131 women and 30 communities in the Republic of Moldova have increased their climate resilience and promoted environmentally friendly practices

November 29, 2023

Thirty localities have improved their public services and social infrastructure and become more resilient to climate change. One hundred and twenty women with economic activity in their households and 11 entrepreneurs developed businesses resilient to climate change and created new jobs, including in rural areas. Seventy-seven environmental NGOs have strengthened their capacities in the field of sustainable development and promoted an environmental agenda, advocating for women’s empowerment whilst considering the disproportionate impact of climate change. These are just a few of the results achieved by the “Sustainable and resilient communities through women empowerment” project, funded by Sweden and implemented by UNDP. 

The results were presented on 29 November 2023 at the project’s closing event ceremony conducted in Leova—one of the 30 beneficiary localities. Thanks to mentoring and a grant worth 19,000 dollars, a photovoltaic system was installed at the House of Culture. The panels fully cover the energy needs of the institution, ensuring at least 200,000 lei of savings to the local budget annually and contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions by about 16 tons per year. At the same time, thanks to the photovoltaic system, better working conditions are ensured for 20 employees and over 130 children and adults from the city and neighboring villages who attend music and dance classes offered by the institution.

Present at the event, Katarina Fried, Ambassador of Sweden to Moldova, said that "through the project, the Swedish Cooperation for Reforms in Moldova aims to build inclusive, sustainable and resilient communities and to enable a favorable environment for the economic, social and educational empowerment of women. It also included a mechanism to promote multidimensional well-being by encouraging access to resources and opportunities, especially for women. We are pleased that this project has applied climate-resilient and environmentally friendly tools and practices to adapt rural communities to the effects of climate change.”

The “Sustainable and resilient communities through women empowerment” project was implemented over four years in 30 target localities from Nisporeni, Călărași, Basarabeasca, Leova, Găgăuzia andTransnistrian regions, and Dubăsari district, which is part of the security zone. 

“The partnership with local public authorities, civil society and women who were involved in this initiative was the key to the successful implementation of the project. In addition to grants, the project beneficiaries had mentoring and coaching support to increase their resilience and promote green practices, which allowed them not only to apply sustainable solutions, but also to become more confident when addressing environmental challenges. The best practices will be replicated in as many local communities as possible, so as to empower rural women, especially,” said Valeria Ieșeanu, Planning and Partnership Development Specialist, UNDP Moldova.

According to statistics, rural women are four times more likely to be in poverty, are underrepresented in decision-making and are more vulnerable to climate-change induced hazards. For this reason, the project contributed to expanding women's access to alternative income-generation activities through grants and mentoring. 

The non-reimbursable financial assistance was invested by beneficiaries into the construction of greenhouses and installation of drip irrigation systems for growing vegetables, berries or medicinal plants, implementations of renewable energy systems for processing vegetables, development of agricultural tourism facilities, the modernization of beekeeping businesses and extension of honey plantations, manure management, etc. 

With the help of the project, 30 communities have obtained grants worth up to US$20,000 each to carry out initiatives to boost resilience. As a result, more than 263,000 people in these localities benefit from improved public services and social infrastructure, such as a modern waste management system, areas rehabilitated through afforestation and landscaping, rivers with cleared plains and improved adjacent territories. Some localities have gained access to alternative energy systems, including for public institutions. 

Also, the project helped to develop and incorporate climate profiles and action plans on gender mainstreaming and resilience to climate change in local development plans. Practical guides have been developed on the steps needed to start and expand climate-resilient businesses, as well as guides for local public administration on the implementation of environmental legislation at the local level.