The YES (Youth Empowerment Summer) program is a result of the collaboration of the Peace Corps Moldova and the EcoVisio association in order to empower young people to take on leadership roles in rural communities.
The program began with an online training course for 27 teams from different communities in Moldova. The teams were made of two teenagers and an adult (teacher, librarian, etc.). Between June and July 2020, they participated in 10 trainings. The training course focused on providing young people and adults with knowledge and skills that would help them mobilize other members of the community to address an identified community need. The online sessions were facilitated by national consultants / experts in the fields of youth development, information and communication technologies, social media, gender, human rights, democracy and civic engagement. As a result, 44 young people (of whom at least 20 were from vulnerable families) and 27 adults increased their knowledge and understanding of youth development opportunities, community involvement techniques and the concept of learning through service. This part of the program was supported by a Peace Corps / USAID partnership.
Then, the members of the EcoVisio Facilitators team - Liliana Botnaru, Ion Ungureanu, Alexandru Lozinski and Violeta Frimu, who facilitated some of the sessions - decided to complete the process with a new series of trainings and a mentoring program for at least 20 teams to apply in practice the knowledge and skills acquired, developing a small project together with other actors. Among the requirements was the inclusion in the team of at least one young person who comes from a vulnerable or at risk social environment. Thus, young people would continue to develop their skills and remain involved despite the pandemic.
Between August and October, young people mentored by adults carried out at least 20 community projects: improving the local parks, organizing movie nights to collect resources, cleanup actions, etc.
The YES youth group from Cociulia village even participated in the meeting of the local council to request the mayor's support in carrying out the project of installing garbage bins in public places of the locality.
The YES youth from Volintiri village implemented the project "Clean village and healthy people" through which they aimed to reduce, reuse & recycle garbage and beautify their village.
Reusing: they organized a workshop for transforming old jeans into ecobags for shopping, and a workshop for transforming plastic bottles into flower vases.
Recycling: organized an activity of selecting plastic bottles from the village's landfill. The volunteers gathered a whole truck trailer of bottles, which were sent to recycling. The recycling even brought some revenue: 200 mdl, which were used to finance other activities.
Beautifying the village: the young people installed donation boxes in the shops to raise funds and collected twice as much money as they expected - 1800 mdl. They bought and planted rose bushes on the main street of the village. Moreover, they built some chairs from the used tires and installed them in the park.
YES & HAI Clubs
To ensure the continuity of the project, 16 YES Clubs were formed - small hubs to support youth activism. Adult participants of the YES program received additional training on how to create and maintain a youth club. The first members of the clubs were those teenagers who went through the YES training course and implemented community projects, thus demonstrating activism and responsibility.
It is noteworthy that in previous years, EcoVisio association also conducted the programHAI Club, which also resulted in forming youth clubs. Therefore, it was decided to unite the YES and HAI clubs in a single network, which young people from different parts of Moldova could use to support each other in local activism through exchanging tools, ideas and inspiration.
To facilitate the training process and the mentoring program, club teams would have needed constant access to effective technology. Thus, through a grant, 22 laptops were purchased and delivered to 22 YES and HAI Clubs with the help of the Peace Corps. These laptops will also be used to ensure access to education for disadvantaged members of the local community.
Claudia Ciolpan, Ina Larionov, Valentina Morozovschi (teachers)
village Cornești (Ungheni)
Svetlana Scurtu (librarian)
village Biești (r. Orhei)
Veronica Godoroja (teacher)
village Bahmut (r. Călărașii)
Alina Budaianu (teacher)
village Cimișeni (r. Criuleni)
Gymnazium ”Regele Mihai I„
Marieta Perciuliac (young activist)
village Cotiujenii Mari (r. Șoldănești)
Association of Natives „Răzeșii”
Larisa Rîbac (NGO worker)
village Ghetlova (r. Orhei)
Ghetlova Community Social Assistance Center
Nelea Stavila (head of the Community Center)
village Sipoteni (r. Călărași)
Theoretical Lyceum ”Mihai Eminescu”
Alina Chitoroaga (young activist)
Theoretical Lyceum ”Miron Costin”
Rodica Bodgan (teacher)
village Cotova (r. Drochia)
HAI Club ”Cotova-Impact”
HAI Club ”Amici”
village Miclești (r. Criuleni)
Hai Club Miclești
village Mereni (r. Anenii Noi)
HAI Club Mereni
village Ișnovăț (r. Criuleni)
HAI Club ”Hai Ișnovăț”
village Zgurița (r. Drochia)
HAI Club ”Zgurița Impact”
Ce mai fac cluburile?
