life of over 400,000 people
Natalia Podolean works hard to be able to bring up her son. For the sake of her 10 year-old boy she came to “Apriori” Centre, a nongovernmental organization in Tiraspol, which with UNDP-EU support provides free legal and psychosocial counseling to vulnerable persons from the eastern region of the Republic of Moldova, the so-called Transnistrian region.
For nearly nine years, since her husband left to work abroad, Natalia receives only greetings from him. They have legally divorced three years ago, but the situation did not change. “I live with my old and sick parents, and my salary is far too small to cover the needs of four persons. With specialists’ help from “Apriori”, we managed to make my ex-husband pay the alimony payments. Together with the psychologist of the Centre, I am trying to deal with the problematic behavior my boy has after the divorce and to find some peace for myself”, Natalia says.
The Transnistrian region, a territory on the left bank of the Nistru river, established de facto independence from the Republic of Moldova in 1992, and is not recognised by the international community. The problems associated with Transnistria represent a major obstacle to stability and development, the conflict remaining unresolved for over twenty years.
Four years ago, with support from the European Union, UNDP launched a programme to promote closer ties between people on both sides of the Nistru River, joining local public authorities, civil society and businesses to work together to improve the social-economic development of their communities.
The UNDP-EU Programme helps people to interact and reduce the negative effects of over twenty years isolation of the Transnistrian region through joint activities in Business development; Support for civil society; Renovation of social infrastructure through local development; Health; and Environment protection.
”Apriori” is one of the 12 nongovernmental organizations from the left bank of the Nistru River, which are supported by the UNDP-EU Programme to establish partnerships with similar organizations from the right bank , by improving their skills to provide quality services to people, especially to the most vulnerable.
“Transnistrian region lacks legal and psychosocial counseling for vulnerable people and those who cannot afford to pay for legal advice or a lawyer. Together with our partners from the right bank of the Nistru River, we are their defense line”, said Alena Marcicova, Chair of “Apriori”. During the last three months, 10 legal consultations to 19 single parents educating alone their children have been provided in the framework of this partnership. People who come to the centre also face issues related to divorce, social indemnities payment, rights of single mothers, labor and property rights, protection of children and women empowering. Some claims are well-grounded, others – not, but all of them are listened carefully to and, represented in court and resolved.
“Apriori” staff and its volunteers trained vulnerable mothers from Transnistria region on parenting, access to information and provided physicians’ consultations . 10 women and 3 men are being trained to become journalists and write human stories while an on-line TV show is now being created that will be broadcast on the Apriori Centre webpage.
Even though the activities of the UNDP-EU Programme are focused on the Transnistrian region and security zone which spans from 10 to 30 km on both sides of the Nistru River, they do have a positive impact on all the country’s people, making their life better, enhancing the civil society and improving the social infrastructure. It also contributes to building a more conducive environment in the Transnistrian region for foreign investments and donor support. “The success of these activities is due mainly to the fact that all projects are identified and implemented in close collaboration by stakeholders from both sides of the Nistru River. This makes us believe in our own forces, trust our partners and provide good services tour people”, said Alena Marcicova.
- The UNDP-EU Programme supported 83 projects which benefited more than 205,000 people
- A business school established by the Programme in the Transnistrian region trained 850 people. About 30 % of the graduates of the trainings on setting up own companies have already successfully started their own business
- More than 40 companies from the Transnistrian region received support for business development and established collaboration with businessmen outside the region
- The Programme helped renovate and rebuild about 28 social infrastructure units on both sides of the Nistru River, among which schools, kindergartens, health and community centers
- At least 30 partnerships were established between the nongovernmental organizations from both sides of the Nistru River to meet the social needs of the communities