UNDP Moldova
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UNDP Moldova

Migration on the radar of Moldovan town halls

Persons responsible for migration at town halls-level bridge persons born in a certain community.

Vorniceni village in Straseni district faces massive emigration of its residents, as other hundreds of Moldovan communities.

”Initially, we did not know how to involve people who left the village

The migration profile of Vorniceni village was created by UNDP based on the data collected by the person responsible for migration. Similar profiles were created in all 38 beneficiary communities.
Vasile Tofan, mayor of Vorniceni.

“Initially we did not know how to engage people in local development considering they had have left the village more than 20 years ago. We were very skeptical. But this feeling turned into confidence. Step by step, we succeeded to ‘bring back’ more than 30% of migrants, at least temporarily,” said the mayor of Vorniceni, Vasile Tofan.

New appointments in the town hall — persons responsible for migration

Vasile Tofan, as other mayors, realizes that migration is a phenomenon that exists and should be accepted as such, but that can be used by benefiting from the ideas, experience as well as voluntary contributions of those who left in other communities or countries. This is possible only if there is trust in local government. That is why the meetings of the local council became accessible on social media, and the town hall webpage is always updated with information of public interest.

Oxana Maciuca, Project Manager, UNDP Moldova.

“The Government recognized UNDP model as successful and rolled it over in the entire country. A first step undertaken by the town halls was to appoint persons responsible for migration at local level. It means that the authorities have decided to be pro-active and make use of the migration phenomenon to support local development,” said the Manager of the UNDP “Migration and Local Development” Project, Oxana Maciuca.

The DMD responsible in Vorniceni village is Viorica Mamaliga, bachelor in international relations and political sciences. Viorica was hired by the town hall of the native village when she was 26, in 2016. In the same year, besides key duties in public relations and investment attraction, she has accepted yet another challenge: to become the person who knows everything about migration into and out of the locality.

Photo: Andriana Mereuta/UNDP Moldova.

“My job means more than a database; it means building a trustworthy relationship with the person who left the village. It involves communication and dedication. My first step was to contact my acquaintances or relatives who live abroad and inform them about the Hometown Association’s creation and our need to have data. I used all sort of occasions to fill up the database — events, social media, meetings with classmates,” notes Viorica Mamaliga, person responsible for DMD in Vorniceni village.

All in all, the 38 partner localities of UNDP collected information about 71,300 migrants, persons who were then involved in solving challenges faced by the hometown localities.

Consultation and transparency — key to success

To energize communication between those born in a certain locality, the persons responsible for DMD at local level have created accounts on social media for the Hometown Associations.

“Without the support and trust of people, you cannot achieve anything,” says Viorica Mamaliga, who created one of the most active Facebook pages of a Hometown Association — Hometown Association of Natives from Vorniceni village.

Photo: Andriana Mereuta/UNDP Moldova.

“I talk to people who migrated from Vorniceni 18/24 hours"

Daily, Viorica dedicates at least four hours for updating the webpage of the locality and the Facebook page of the Hometown Association. She reads every comment and answers every question. She does it immediately, regardless of the time zone.

Viorica Mamaliga, person responsible for migration in Vorniceni village, Straseni district. Photo: Andriana Mereuta/UNDP Moldova.

“I talk to people who migrated from Vorniceni 18/24 hours. I do this to keep awake civic spirit, to engage people in local development, to promote the village. My personal satisfaction drives me, and the simple fact I am treated as a trustworthy person in my community makes me feel so lucky,” said Viorica.

Hence, about 30% of persons who left Vorniceni were contacted by Viorica and encouraged to come back, at least temporarily, to exchange with locals ideas, best practices and knowledge gained abroad.

Although most of times Viorica works extra hours, she dedicates with pleasure her time for the development of her locality.

“If initially I was thinking it would have been good for this job to be compensated, after three years of experience, I do believe that no amount of money can buy the attitude and confidence of people. I am keen on talking with them and informing them on social media about changes at home, either good or bad, listening to them and supporting them when they call me,” said Viorica.

The 38 social media profiles created by people like Viorica reached more than 40,000 active members.

Beyond job description: volunteering and dedication

In the last three years, besides online engagement, Viorica managed virbrant social campaigns, such as Diaspora Days, creating beautiful memories and reuniting people from all over the world.

Diaspora Day organised in Vorniceni in 2018.

“Before launching the campaign, we conducted an online survey for people to vote for a priority project. Then, maximum transparency was ensured during the crowdfunding campaign. I updated the Facebook page of the Hometown Association, so as people could follow the entire process of collecting the contributions, donors, and donated amounts,” emphasized Viorica.

The purchased grader was the first successful project implemented by the Hometown Association of Vorniceni.

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