The YES program was very popular - in the village of Sălcuța, 2 youth clubs of different ages were formed, with youth from 6th and 10th grade. However, in a few months they merged and formed a unique and original club - eLearners. Despite the age difference, the two groups are very friendly, help each other and learn from each other.
The youth club from Ghetlova village has been helping old people at their homes.
The "Merry Elephant" Club from Vărzărești village is in the process of applying for a bicycle parking project for their school.
This activity was partially funded by a grant from the US State Department. The opinions, findings and conclusions in the article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the US State Department.
Four locations, 3500 visitors, 145 exhibitors, a great variety of delicious and healthy products and a sense of unity with people, even from a social distance. These ingredients have formed the basis of the fabulous IarmarEco Caravan, a special edition of our traditional fair.
*Chisinau, October 4
Caravan started on October 4 in Chisinau, where we brought together a lot of wonderful people and natural products. Then, on October 10, we arrived in Rezina in a beautiful bus decorated with the image of the event, where we discovered a thriving community of national craftsmen and regional initiatives. Four days later, on October 14, residents of Singerei Noi, Singerei district, had the opportunity to visit IarmarEco, right on the Foundation day of the village, and the last event took place on a sunny day, October 18, in the city of the sun - Ialoveni.
*Rezina, October 10
In addition to natural products, handicrafts and handmade objects, visitors of the Caravan also discovered initiatives that care for the environment, learned about organic farming, brought electronic and plastic waste for recycling and exchanged books. Tastings, workshops for adults and children, lottery and prize contests have been an integral part of the event, as well as the photo area for beautiful memories.
*Singereii Noi, October 14
"Although we hesitated a lot due to the pandemic, IarmarEco Caravan started from the desire to help as many producers as possible to sell their products and create long-term relationships with customers, especially in this challenging year. The impressions of the exhibitors, visitors and all the guests, showed that the natural products are in increasing demand, and the events that focus on care for the environment are more and more appreciated by the Moldovans”, mentioned Tatiana Bogaci, IarmarEco coordinator.
*Ialoveni, October 18
Without professionals, openness and outside help, it would have been almost impossible to enjoy an event like IarmarEco Caravan! Therefore, we would like to thank our sponsors, local partners and media partners for all the support in organizing IarmarEco which seemed impossible in 2020, but which will remain in the history of EcoVisio as one of the most soulful events!
IarmarEco 2020 Caravan is organized by EcoVisio and funded by the Development Facility of the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE DF) under the EU4Business initiative, IM Swedish Development Partner and Sweden. Local partners: Ialoveni City Hall, Rezina City Hall, Sîngereii Noi City Hall and Praetura Buiucani
A forest trail is a path crossing a forest, arranged and designed to offer a certain experience: to be the shortest way, or to be the destination itself, with an itinerary created for exploration.
The Rîşcova - Ivancea Lake trail aims to explore the full potential of the forest that connects the Criuleni and Orhei districts, as well as the community living around this forest. In fact, it will be an opportunity to get off the beaten track, in order to observe the local fauna and flora, to practice outdoor activities or to simply enjoy the nature.
Preparations for the trail set-up began in 2019, as an EcoVisio initiative and with the financial support of the US Forest Service. Until now, a small group of locals and members of the EcoVisio team have made several "reconnaissance" visits in the forest, looking for the most attractive sights and points of interest. With the route now being established, the trail was marked with help of the children of the Forest Explorers Club from Rîșcova, while two information panels were installed on the both ends of the trail. The Rîşcova-Ivancea lake forest trail was opened for hiking starting June 9th 2019.
