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Build an environmental training center in Moldova

by 'EcoVisio' Public Association
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Build an environmental training center in Moldova
Build an environmental training center in Moldova
Build an environmental training center in Moldova
Build an environmental training center in Moldova
Build an environmental training center in Moldova
Build an environmental training center in Moldova
Build an environmental training center in Moldova
Build an environmental training center in Moldova
Build an environmental training center in Moldova
Build an environmental training center in Moldova
Build an environmental training center in Moldova
Build an environmental training center in Moldova
Build an environmental training center in Moldova
Build an environmental training center in Moldova
Build an environmental training center in Moldova
Build an environmental training center in Moldova
Build an environmental training center in Moldova
Organic garden offers healthy foods in a pandemic
Organic garden offers healthy foods in a pandemic

Dear partners,

As the world started to slow down in the face of a global pandemic, it offered all of us a chance to re-think what we do, how we do it and why. For our project the quarantine brought a new challenge of shifting most trainings on-line, cancelling planned camps and seminars, re-thinking financial sustainability. But it also gave us the space to re-design our garden, upgrade our rainwater collection system and focus more on organizational development.

Aiming to become more educational, our garden was re-designed to include a clear crop rotation plan, promote biodiversity, measure precipitation levels and demonstrate water conservation and soil rehabilitation techniques in gardening, like terracing, mulching, composting.  

Last autumn we installed 2 water tanks (of 20 and 28 tons) to collect more rainwater. Despite a serious 8-month drought this season, we managed to collect 40 tons of water this winter from hoarfrost thawing on the roofs and a single small snowfall. Collected rainwater has been used for garden irrigation and construction needs. We’d like to promote rainwater collection among people in our village to reduce instances of some households at the beginning of the water pipeline losing access to drinking water when other people down the line use it for irrigation.

COVID-19 showed once more the importance of building resiliency and sustainability on a local level. For us, it means working with our neighbors on climate adaptation measures, eco-friendly gardening, developing structures for seed sharing, local food markets and more importantly, encouraging mutual support and care within community.

This is the time when many sustainability practices explored in ecovillages can become mainstream and your contribution for projects like ours could make all the difference.

We value your support in these challenging times and cherish our partnership!

Redesigned educational garden plan
Redesigned educational garden plan
Climate change training for high-school teachers
Climate change training for high-school teachers
Delivery of a 20 t. tank for rainwater collection
Delivery of a 20 t. tank for rainwater collection
Greening up and team-building training for staff
Greening up and team-building training for staff
Greening up workshop for catering social business
Greening up workshop for catering social business
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Dear Friends,

As many of you may already know, Eco-Village Moldova is situated in a small village in the heart of Moldova called Rîscova. Rîscova, despite its small size, is well-known in Chisinau public markets for its potatoes. After the success of our first annual Rîscova Potato Festival in 2018, we founded Cartoful Rîscovean, a cooperative that grows potatoes without the use of insecticides, fungicides, or any chemical fertilizers. The cooperative is made up of Rîscova locals, and for today’s report, we interviewed one of the producers, Aurica.

Although originally from the village of Cocieri on the other side of the Dneister River, Aurica has been living in Rîscova for over three decades now. Aurica married a local from Rîscova and has two children who have since moved away after starting their own families. Prior to the project, Aurica could often be found tending to the fields and taking care of things at home.

“I joined Cartoful Rîscovean for a number of reasons, but from the top of my head, I’d started to become more interested in learning about ecological agriculture recently, especially after more and more interactions with Eco-Village [Moldova]. My primary motivation is for produce that goes to our children’s table to be healthier, so I wanted to learn how to grow more natural potatoes and other crops [to create that] healthier society.”

Aurica was one of our first producers and to this day, is one of our most enthusiastic producers. Prior to joining the collective, Aurica and her husband had been selling potatoes at a farmer’s market in the city; now, through Cartoful Rîscovean, they sell at an ecological farmer’s market. Growing potatoes more naturally has not always been easy for the local producers, and there have been some growing pains in the switch. In order to help guide them through the change, we brought in an expert in organic agriculture to help the producers.

“Producing natural potatoes is quite difficult, without the use of insecticides, it becomes a lot of work to deal with the [Colorado potato] beetles. Especially when everyone else uses insecticides, the beetles come to our land more often. Despite that, the expert and the coordinator [for Cartoful Rîscovean] have both given us a lot of encouragement and help. In fact, through the project, it has been significantly easier for us to find buyers and we have been able to sell our potatoes much more easily.”

Outside of the project, Aurica has expressed greater interest in learning about more ecological agriculture and permaculture, so she has recently joined us at the Eco-Village to help in our garden.

“I’ve learned a lot from working in the garden at Eco-Village Moldova as well. Mostly, I’ve learned about many different types of produce that I’d never seen before: sweet potatoes and different types of leafy greens, like kale. It has been great learning about different methods of growing vegetables and plants and how they interact with one another.”

Aurica and her husband have agreed to continue with the Cartoful Rîscovean project and at the Eco-Village. Although new, she has already made a great impression with her friendliness and diligence and we look forward to her company for years to come.

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Tatiana, our new team member.
Tatiana, our new team member.

