Moldova: Community-led development means better quality of life
CHISINAU, Moldova - 22 May 2013 - For the first time in his life, 76 year-old Mihai Druta does not have to carry water 1.5 kilometres to his house. He now has his own water supply in his home, a sewer system, and garbage is collected regularly in his neighbourhood.
“It's a change that makes our life easier,” said Mihai Druta. “The price is reasonable and the service is good."
Four years ago, public services were a luxury for most residents of Telenesti, a town of 9,000 people, whose water supply and sewer systems had not been repaired in 20 years.
In response, the local government teamed up with community members to prioritize the most pressing development needs and come up with projects to address them.
The United Nations and the Government of Sweden supported local authorities as they developed the town’s development strategy together with the community, and helped find funds to purchase equipment for waste disposal, and to rehabilitate the water supply and sewage systems in Telenesti.
Together with other communities, the mayor plans to build a water treatment plant.
“We created 22 new jobs and laid the basis for infrastructure to provide public services,” said Mayor Telenesti, Vadim Lelic. “This also explains why the volume of investments in Telenesti is bigger than the annual budget of the town.”
“This brought new development partners in town who would otherwise not have been interested in us.”
“As mayor I got more courage. Thanks to several seminars and study visits abroad, I got new skills that helped me cope with the needs of citizens and mobilize them to solve together the problems of our town,” said Mr. Lelic.
“Telenesti will serve as a model for other towns and communities in the country, as this is the only way to ensure real local autonomy,” said Victoria Cujba, in charge of decentralization policy in the Government.
Another 70 communities in Moldova will prepare local socio economic development strategies with support from the UN and the Government of Sweden.
Decentralization in Moldova
The Government of Moldova began a process of decentralization in 2009, with support from UNDP, UN Women and the Government of Sweden. The country’s decentralization strategy gives more autonomy to local authorities when it comes to providing improved public services such as water, waste collection, sewage systems and infrastructure.
The strategy is based on the principle of including citizens in local development, providing equal opportunities for women and men, as well as vulnerable and marginalized groups such as the elderly, and people with disabilities.
“The United Nations ensures in this process that there are equal opportunities for all people in the community so that they can equally benefit from the reform,” said Kaarina Immonen, United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Republic of Moldova.
“A society can fully achieve its potential when men and women enjoy equal rights,” said Ambassador of Sweden in the Republic of Moldova, Ingrid Tersman. “When both have this opportunity, they can contribute to economic development at the local and national level as well as to strengthening of democracy.”