The 5 km route will cross the forest between Rîșcova and Ivancea, an oak forest that is part of the larger body of the Ivancea forest, which is approximately 100 years old and covers an area of ~ 500 ha. This whole segment of forest is part of the National Park Orhei. The trail can be crossed both on foot and by bike, and will be accessible for experienced hikers, as well as beginners. The forest trail will have two starting points: one next to the church in the Rîșcova village, and the other will be located on the shore of Ivancea Lake, where a beautiful sight of the lake and the afar off village is revealed.
It’s a bit unfair that our favorite event IarmarEco is not only once a year, but also only in Chisinau. So, in 2018, we invited our alumni to apply for holding a Regional IarmarEco in their locality. The offers underwent a selection process, and the two “winning” ones received a small support from EcoVisio:
1. IarmarEco Regional Todirești - 26th of August 2018 - was organized by HarapAlb alumni from village Todirești, Ungheni district, under the leadership of Maria Ianachi, Andreea Ciochina and Alina Sula in the park "Coada Rîpei" and hosted around 200 visitors, mostly locals: women, men, many children and youth, and a few guests from other villages and cities of Moldova. One of the highlights was that the young organizers were selling homemade lemonade as a means of fundraising for a swing in the community park.
2. IarmarEco Regional ”Medogon” - 8th of September 2018 - was organized by ActiveOrganic alumna, Elena Stepanova, at the “Poiata” pension in village Goian, Dubăsari district. The festival hosted around 50 visitors, mostly locals: women, men, youth and children, and a few guests from the cities of Tiraspol and Chișinău. The event had a goal to inform the visitors about the benefits of honey products and the process of honey extraction. The guests also could have a taste of the local culture and folklore.
“Hai Moldova” (“Come on, Moldova”) is a wide-reaching social project from Moldova and a part of the international clean-up movement “Let’s Do It! World”. It was launched by a team of independent volunteers who organized several national cleanups with up to 120,000 participants in 2010-2012, then took a six-year break and was officially re-launched in partnership with EcoVisio in 2018. The base for the close collaboration was the shared values and topics of interests - community engagement, education for sustainable development, waste management, etc.
While the official World and National Cleanup Day was on September 15, 2018, in Moldova the activities all around the country took place in between September 14-28, and involved - thanks to about 120 local coordinators - 77,343 people in about 1000 localities. For the first time, the trash - where possible - was collected into recyclable (metal, paper, plastic, glass) and non-recyclable fractions.
The Atlas of Organic Agriculture in the Republic of Moldova has been launched. The Project ”Rural Agroecological Resilience Hub ”, financially supported by the Small Grants Program of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by AO EcoVisio, launched the Atlas of Organic Agriculture in the Republic of Moldova. The Atlas is an electronic map indicating the certified producers of organic agricultural products in Moldova.
Vitalie Pintilei, consultant of the ”Agrifood” Department within Ecovisio says that the Atlas contains information about each ECO certified producer operating on the territory of the Republic of Moldova; the land owned, the crops that was grown, the certification body that issued the ECO certificate and information about ECO processors and producers of processed agricultural products. The platform provides current information in the reference year and will be updated each year based on up-to-date information. At the same time, the Atlas contains several filters for selecting data combinations, which makes it easier to access the necessary information.
According to Daniela Fornea, the coordinator of the “Agrifood” department, the product is intended for state institutions, actors in the field of environmental protection and human health, but also for civil society representatives, who need this information. Daniela Fornea underlined that the Atlas was made with the financial support of the Small Grants Program of the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
In the Republic of Moldova there are 151 agricultural producers who hold ECO certificates for about 50 agricultural crops. The area cultivated with organic crops is estimated at about 26 thousand hectares.
