Diaspora “returned” home for a week, despite of the pandemic

UNDP in Moldova
Sep 18 · 5 min read

Festivals with food and music, organized in centre of the village, cooking master classes, weaving sewing bees, hometown associations’ meetings, launching of projects under the applause of people of the village and those returned from abroad. All these activities organized for five years in Moldovan villages during August risked being indefinitely postponed. The pandemic called into question the possibility of organizing the Diaspora Days 2020 at local level.

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“This years’ pandemic makes us think in a non-standard way and transform a disadvantage into an advantage for the partner communities we are working with. Combining off-line activities with on-line activities allowed engaging more migrants in the activities of their communities or origin. The events’ agenda included launching of­­ projects and fundraising campaigns, all these leading to spectacular outcomes,” says Zinaida Adam, UNDP-Switzerland “Migration and local development” roject manager.

Thus, in August, 55 communities organized activities and brought home on-line more than 2000 diaspora members.

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“We really couldn’t imagine how to organize the Diaspora Days, given that even holding local meetings was difficult. But UNDP team offered us guidance in using a wide range of on-line tools. We thoroughly planned the on-line organization of the Bread Festival during Diaspora Days in compliance with all the pandemic requirements,” notes Tatiana Chiparus, president of hometown association of Taraclia village.

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In Taraclia, the villagers presented on-line masterclasses on cooking bread and twist bread, made films depicting the way from beans to the ready-made bread on the table ready for eating, and posted songs on hometown association’s Facebook page.

Also within the Diaspora Days the campaign “Promoter with love from home“ continued. For example, at the initiative of Mihaela Pascal-Pleșca, pupils from Carpineni village were provided with 50 school bags and school supplies. Other 50 promoters engaged in similar campaigns and actions for the benefit of people in their home communities.

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Those over 300 events covered lots of modalities — the imagination of local public authorities and hometown associations went beyond limits: community virtual tours, sports marathons, biddings and lotteries with local products, festivals, poetry and pictures contests, master-classes, tourism marches, etc.

The official part of the Diaspora Days was not left behind — 55 meetings of hometown associations were conducted. All activities were organized on-line with the participation of the residents and over 2000 natives living abroad.

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Local public authorities and hometown associations shared good news with the people who left abroad — 65 local projects were launched for the improvement of living conditions in the communities, projects that improve working conditions in the local agri-food markets, installation of street lighting systems, renovation of parks and recreation sites, organization of tourist trails and renovation of local museums, etc. To ensure the contribution of the local community and the diaspora, 20 on-line fundraising campaigns were launched.

“To launch the fundraising campaign, we organized an on-line bidding of local products. We put up for auction local products like dried fish, pickles, etc. A family living in France bought a pickle jar for 20 Euros. Money were transferred through the fundraising platform to be used for the renovating inclusive parks in Manta and Pașcani villages. Up to this moment we have already collected more than 50% of the target amount of 120 thousand lei,” says Violeta Hîncu, mayor of Manta community.

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Local economic development was the subject of 75 on-line events.

Young members of hometown associations brought additional energy to the organization of the Diaspora Days. They organized 45 activities for their peers from home and in the diaspora: photography contests, city quests, volunteered for arranging recreational spaces for young people, poetry recitation, etc.

“We organized a city quest for local youth, and for those from the diaspora. For me, it was an honour to collaborate with the adults in the hometown association. I gained an invaluable experience, and I contributed to bringing back home diaspora of Cimislia for a week,” says Marina Cobileanschi, who suggested and helped organizing the city quest in Cimislia.

At the same time, the National Employment Agency joined the activities of the Diaspora Days with the campaign “New directions — HOME”. Thus, during a month, 36 regional events were conducted. Moldovans, at home and abroad, were informed about vacancies and services provided.

At local level, the Diaspora Days started being organised in the Republic of Moldova in 2016 with support from UNDP and Switzerland and are part of the nationwide events carried out by the Bureau for Diaspora Relations.

Text: Tatiana Solonari

UNDP Moldova

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