60 hometown associations have come together to discuss the development of local communities through increased social engagement and cohesion

October 27, 2023

Representatives from 60 communities and leaders of hometown associations in Moldova participated in the Forum of Hometown Associations "Social cohesion at home: we contribute, develop, grow", organized on 27-28 October. The event brought together over 80 participants—officials of the Government of the Republic of Moldova, representatives of civil society and development partners—and was organized with the financial support of the Government of Switzerland and the Government of Japan through the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security with the support of IOM and UNDP Moldova.

The participants of the event discussed the effectiveness of cooperation tools at the local level and the creation of long-term opportunities for the modernization of communities by involving local residents and members of the diaspora, attracting financial resources and cooperation mechanisms with diaspora associations.

"The Government of Switzerland expresses its gratitude for the work and effort put in by all those who have effectively contributed to the development of the capacities of hometown associations in the country to strengthen close ties with members of the diaspora and local public authorities, which has led to the improvement of the standard of living in the communities Moldova. In the future, we will support the Alliance of Hometown Associations to facilitate synergies at the national level, through which to attract new partnerships, projects and successful initiatives," said Guido Beltrani, Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office in Moldova.

"The development of the institutional capacities and program portfolio of the Alliance of Hometown Associations represents a key objective of UNDP and its partners intervention in the area of local democratic governance. We look forward to continuing working closely with you to ensure that the Alliance becomes a reputable resource and knowledge center, as well as assist its members to better respond to local needs and emerging priorities, bringing more innovation, sustainability, and resilience to your local presence, and help you build sustainable partnerships,” said Andrea Cuzyova, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative to the Republic of Moldova.

During the event, the achievements of the Alliance of Hometown Associations in Moldova for six months were presented. To strengthen social cohesion, 15 summer camps #AcasăCamp2023 were organized as part of a project financed by the Government of Japan through the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security and implemented by UNDP and IOM Moldova. 365 children from the country, diaspora and refugees participated in the camps.

“We respect and express gratitude to Moldovan people for setting the best example of humanitarian and refugee assistance to the world. I heard that hometown associations in the host community played an important role in the influx of displaced people from Ukraine and helped to great extent the community cohesion during difficult time. The Government of Japan continues to support such activities to enhance community security through various social, cultural events to create social ties and mutual trust, which will contribute to enhance human security overall,” said Mariko Mori, First Secretary of the Embassy of Japan in Moldova.

The Alliance of Hometown Associations in Moldova obtained three grants of US$5,000 each from the project financed by the Government of Japan through the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security and implemented by UNDP and IOM Moldova. The funds will be used by member associations to increase the degree of social cohesion. Thus, at Cobîlea, a space designed for an outdoor cinema and a gazebo for social activities will be arranged. In Pelinia they will set up a space in the local library to organize consultation sessions with locals, members of the diaspora and refugees, and in Sireți they will install fitness machines in the park.

“IOM supports the Republic of Moldova in fostering social cohesion between and among Moldovan communities, Ukrainian refugees, and migrants living in the country, to enhance migrants’ contributions to sustainable development in Moldova. The grants offered to the three hometown associations will contribute to better social cohesion in the communities of Sireți, Pelinia and Cobîlea,” mentioned Natașa Omerovic,  Programme Officer, IOM Mission in Moldova. 

Another 10 hometown associations will strengthen their institutional capacities, thanks to a grant of $40,000, offered as part of the UNDP project "Strengthen social cohesion through inclusive participation and empowered citizens", financed by the Government of Switzerland.

"The forum is an event that laid the foundations for new approaches in sustainable local development, with social cohesion as a starting point, with the involvement of all actors, both local, national and diaspora. Thanks to the dedication and contributions brought by the hometown associations, the Alliance managed to become a reliable partner, and the effort made by each member of the Alliance demonstrates our desire and commitment to develop the country's communities in a participatory way," said Anastasia Rusu, Executive Director of the Alliance of Hometown Associations in Moldova.

In August, a cooperation agreement was signed between the Alliance of Hometown Associations in Moldova and the Bureau of Diaspora Relations. Currently, the cooperation with the Congress of Local Authorities from Moldova and the LEADER National Network is being strengthened.