EcoVisio is a non-governmental organization that promotes environmentally friendly practices, healthy living and develops projects in this regard, one of which is the "Agrifood" Department, which promotes eco-friendly agricultural practices. EcoVisio has been operating in Moldova since 2013.
Out of the desire to support those who fight daily with the coronavirus pandemic, on April 16 and 17, 2020, our association donated various materials to hospitals in Balti and Causeni, the first medical institutions outside of Chisinau that accepted patients infected with COVID-19 .
During the period when our donations arrived, a total of 130 patients diagnosed or with symptoms of COVID-19 infection were hospitalized in these medical institutions. At the same time, 30% of the medical staff of the Causeni hospital was infected with the new coronavirus, while in Balti, 18 medical workers were tested positive.
`Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been observing how more and more doctors get sick. So we decided that even though we are a sustainable development organization, we need to get involved and contribute medical equipment to protect hospital employees. Only if the medical staff is protected can we all be safe`, says Margareta Cartira, the initiator of the action from EcoVisio.
EcoVisio in solidarity with the fight against COVID-19 - Causeni District Hospital
On 16 april, in solidarity with those at the frontline against the new coronavirus, the EcoVisio team sent a stock of materials to the District Hospital ‘Ana și Alexandru’ in Căușeni. From our talks with hospital representatives, it became clear that in addition to protective equipment for their medical personnel, they were also lacking waste containers and bags, in order to keep up with the vast amounts of waste being produced during this time. Thus, in addition to eco-sanitisers and protective wear (masks, gowns, gloves and shoe covers), EcoVisio’s donation also included waste bags for general waste, as well as special bags for medical waste, and 30 individual waste containers for the patients.
`During this period a large number of infected waste is collected, and because of this we need more special bags, which are quite expensive. Also, according to the regulation on medical waste, each infected patient must have his/her own waste container`, said Ion Arsenie Ciobanu, doctor and communication specialist at the District Hospital `Ana and Alexandru`, Causeni.
After the end of the quarantine period, we plan to return to the hospital in Causeni with a training on the management of different types of waste, as well as ways to save resources. Following this pilot training in Causeni, the action could be continued in more medical institutions across the country.
The EcoVisio initiative continued at the Municipal Clinical Hospital in Balti
On April 17th, EcoVisio also supported the Balti Municipal Hospital. Thus, the Balti Hospital received ecological disinfectant, protection materials (masks, gowns, gloves and shoe covers), trash bags for general and for infectious waste, as well as 3 big and 10 small waste bins. Recently, the hospital has opened a second ward for patients suffering from coronavirus, and all these products will be directed there.
We thank the medical workers for their dedication and courage, being on the very front line! It is an honor for us to be able to support them at least a bit!
In collaboration with Individuell Människohjälp (IM Swedish Development Partners), in 2018 EcoVisio started building its capacity in environmental mainstreaming. Over a course of 10 months EcoVisio team offered 2 trainings on this topic to 15 NGOs working on empowering and supporting people with disabilities. Out of those, 6 organizations were selected for a more detailed ‘greening up’ audit and consultancy on developing practical steps to make their operations more environmentally friendly. Following a site visit, each organization received a report detailing current practices as well as recommendations for environmental mainstreaming. There were 3 main areas analyzed:
Office level assessment (resource management, energy efficiency, waste management, etc)
Activities level assessment (greening up of events, projects, promotional materials, etc.) Additional information and consultancy was offered on specific topics, based on each organization’s priorities.
As a result, participating organizations started introducing new practices (ex. selective waste collection, installing energy efficient windows, minimizing environmental impact of events, developing community eco-projects like recycling and tree-planting).
Another environmental mainstreaming training was organized for representatives of UN Agencies following a request from UNDP. It focused on greening up of events, seminars, conferences
”Future Local Leaders”, co-organized by Hai Moldova initiative and EcoVisio, and funded by US Embassy, is a program designed to develop leadership skills and offer basic knowledge on waste management & sustainable development for youth from all regions of Moldova. The ultimate goal is to increase civic engagement and democratic action and create a national network of Hai Moldova ambassadors.
