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May 4, 2018

Celebrating important milestones

Host families in the newly built conference room
Host families in the newly built conference room

Dear friends,

After 3 years of researching, planning, building and engaging, our Eco-Training Center is finally up and running! There is still work to be done: building the entrance, expanding the team, developing services, but there are already enough reasons to celebrate.

This winter we had an opportunity to test the efficiency of our integrated pallet/ solar heating system and are happy (and relieved) to say it worked pretty well! We’re grateful to Liechtenstein Development Service for helping us install this heating system.

With a growing number of events and increased trust among local population, more and more families in the village open their homes to host training participants and visitors.

New long-term partnerships started developing with local and international organizations. At the beginning of March about 15 Moldovan NGOs came to the Eco-Center for an Impulse training on environmental mainstreaming and some of them already took small steps to ‘green up’ their operations, others asked for a deeper 'greening audit' and consultancy. End of March an international group of students came through TASIS Global Service program to work with local students on building the Community Park. In a few days they managed to put together 4 benches, build elements for a playground, plant seedlings and organize a cross-cultural party. The program turned out such a success that it will become a yearly event from now on. 

Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go and your support is as crucial as ever.

There are still walls which need to get painted and the entrance of the building (with wheelchair accessible toilets) will need to get build. We will start with this when the weather conditions are dry enough to work with natural materials. Also we plan to hire more local staff for daily operation of the Center (cooking, gardening, etc.)

With your help, the Center can be completed by winter. Donate today and help us finish building this regional hub for connecting people, sharing sustainability practices and inspiring actions!

TASIS and local students discussing park designs
TASIS and local students discussing park designs
Building benches for the Community park
Building benches for the Community park
Cross-cultural night - celebration of diversity
Cross-cultural night - celebration of diversity
NGO greening Impulse meeting
NGO greening Impulse meeting
Dec 7, 2017

Building capacity & developing sustainability

German visitors welcomed by the local choir
German visitors welcomed by the local choir

Dear friends,

Our Environmental Training Center is almost ready! The main walls are up, the windows and doors are in place and the elaborate solar/pellet integrated heating system is keeping it from freezing. We’re deeply grateful for all the support we received along the way from you this year, whether in the form of a message shared, a prayer or a donation, every contribution was much appreciated!

But the work does not stop here. In fact, the main job of developing the project and increasing the Eco-Center’s capacity is only starting. Till now the Center has been slowly building local capacities in the village: there are more people growing food ecologically in Riscova, 3 of our local workers were recruited for the summer to help build an eco-home in Romania and there is a newly registered local NGO, focused on sustainable rural development.

But the big question is how to make the Environmental Training Center even more sustainable. Here are a few ideas on our mind:

Environmental sustainability

  • Responsible water usage – water-saving shower heads, composting waterless toilets, rainwater collection and drip irrigation are just a few steps we took towards saving precious drinking water.
  • Energy efficiency – passive solar design and two solar water panels are aiding our heating system, thermal mass floor and well-insulated walls help maintain that heat, LED lights allow us to use less electricity. Next we’d like to install solar electric panels once we fundraise for them.
  • Using primarily local resources helps us reduce the Eco-Center's environmental footprint

Financial sustainability

  • Lowering operational and maintenance costs – our energy efficient design will ensure smaller heating and electrical bills, our garden already started providing fruits & vegetables, thus reducing the costs of our training events.
  • Diversifying sources of income – in addition to crowdfunding we’re attracting funds through grants, social investors and income generating activities, like hosting training events for businesses and other NGOs.

Social sustainability

  • More and more people know about the Environmental Training Center from participating in our training events, simply visiting or reading about it in mass media. We’ve noticed a growing community of people practicing more sustainable lifestyle (growing food ecologically, building eco-houses, using bicycles for transportation, etc.)
  • Our Center triggers other community development initiatives: a local NGO was created in the village in August, local library introduced an innovative service – solar fruit drying, local school started a plastic recycling program and more individuals fixed up their homes, opening them to host training participants.
  • Building individual capacities – our Center benefits from the knowledge, skills and energy brought to the project by staff, local and international volunteers, but it also provides opportunities for growth and learning. This year our core team doubled and we hope to engage and train more people to expand the Center’s capacity next year.

We’d love to hear your ideas on increasing this project’s sustainability and we count on your support in 2018, because we can only succeed thanks to partners like you!

Floor heating is more efficient in large spaces
Floor heating is more efficient in large spaces
ActivEco participants planning to green up spaces
ActivEco participants planning to green up spaces
Students discover DIY solar dehydrators
Students discover DIY solar dehydrators
Raw vegan lunch for BFC Company on their retreat
Raw vegan lunch for BFC Company on their retreat
Training Center construction progress
Training Center construction progress

Links:

Sep 7, 2017

Faces behind construction of the Eco-Center

Eco-Center provides jobs to local unemployed women
Eco-Center provides jobs to local unemployed women

Dear partners,

We’d like to dedicate this report to people that help us build the Environmental Training Center.

First, it is YOU who make the construction possible through your generous contributions, through spreading the word and through sharing your ideas with us. It is also people from different parts of the world who come to stay for a night or come to volunteer for a few weeks. It is training participants that don’t mind digging their hands into clay

It is a diverse team of architects, engineers, trainers, designers, builders and other specialists who help us think about various aspects of the Training Center: how to improve energy efficiency, reduce construction costs, create appropriate training atmosphere, allow multi-functionality.

It is also a number of people from the local village who are open to learning new construction methods, who decide to work on building something in their own village, rather than emigrate abroad. Several workers mentioned to us that they were offered opportunities to work in Russia, Germany, Italy. They decided to work at home, near their families, although the pay is smaller and less stable, but the work is more purposeful. For ex. Ion, a father of 3 kids, said at the beginning of the year: ‘My friend invited me to work in construction in Moscow. Although the pay would be higher in Russia, I prefer to help build the Eco-Training Center here, even if you can’t guarantee work for a full season’. As our fundraising progressed, we were able to employ Ion all season and it allowed him to connect his house to running water and to gas for cooking.

We’re happy that the Environmental Training Center provides jobs to local people, but it also places a responsibility on our shoulders to fundraise enough to continue construction, and once the Center is built to ensure its sustainability. And we can only achieve it with support of partners like you. Thank you for your generosity and commitment to this project!

The walls of the Environmental Training Center are almost ready. In the next few months we’ll be working on heating systems, kitchen equipment and windows. Stay tuned to more updates!

With warmest wishes from Moldova,

Liliana

Ion & Marin make sure every detail is considered
Ion & Marin make sure every detail is considered
Center already provides 2-3 trainings a month
Center already provides 2-3 trainings a month
Young and old, volunteers join hands to build it
Young and old, volunteers join hands to build it
Ion was able to work in the village, not go abroad
Ion was able to work in the village, not go abroad
 
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