Exchange of experience: young people from both banks of the Nistru river will develop their own gender-based violence prevention projects

January 16, 2022

Several young people from both banks of the Nistru river, as well as representatives of civil society organizations, members of the Platform for Sustainable (Community) Development, visited the first Regional center for the rehabilitation of survivors of gender-based violence in Gagauzia region. The visitors learned how the center was established, what services an institution of this kind can provide, but also what is the role of civic activists in preventing and combating gender-based violence. As the next step, young people - members of the Transnistrian Dialogues Platform, established by UNDP, will work on developing and implementing their own project ideas to help reduce violence. The initiative is a cooperation of three projects implemented by UNDP and the UN.

The Center was opened in December 2020, within a UNDP project, implemented with the support of the Republic of Korea and the Executive Committee of Gagauzia region. The institution can simultaneously accommodate up to 20 people, women and children, for a term of up to six months. Since the inauguration of the institution, the Center's employees have provided support to dozens of women in critical situations. Svetlana Gheorghieva, Director of the Center, explained to the young people how the institution works and how women can reach the Center for help.

"Majority of those who benefit from accommodation and rehabilitation are mothers. Some with 2-3 children, but we also had a situation when we hosted a woman with eight children, who was a victim of violence. We provide crisis assistance, we accommodate them, we deal with their psychological rehabilitation, legal or social problems. At the same time, we are also concerned about the social reintegration of these women. This means that we offer them the opportunity to find a job and a place to live after leaving the Center," says the specialist.

The services of the Center are not limited to the rehabilitation of survivors of violence. There is a community center on the ground floor, for women and men from disadvantaged groups, as well as for people in need of counseling or support. At the same time, the Center has a mobile team, which provides consulting services in the villages of the region. So, a psychologist, a lawyer, and a social worker go in communities and talk with residents, trying to identify and relate possible cases of violence and provide assistance to people.

Svetlana Gheorghieva noted that representatives of civil society, young activists, have a very important role to play in preventing violence, especially in informing men and women about this phenomenon.

"Many times, we have situations when a woman does not know anything about her rights. So that we do not get to crisis situations when she stays in the street and has no place to go, it is important that every woman knows what her rights are, what protection measures she can benefit from and where she should ask for help."

The participants in the discussion mentioned that the example of the Center from Gagauzia region is a good catalyst for local initiatives. One of the participants in the project, Vladislava Olihovicova (Tiraspol), a member of the Transnistrian Dialogues Platform, said she is currently working on an initiative that aims to inform people through social networks about the phenomenon of violence.

"We need to talk more about the issue of violence and inform girls and women about the rights they have, but also about the rehabilitation services that survivors can access. The Center in Gagauzia region is a service that deserves to be replicated in several regions of the country," the young woman believes.

Oxana Alistratova, President of the NGO "Vzaimodeystvie/Interaction" from Tiraspol, member of the Platform for Sustainable (Community) Development, said that the experience of the Center from Gagauzia region can inspire other initiative groups to launch such services. "The organization I lead specializes in the field of prevention of human trafficking and domestic violence. We provide direct support to victims and work with groups exposed to these phenomena. The Center we visited has a good institutional base, and those who opened this institution tried to provide a wide range of services for beneficiaries – women and children. It is an example worth following. It is important that these women are helped to re-integrate into society, to get an employment and to enjoy all their rights."

For Ilia Prodan, a young man from Soroca, member of the Transnistrian Dialogues Platform, it was the first time he visited an institution that provides shelter and multilateral assistance to victims of violence. "Such centers, where women can turn for help, are extremely necessary. I was impressed with the well-thought infrastructure and conditions for the victim to be able to receive help, to be treated if she was abused, to be psychologically rehabilitated, and to have a social assistant's or lawyer's advice, etc. It is very good that there are the necessary conditions for mothers to stay here with their children."

The regional Center for the rehabilitation of women survivors of violence was opened within the framework of the "Addressing violence against women in the Republic of Moldova: exploring and learning from local solutions" project, implemented by UNDP with the support of the Republic of Korea. 

The Transnistrian Dialogues Project, implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Institute for Strategic Initiatives (IPIS), established a platform for interaction between experts, journalists, civic activists, formal and informal opinion leaders, and representatives of civil society from both banks.

The Platform for Sustainable (Community) Development was created four years ago, with the support of the One UN Joint Action Cross-River Support to Human Rights Project, financed by Sweden. The platform brings together 39 members from both banks of the Nistru river and represents the interests of people with disabilities, people living with HIV, Roma, survivors of domestic violence, children, etc.

For more information, please contact: Vitalie Frecauteanu, Project Coordinator, UNDP Moldova,, tel: +373 69602254