The program consists of four trainings, three of which took place at the end of August at the EcoVisio Training Center in Riscova and were attended by 72 teenagers from 25 districts of Moldova (including Transnistria). Besides the sessions on leadership and waste management, they were also prepared for their ”test” - organizing the World Cleanup Day 2018 (15.09.18) in Moldova. The trainers helped them build a strategy of how to engage the local community, involving public administration, NGOs, private sector and educational institutions. Thanks to these young people, the National Cleanup Day engaged 77 thousands of volunteers from all over the country.
The pilot project ”Separate Waste Collection in schools” is a part of the ”Keep it Clean” plan following the ”World Clean-up Day” by Hai Moldova & EcoVisio. It’s purpose is to test separate waste collection in 10 different schools throughout Moldova, from all the regions: 2 schools from the North, 3 from the Center, 2 from the South and 3 from Chisinau. Of these, 3 schools are from villages.
The project consists of the following stages:
1. October - November 2018: A public call was made where schools could apply and 10 schools were selected: from Bălți, Făleștii Noi, Ungheni, Chișinău, Doroțcaia, Rîșcova, Leova și Tărăclia. One of the most important criteria of selection was the existence of a company that could evacuate the trash to be later recycled.
2. November 2018: A training where 2 pupils and one teacher from each selected school were motivated and instructed on ways to coordinate the separate waste collection in their schools.
5. May 2019: Schools reporting back to the team regarding their results: how much paper and plastic they collected, the activities they organised within the project: contests, games and various creative activities such as drawings and videos, trainings, lessons and others.
The project "Separate waste collection in schools" is implemented by Hai Moldova and EcoVisio, with support from Sweden.
Cătălina Hasnaș (mun. Chișinău, Development Region CENTER: +373 60296296
Nadejda Cebotari (Development Region NORTH, Transnistria): +373 60112929
Taisia Camenscic (Development Region SOUTH, Găgăuzia): +373 79385446
In the autumn of 2018, after their previous owner was unable to afford their upkeep, four healthy and capable horses were headed to the slaughterhouse. In light of this news, Valeriu Istrati and Kristina Jakot felt they had no choice but to rescue those horses. This put the two young dreamers on the road with 4 horses, until they were warmly welcomed by the EcoVillage Moldova community in the village of Rîșcova, Criuleni district.
Short-term, the Horse Sanctuary aims to create an environment where the horses can live a happy, fulfilled life, having at their disposal a stable, an arena for safe interaction and practicing natural horsemanship, and a pasture.
The long-term goal is to create a foundation for promoting natural horsemanship and better care for horses in general, so that other horses in Moldova don’t end up at the slaughterhouse, like the fate almost bestowed upon the Sanctuary’s four horses.
The EcoVillage Moldova community in Rîșcova made the horses and their carers really feel at home. With extra support provided by EcoVisio, the Horse Sanctuary team was able to build a big part of the infrastructure needed, learning more along the way about how to create a safe and happy environment for horses, with a long-term mission to promote natural horsemanship across the country.
The development of the Horse Sanctuary was also possible through the kind and generous support of those who donated through the GlobalGiving platform, as well as the many volunteers, supporters, friends and family who lended a helping hand when most needed.
Thanks to all these wonderful contributions, the Horse Sanctuary now has a stable, a small winter paddock and an arena.
The team is currently working on gathering the funds to finish and furnish the rooms above the stable for hosting volunteers and visitors and to add the last major part of the infrastructure - fencing approx. 2 hectares of pasture for the horses to finally be able to roam free, as they naturally should.
Since the Horse Sanctuary Rîșcova was established, it has organized close to 60 events, meetings, workshops, seminars, group visits and even a themed festival in 2019.
Like most things in 2020, the Horse Sanctuary’s activity was also impacted by the global pandemic. This came at an already challenging time, due to one of the country's longest droughts. But the team remained committed to their mission, knowing that the power of community is even stronger in these times of hardship, be it in online or offline form.
