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Silvia Bicenco: The authorities must understand that NGOs don’t compete with the governmental sector
Date: 28.09.2015   

The European East Foundation (EEF) claims that Moldovan NGOs are increasingly active within the community development projects and wants active participation of international organizations during Civic Fest.

What was the latest activity, which you participated in as a volunteer?

There are two weeks I am implementing, as a graduate of the Muskie Master Program, funded by US State Department, the project “Dezvoltă liderul din tine” (Develop yourself as a leader) designed for young people aged between 17 and 20 years. The project includes the delivery to youth of leadership trainings, providing support to pupils and their teachers. I am implementing this project with my fellow graduate entirely voluntarily.

What is the most important project you've done this year within the organization you represent?

The “Harmonization of health policies of Moldova and Georgia with the EU” project. It is funded by the European Union and co-funded by the Swedish Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. The action aims to help the improvement of conditions for Georgian and Moldovan citizens by supporting transparent convergence with EU policies in the field of sanitary and phytosanitary areas. Under the initiative we will strive to increase the stakeholders’ understanding of the need for adherence to sanitary and phytosanitary standards and to contribute to improved food security legislation in both countries.

What are the actions undertaken by the Moldovan NGOs which have enjoyed the local public support?

For example, within the above-mentioned project I am managing, in Cahul, due to the joint efforts of Consumer Assistance Centre set up under the Contact Cahul NGO in partnership with the Town Hall a road market working in anti-sanitary conditions was liquidated.

Do you consider that last year's political events are affecting the civil society involvement within the community development actions?

Of course, politics affect both the civil society, as any person in a society. Anyway, I'm proud of all  of the NGOs that do not allow themselves to be affected by the political crisis in the country, on the contrary they become more active in solving numerous community issues.

In the last time we have witnessed an increasing involvement of women in decision-making process, an environment until recently only available to men. What are the next steps towards achieving maximum efficiency of gender- based equality?

More attention should be paid to teenage girls, reach soon decision-making statuses for themselves, their families and their country. For example, the same leadership training we talked about earlier comes to push and encourage young women to become leaders within their societies and to become more involved in decision making processes.

What European country could serve as an example to follow for Moldova concerning gender- based equal opportunities?

Sweden. I just recently returned from there and I was impressed by the number of women drivers of buses, trains and scholars, ambassadors and ministers. In this context, it is admirable that the successively for the position of Ambassadors to Moldova from Sweden are designated women.

Which are those three food security projects in Moldova able to inspire you?

There aren’t three separate projects in this area, but there are three Centers for Consumer Assistance (CCA), we have created with the support of the NGOs from/in Cahul and Balti, Chisinau, within the “Harmonization of health policies of Moldova and Georgia with the EU” project.

NGO’s representatives working in the CCAs provide support, advice and guides consumers addressing the centers with various complaints regarding the altered, expired products, etc. Besides CCA sites there is a team of lawyers offering free consultations to consumers at their request. Also, a team of monitors moving to the commercial units on the basis of consumer complaints in order to take samples for laboratory analysis. More details about the projects, you’re kindly invited to find at portal.

What are the most important problems and solutions concerning the food security in Moldova?

With the solutions it is more complicated. For this reason there is a draft, to catalyze a more active consumer participation. Thus, we want to alert also the national agencies working in this field, involving them in finding solutions for ensuring food security. The problems are multiple: un-proper storage conditions of products, marketing of altered or expired products, the glaze volume on frozen products. Often we pay for iced water and not for meat or fish. Also, another problem is improper labeling. Besides the text on the label is very small, it neither indicates full content of the product.

We would like you to comment on Civic Fest annual event usefulness for Moldovan NGOs and civil society.

I always welcome such events because they’re providing space for national non-governmental sector to share ideas, successes and obstacles they’re facing. It would be wonderful if the government representatives would attend all the panel discussions, workshops and therefore hear the NGO’s voice.

Thus, their participation will not be limited only to opening and closing the event. Simply listening to and communicating with the nonprofit sector, the public authorities will be convinced that NGOs can be helpful in solving many problems in our society and they do not compete with the governmental sector. I am glad EEF supports such activities.

What are you expectations from the future editions of Civic Fest?

I would like to see an increasing interest and active participation from international NGOs. This would ensure a flow of ideas and solutions to problems and a share of best practices in various fields.


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