The young people in Chisinau aged between 14 and 35 can take part in volunteering activities and interest clubs and have access to personal development and animation services, career orientation, legal and psychological counseling. Since the start of 2022, more than 13,000 young people have visited the Municipal Youth Center. Youth-friendly places are created both in public spaces and in Youth Centers. The municipality has announced its intention to step up the activities to support the young people during the next few years. A strategy intended for the young people will be worked out. An objective is to obtain the European Youth Capital title.
Empowerment of young people at community level
The municipality in 2022 allocated over 8 million lei to the General Division of Education, Youth and Sport and the Chisinau Youth Center for activities and programs designed to support the young people. Andrei Pavaloi, deputy head of the Division, said the young people in the municipality of Chisinau are involved in a number of personal development activities through free services that are provided by the Chisinau Youth Center and its branches. The organized activities contribute to developing key skills and abilities so that the young people become active citizens in society.
“The young people are actively involved in civic activities and in volunteering activities at Youth Centers, where over 300 volunteers became involved. Moreover, with the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, we managed to mobilize over 600 volunteers in the management of the refugee crisis and this shows once again how engaged the young people in the capital city are,” stated Andrei Pavaloi.
Petru Grecu, director of the Municipal Youth Center, said that most of the projects implemented at the Center are financed with municipal budget funds. Four branches of the Municipal Youth Center were opened and this is encouraging as the young people in practically all the districts of Chisinau have access to a broad range of services. A project involving young refugees is now implemented in partnership with UNICEF Moldova and the Chisinau City Hall. The young refugees are involved in the Center’s activities and can do volunteer work and take part in any activity.
“The continuous development of services and the Centers is a daily priority and an objective for the municipality and, respectively, for the Municipal Youth Center. We want the young people to learn about the opportunities offered by the municipality of Chisinau. We would like to develop support services for the young people from the risk group. We have the mobile team of the Center by which we travel to the districts and quarters where the young people have reduced access to opportunities and services, and also work with young people who are out of work. We work with young people in placement centers as they are also a priority. By tradition, we each year organize panel discussions with young people so as to see what ideas they suggest for the 2023 budgetary year. When we plan an activity of the Center, we consult young people so that they also become involved,” stated the Center’s director.
Realization of potential of young specialists
The General Division of Education, Youth and Sport, together with the National Trade Union Confederation of Moldova and the Trader Unions of the municipality of Chisinau, periodically organizes training seminars with young specialists so as to help them to integrate into new staff groups, into the conducted activities. “The municipality creates a favorable psycho-emotional climate for the young people who take up jobs in educational institutions. We are glad that each year we have young people who come to work at our educational institutions. This year and the previous years, the City Hall provided support to the young people working in the educational system who do not reside in Chisinau by allocating by 2,000 lei a month for paying for accommodation,” said Andrei Pavaloi.
The Chisinau City Hall launched municipal program “Startup” intended for the young people who intend to start a business. The municipality provides up to 200,000 lei, while to young people who already launched a business with lent money, the municipality will offer assistance in paying interest for the past 12 months, in the amount of at most 100,000 lei. The Chisinau City Hall aims to launch business incubators to support young entrepreneurs and to offer working spaces to them. The General Division, together with the Chisinau Municipal Youth Center, is implementing the municipal program of grants for young people and youth organizations in the amount of 500,000 lei for 2022. There are seven youth organizations that implement programs for the youth in different areas.
Petru Grecu said the young people who want to become employed face different changes. That’s why activities should be found for each of them and their involvement should be stimulated. Opinion polls show the young people want more economic empowerment programs. The municipality already prepared a set of activities in the field, such as the municipal program “Startup for Young People and Migrants”. It is a program approved by the Municipal Youth Council. “We aim to encourage the young people to start a business so that they are motivated to remain in the country. The young people aged between 18 and 40, who want to start a business and have a business idea, need to follow the Chisinau City Hall’s website as extensive information, including the steps that need to be taken and the required documents, will be published there. The young people’s contribution is minimum 30% of the value of the investment project,” said the Center’s director.
Petru Grecu noted young people’s ideas are always taken into account when a program is being designed. A mobile application “E-youth” is being implemented to enable all the young people in Chisinau to have access to information about opportunities and services for the youth.
Chisinau competed for the European Youth Capital title in 2024. On the third attempt, the city reached the final. The European Youth Capital is an annual contest organized by European Youth Forum to encourage the implementation of youth development projects at the local level and to improve the relations between Europe and the local levels. Recently, the Chisinau City Hall asked that 2023 should be dedicated to the youth. According to Andrei Pavaloi, the year of youth will focus on the youth areas and all the activities planned so far. “The Year of Youth is about the involvement of all the young people and their promotion. We want to reach as many young people as possible for everyone to feel that they are inhabitants of the municipality of Chisinau,” stated Andrei Pavaloi.
Petru Grecu noted that earlier the young people weren’t a priority, including for the municipality of Chisinau. During the last two-three years, the activities have centered more on the youth. That’s why this initiative is welcomed by the Municipal Youth Center. It will stimulate each young person to become involved more, to do volunteer work and to take an active part in the life of society. “It is our year by which we aim to bring about a change for the community. In the year of youth, we will try to forge more ties with different players in the capital city. We will interact with students and local youth councils, student councils. We will ensure greater connection as we probably didn’t manage to do this by now,” he stated.
The Chisinau City Hall is currently working on the municipal youth sector development strategy for 2023-2028 that envisions a number of youth development activities in different key areas, such as services for the youth, youth participation and volunteering, entrepreneurship and youth health. The strategy that stipulates concrete measures for achieving the set objectives is to be approved by the Chisinau Municipal Council.
Milena Macarciuc, IPN