In September 2020, Valeriu adapted to the new context by going on a month-long expedition across the country with the four horses, in search of the perfect pasture for them to graze. This trip was for and about the horses, who in their entire lives had only seen a few streets from the same two villages and the same grass field in Rîșcova. After 3 and a half weeks, they found the ideal pasture on the banks of Dniester river - 3 rivers downstream from home - full of lush green grass that our four travelling horses were delighted to graze.
At the end of September, the Horse Sanctuary launched their second online crowdfunding campaign (link further below), with a goal to raise $18,000 for a long-term nationwide natural horsemanship project. With the help of natural horsemanship experts from Europe and the US, Valeriu plans to train at least 10 local practitioners as multipliers, in order to improve the lives of 100 horses from Moldovan villages and their owners over the next 2 years.
This will build a small community of natural horsemanship practitioners in Moldova, providing a healthy alternative for horse communication and education. On a smaller scale, these individual communities can become pillars of resilience for the villages.
If you want to help turn this project into reality, you can make a donation via GlobalGiving
If you are interested in our cause, make sure to follow Horse Sanctuary Rîșcova on Facebook and as travel restrictions ease, come pay us a visit at EcoVillage Moldova! Agnes, Casper, Yuki and Wise (and maybe some new horses as well) will be happy to meet you!
Have some ideas for our little Horse Sanctuary? Drop us a line at
“BusinessCool” Accelerator for social entrepreneurship is a long-term non-residential program, specially designed to strengthen the capacity of 25 local social enterprises from the Republic of Moldova. The program is initiated with the aim of increasing and improving the positive impact of the activity of the entrepreneurs and the companies they run or are employed.
1 initiation workshop (bootcamp), with a duration of 3 days, which will include a set of sessions, focused on the development of social enterprises, during which the participants will apply tools for diagnosing their own business at the current stage and for business development;
5 thematic seminars, on the topics relevant for the beneficiaries of the program, according to the real needs identified by them during the application period;
4 study visits to local and international model social enterprises;
3 group coaching sessions in the form of group work meetings, on topics selected in agreement with the participants, according to the most complex issues they face;
Individual mentoring sessions, depending on the needs of the beneficiaries;
Micro-grant competition, with the opportunity for the participants to apply for a small financing for the development of their business (max. 1000 EUR);
Elaboration and implementation by participants of an individual initiative on the development of their own business;
Development and launch of an online platform for local social entrepreneurs - participants will be involved in the brainstorming process regarding the development of the online platform designed to promote and/or sell local social products and services;
The official closing ceremony of the program within the framework of IarmarEco - a two-day event dedicated to the promotion of environmental initiatives and social entrepreneurship in Moldova - where participants will present their projects and will be rewarded for the results of activities within the accelerator.
OBJECTIVES AND BENEFITS
“BusinessCool” Accelerator for Social Entrepreneurship is a program designed to accelerate the growth of local social enterprises under development, with the aim of increasing and improving the positive impact of their activity.
The specific objectives pursued by this program are:
increasing the level of entrepreneurial and managerial competencies and skills of managers and staff of social enterprises,
encouraging the implementation of innovative methods of social enterprises management,
creating collaborative bridges with internal and external partners,
increasing the competitiveness of social enterprises, by supporting the adaptation of the offer to the demands of the market or the development of products and services requested by consumers.
