How foreign grants are helping
Alone in the last five years, the European Union has officially helped the Republic of Moldova with millions of euros just in the Culture, Science and Education section (for more details of the projects, please see this website: https://www.eu4moldova.md/en/sector/26). In addition, there is a lot of help from different Embassies who fund local non-governmental organisations to implement different projects. For example, the Centre for Independent Journalism annually organises the ‘Media Hackathon’, an event where the participants are encouraged to develop multimedia tools and applications, with which journalistic materials can be presented in an attractive and interactive format for readers. In 2019, the fifth edition of this event was organised, and, every year, it is becoming more and more innovative. The project was able to be implemented with the support of Internews Moldova, UK aid and USAID.
“This grant we received was a window of opportunity for our team. As journalists, we wanted our media consumers to be as educated as possible about the content they encounter. We therefore developed a Fake News Alert extension, which is up and running to date. Due to the grant, we could get on to the team of IT specialists and boost the promotion of the extension for local users. However, more importantly, we had a break from the daily grind and were able to use our journalistic experience for a greater use”. – Felicia Crețu, winner of Hackathon.
This is just one example, but there are a lot of events and projects in Moldova implemented only with the help of foreign grants awarded to different non-governmental organisations in our country. IT, journalism, civil society, law, education – all these fields obtain support from foreign grants, and all the young people involved can develop their skills and know more about different opportunities.
ERASMUS+ in Moldova
In 2014-2020, the European Union funded the Erasmus+ activities with 14.7 million euros (total budget of the programme). The National Erasmus+ Office in Moldova (NEO) is the organisation which assists the European Commission, the Executive Agency for Education, Culture, and Audiovisual, as well as the national authorities, in the implementation of the Erasmus+ Programme in the Higher Education area.
In this context, the programme offers four options to students and universities from the Republic of Moldova, including:
- International Credit Mobility – this supports student exchanges of between three and twelve months, as well as short-term staff exchanges; exchanges can be both from partner countries to the EU and vice-versa.
- International Degree Mobility – this provides scholarships to excellent students through Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees offered by a consortia of EU (and sometimes non-EU) universities.
- Capacity Building Projects – these support the modernisation of higher education.
- Jean Monnet Actions – these are intended to promote excellence in teaching and research in the field of EU studies worldwide (Modules, Chairs, Centres of Excellence), to foster dialogue between the academic world and policy-makers (Networks, Projects) and to support institutions which enhance teacher and training activities.
“We organise Youth Exchange or Training Courses from Erasmus+ at least once a year. Erasmus+ projects are a unique experience. You have a chance to talk to 30-45 participants from different countries from the European Union and the Eastern Partnership countries. We organise these types of projects because we share our culture values, skills, experience and thoughts with each other and have a familial atmosphere. It is interesting to see how participants come to Moldova and discover the country – everyone enjoys our tradition and food, and it is a good opportunity to also promote your country”, says Cristian Zara, Co-founder of Mentor Me (non-governmental organisation).
“This year, I took part in my first Erasmus project, in Armenia. I was surprised to see many familiar participants. During the 12 days in Armenia, I learned a lot; I developed my skills and made new friends. Now, I am spend time every day with finding new opportunities”. – Dan, Erasmus+ participant.
How to find opportunities in Moldova?
In Moldova, there are many opportunities, and it is easy to find them with the help of mass media. There are two media portals which publish opportunities, grants, internships and trainings daily. One of the portals is diez.md and the other, civic.md. For young people who want to participate in various training courses, to go with Erasmus+, or to win a grant, can just access those sites and look for the opportunity they want. In this way, all the organisations know, that if they need participants, they can write to those media channels and participants know where to find them. It is a win-win scheme.
“I started to look for opportunities from my first year of university. It is very easy to find them, as there are two places where you can search and read all the details. With the help of different programmes, I've been abroad several times and participated in training that helped me to develop my professional skills”, says Marcela Zămosteanu, journalist.
Opportunities for the future
During a conversation with Dr. Fritz Felgentreu, Member of the German Parliament and chairman of the Deutsch-Moldauisches Forum, we got the clear message that Germany will not stop supporting the youth and civil society in Moldova. In fact, the Deutsch-Moldauisches Forum is thinking about organising a study visit for young people from the cultural field to go on an exchange to Germany”. At the same time, Margot Tuzina, from the department of Public Relations in the European Commission in Germany, thinks that projects like the European Solidarity Corps, Open Media Hub, and Erasmus+ have a big and positive impact on the youth and the European Union will support youth in the near future, too
The Republic of Moldova’s young generation is lucky, because it has many opportunities: travelling abroad, talking with people from throughout Europe, going to different seminars, as well as attending workshops to develop their skills and to share information. When you analyse what was happening 20-30 years ago, it was very hard to find opportunities like this – today, it is much easier with the help of foreign grants.