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European Union awarded grants to 50 civil society organisations to improve social accountability mechanisms in 10 districts of the Republic of Moldova

50 Civil society organisations from Cahul, Comrat, Cimișlia, Fălești, Florești, Glodeni, Râșcani, Strășeni, Ștefan Vodă, Telenești were awarded grants for small scale projects worth €775,000. This grant programme is funded by the European Union and managed by the European Association for Local Democracy (ALDA) and the Czech NGO People in Need (PIN) within the project EU4Accountability. Over the next months, the CSOs involved in the project will be accompanied to monitor public policy, implement social accountability mechanisms, conduct public hearings and support exchanges of experience and best practices.

At the grants award ceremony hosted at the Europe Café, Jānis Mažeiks, the Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova, stated: “The financial support offered today by the European Union will allow CSOs to strengthen their efforts to improve democratic participation and respond to the concrete needs of citizens (…). This will include public campaigns to raise awareness of the budget process, civic engagement to monitor public spending and policy-making, and participatory budget consultations – all to get citizens and local authorities to jointly choose the investments that are most needed in their communities. I would like to congratulate the civil society organisations awarded grants under the EU4Accountability action and thank them for their dedication to promoting social responsibility in the Republic of Moldova. With your country’s new EU candidacy role, the importance of civil society in moving forward on the accession path is even more evident.”

Social accountability refers to the ability of citizens to exercise their rights to hold the public authorities to account so they implement public policies that include inputs from the civil society. Social accountability leads to more responsive governance, but also to more effective governance and development. It especially helps empower communities and listen to the needs of the most vulnerable people in society. Social accountability tools are to the benefit of all citizens and help create an effective and democratic governance system that leaves no one behind.

Civil society organisations from Cahul, Comrat, Fălești, Glodeni and Râșcani, districts, selected to be part of the project, have already decided what kind of ideas and practices on social responsibility to apply in their communities. They will be supported by People in Need Moldova team that will guide the processes and encourage dialogue between NGOs and local public authorities (LPAs) in the 5 districts. For example, in the Glodeni district, the NGO “Solidarii neamului” will strengthen the capacities of local NGOs so that they have the knowledge and techniques to monitor the work of LPAs. The NGO “Baștina” in Rascani district will develop civic spirit among citizens so that local civil society can be more involved in decision-making and put pressure on the authorities to take into account the voice of the inhabitants and the priorities they put forward.

Some of the public associations are planning to organise study visits to the country to see and discuss with representatives of local authorities in other districts who are practising participatory budgeting, and the NGO “Moștenitorii” is planning a visit to Romania to learn from the experience of their colleagues in the European Union on social responsibility. Other NGOs will simulate elections, but in a different way – an initiative group will identify a problem in the village, prepare the budget and argue why this problem needs to be solved, present the proposed solution to the villagers, and at the end the citizens will vote. This process will demonstrate to villagers how democracy works and what effective government means, motivating them to be active at community level. At the same time, some of the civil society organisations selected in the EU4Accountability project will receive co-funding to engage in participatory budgeting projects. This diversity of ideas and practices, which will be applied in the target districts of the project, shows the openness of civil society to processes related to social accountability and maps the changes and improvements that will come at community level with the support of the European Union.