Benefits for participants:
improving entrepreneurial and managerial skills
group coaching and individual mentoring
new opportunities for promotion and sales
identification of opportunities for new business development
CALENDAR: Program duration: March - December 2020
Registration and selection of participants
Initiation workshop (bootcamp) / Study visit to EcoVillage Moldova - an ecological community in organic evolution from Riscova village: 11 - 13 September 2020
Training and mentoring program (thematic seminars, study visits, group coaching sessions, individual mentoring sessions): September - December 2020
Micro-grant competition: November - December 2020
Implementation by the participants of the individual initiatives on development of their own businesses: September - December 2020
Development of the online platform for local social entrepreneurs: March - October 2020
Closing ceremony: December 2020
The acceleration program is intended for small business founders and their team members, who:
carry on non-profit or for-profit business activity, including unregistered
have a duration of activity of at least 1 year
have registered sales from the activity
carry on an activity aimed at improving the living conditions, as well as providing opportunities for people from disadvantaged categories of population, by strengthening economic and social cohesion, including at the level of the local authorities, through employment, development of social services in the interest of the community and increasing social inclusion
offer a product/service with a positive ecological or social impact
operate in areas related to organic agriculture, organic food production, healthy nutrition, energy efficiency, renewable energy, conscious consumption, urban/rural development, ecological transport, environmental protection, waste management, tourism and active lifestyle , educational services, social services, etc.
are eager to develop their business, by diversifying their activity, increasing the quality of the products/services offered, improving the operational process, increasing the quality of company management etc.
By registering in the program, the participants undertake to participate in at least 80% of the activities of the program *, throughout the term.
* The events can be attended by both the entrepreneurs who submitted the application and their representatives/employees working in the fields related to training topics.
The application deadline is September 5, 2020, 11:59 pm. Selected participants will be notified by email and by phone by September 7, 2020.
LOCATION: Most of the activities within the program will be organized offline, in Chisinau or at the Ecological Training Center in Riscova village, Orhei district.
COST OF PARTICIPATION
Participation in the program does not require financial means for the participants, but it does require time to be involved in at least 80% of the activities of the program. All costs related to organization and implementation of the program are covered by the organizer. The accelerator participants should arrange at their own expense only the transport to the training location.
CONTACTS: Tatiana Bogaci, program coordinator, telephone: 079801012, email:
The "BusinessCool" Accelerator for social entrepreneurship is implemented by EcoVisio with support from EFSE Entrepreneurship Academy, funded by the EU4Business initiative of the European Union, and from LED Moldova Foundation (Liechtenstein Development Services), in partnership with the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Program (GEF SGP), implemented by UNDP Moldova and the Slovak FDA Program. This event contributes to the development of a multilateral initiative - the Agribusiness Incubator implemented by Katalyst and EcoVisio in cooperation with the Slovak Center for Community Development with the support of SlovakAid.
In 2018, one of our goals was to share our passion towards a healthy and eco-responsible diet - a process that was started through the #FoodIsLove campaign. The idea behind the campaign is to shift our perception on the food we consume, understanding it not as the result of hunger and cravings, but also as love - for ourselves, for the communities that produce it, and not least of all, for the planet.
The campaign consisted so far of the following elements:
Good Food from Good People video series
At the end of the year 2018 we started production on our video series 'Good Food from Good People', meant to promote local farmers, food producers and processors who represent EcoVisio's values. Five protagonists were selected, each of whom will star in a short video (90 seconds) showcasing their main products, the work involved and the brand's backstory. Aside from supporting our #FoodIsLove campaign, these videos are also meant to be a valuable promotional tool for the protagonists themselves.
Potato Fest (October 28, 2018) was co-organized with the town hall and the locals of village Riscova (specializing in potatoes) in order to celebrate this underappreciated vegetable, show how many varieties are available and to promote the local producers.
The message of our #FoodIsLove campaign is simple and applies to everyone: make the food you eat into a statement of love, both to yourself and to the planet. In order to get this simple message across to more people, we've created a hand-painted 3x4m artwall with the help of an activEco alumna. The artwall focuses on the synergy between us, plant-based foods and the planet as a whole. It was displayed during the 2 days of IarmarEco, where it was very popular as a photo backdrop.
activEco Challenge ”Food for Thought”
A weekend activEco seminar ”Food for Thought” (September 28-30, 2018) was designed to help its participants to build their relationship with food, based on simplicity, balance and trust towards where it comes from.
Fruit Fest Moldova
On August 18, 2018, Chișinău’s UTM park hosted the first edition of Fruit Fest Moldova, an event meant to encourage fruit consumption as part of a healthy diet. Fruit Fest brought together vendors from different parts of the country, all showcasing their good, clean and nutritious produce. Promoting local farmers was another big motivation behind the event, in order to remind buyers that fruits are one of Moldova's best riches. Alongside fresh produce, the visitors also got to choose from a variety of jams, honey, snacks, cosmetic products, as well as fun activities for all ages.
Three hang-outs that took place in April-September 2018, giving the vegans of Moldova the opportunity to spend time together, get to know each other better, savour various vegan dishes, learn from special guest-experts, and - why not - introduce new people to the topic!
We call it the coolest, fairest and most eco-friendly bazar in Chișinău:
It's cool because the things ”on sale” are donated by people, so they cover all sizes, styles and uses. They also come with a big sentimental and historical value, as they have witnessed the passing of time and the lives of their previous owner(s).
It’s fair because all the transactions at the FreeShop are moneyless. In fact, there are no conditions whatsoever: you just take what you like, as long as you plan to use it. It’s not a swap system, nor does it require a donation. This makes it one of the few social contexts where everyone is equal in rights and possibilities to acquire products.
It’s eco-friendly because it extends the life of objects which aren’t being used anymore, instead of having them end up in the trash. Plus, it’s a great alternative to supporting the fashion industry, whose impact on the environment is terrible.
In other words, anytime an EcoVisio FreeShop is coming up, you can tidy up your closets and drawers. Bring the things you don’t need or like to the event, where they will be offered for free to anyone who wants them. You can also come to the FreeShop if you want some new stuff on a budget, regardless if you bring anything or not. Everything left at the end of our FreeShops gets donated to various charity organizations.
EcoVisio FreeShop is mainly centered around clothing & accessories, since a lot of advertising and excessive shopping revolves around it. Progressively, we’ve started to open it up to other types of objects as well, such as cosmetic products and gifts.
A brief history of the EcoVisio FreeShop
EcoVisio’s Freeshop was started in September 2018 by Clara, our Communications Coordinator, as a small initiative within IarmarEco. Its popularity and high demand led it to becoming a recurring event, with 3 more following by the end of the year. We organized both indoors & outdoors editions, attracting the support of like-minded businesses and CSOs in Chișinău.
The first edition in 2019 was a special one, where people could bring their unwanted presents for others to adopt. This idea came as a response to the consumerism ingrained in the holiday season, but also to raise awareness on how we need to put more thought into the presents we give to people.
This particular FreeShop was a huge success, with around 100 people attending and many objects donated and adopted on the spot. It was a partnership between EcoVisio and several NGOs from Moldova and Germany, who knew and supported the initiative.
We will continue to organize FreeShops as a platform to bring people together and encourage recycling/reusage. Our goal is to engage even more people and communities from all regions and social backgrounds. A successful FreeShop to us is one where people from all walks of life are ‘shopping’ side by side, in a space where money is not necessary.
The project "German-Ukrainian-Moldovan pupil exchange and environmental expertise along the Danube: an effective way of sustainable development of the Ukrainian Danube" - or Danube Youth EcoLab - took place in spring 2018, in collaboration between EcoVisio in Moldova and ARIPR in Ukraine, with the support of Childfund Deutschland and the Non-Governmental Fund of the Federal Land Baden-Württemberg.
For Moldova, that meant that 24 young people aged 14-16 from four different schools in Comrat, Gagauzia took part in several training courses, studying about sustainability, responsible consumption and waste prevention. As a part of the program, they developed and implemented their own small eco project ideas. The participants planted 40 fruit trees in one of the schoolyards, organized a flashmob, cleaned up the Comrat forest, created 5 social video spots to show how they perceive current ecological problems and solutions. Moreover, they got a chance to go into an excursion to Ismail, Ukraine, where they learned about waste recycling.
As a result, the participants have overcome language barriers, became friends and managed to stay in touch for further cooperation.