Dear Friends,

As Eco-Village Moldova has grown, our team too has expanded over the years. Today, we are happy to introduce our newest member of the Eco-Villlage Moldova team, Tatiana Cebotari. Originally from the capital city of Chisinau, Tatiana moved to our village with her family eight years ago. Tatiana officially began working for us in February and has truly come into her own in terms of project planning, coordination, and logistics. Following the example of our “Through the Eyes of a Volunteer” report from last year, we would like to share Tatiana’s perspective and impressions, as our newest team member here at the Eco-Village and as a local Moldovan.

“I did not know about the Eco-Village for a long time, largely because our village did not have a proper park or any sort of area for people to gather, or simply relax, so we often left to the city to visit relatives. I had only found out about Eco-Village Moldova when my sister-in-law called me mentioning that some people at an NGO in our village needed babysitting help. It was the first time I’d heard that there was such an organization in our village and was surprised to learn of its existence, but I decided to take the job.”

“My first impressions were that the people here were very simple and open. They were people with such interesting ideas on how to live. At the time, I didn’t know anything about the organization itself, but the people at the organization had a strong impression on me. It was fascinating seeing these people not only be working while caring for their children, but also be actively concerned about the wellbeing of others.”

“I became more involved in Eco-Village, funnily enough, when I was thinking of looking for a more stable job in Chisinau. During my time babysitting, I’d heard that Eco-Village was looking to expand their team. They offered me a role and after discussing it with my husband, I decided that it wouldn’t hurt to try it out. From then on, I was part of the team.”

“My first task was a big one! Wanting to be more involved with the community and create a greater sense of community spirt within the village itself, Eco-Village Moldova decided to work with the locals to start our first annual Potato Festival. My first task was to work alongside Liliana and co-coordinate the community event. It was a large responsibility, but I remember feeling excited that they had had enough trust in me to give me such an integral role in such a large event.”

“To say it in one word, my role nowadays is ‘logistics.’ I often work within the Eco-Training Center to help prepare the space for sessions and seminars. I ensure that everything is organized and that the facilitators have everything that they need for their sessions. I help purchase food for our sessions as well.
Working here, I have seen that there are some brave people here who left the city and started at zero to live here in a village. It is refreshing to meet people who aren’t only thinking about themselves, but also about the people around them. The people at the Eco-Village help the locals in the village and their mission of environmentalism and ecology helps every one of us. Working here at the Eco Training Center, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many different people from all around Moldova and from around the region.”

Potato Tasting in the Eco-Training Center
Potato Tasting in the Eco-Training Center
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Park playground built by local+international youth
Park playground built by local+international youth

Dear friends,

As our Environmental Training Center grows and develops, the range of our programs also grows, covering a multitude of topics: organic agriculture, social entrepreneurship, rural development, energy efficiency, youth engagement, etc. 

A series of workshops organized last winter brought together engineers, housewives, mayors, students, entrepreneurs around the topic of energy efficiency. Together they explored ways to reduce energy costs by better insulating houses, using efficient household appliances, investing in renewable energy sources. Several local families developed plans for improving their energy efficiency after a simple ‘energy audit’ visit during one of the workshops.

Rural Development Workshop gave impulses to several small projects tackling 3 challenges in rural areas: diversifying social/ cultural opportunities, economic development, community building. Over a course of a 3-day workshop 11 mini-projects started taking shape, including engaging neighborhoods in selective waste management, starting bee-keeping, organizing eco-trainings for youth and more.

And our own village, Riscova, took two more steps in rural development this spring.

First, local youth joined hands with youth from an International school in Switzerland that came to Moldova for a week through TASIS service program. Together they built a tree-house, a playground, flower beds in the community park, as well as painted a mural on the stage, celebrating at the end with a concert.

Another step was initiating a ‘Forest explorers’ club with local youth. Over a course of 9 months young people from Riscova learned more about forest ecosystems, how forests are managed, how they can be protected, basic outdoor survival and first aid skills. And in an attempt to share this knowledge with others, they helped create a marked forest trail connecting Riscova to another village. This is just another step in developing eco-tourism in this region. Please check out a short video about it: https://bit.ly/2MGXu3e

All these activities were made possible thanks to generous support of our partners like YOU! We appreciate your continuous interest in our project and hope to welcome you in our Eco-village or on the forest trail one day.

Energy efficiency workshop
Energy efficiency workshop
Drafting a mini-project on youth eco-training
Drafting a mini-project on youth eco-training
Forest explorers club
Forest explorers club
Forest trail marked
Forest trail marked

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One year old Yuki and his mom saved from slaughter
One year old Yuki and his mom saved from slaughter

Dear partners,

Even though we have just officially opened the doors of the Environmental Training Center and the Eco-Village is still work in progress, we already have an exciting new sub-project!

Eco-Village now hosts a Horse Sanctuary and namely 4 horses that have been salvaged from their way to the slaughter house. The initiative came from Valeriu, a social activist, winemaker and project manager, as well as Cristina, a true horse lover who has been training with horses for more than 14 years, since the age of 4.

Our mission now is to salvage these horses, offering them good living conditions, fair work and helping us and our visitors better understand the animal world. This Horse Sanctuary could complement a number of existing initiatives:

  • Promoting more sustainable practices. Just as we try to raise awareness about soil protection, eco-friendly lifestyles, we hope the Horse Sanctuary will offer information and skills on treating domestic animals with dignity and respect.
  • Rural development through eco-tourism. A few months ago we started developing forest trails with a youth group from the village. With 4 horses being trained, and a number of bicycles available, those trails could be explored by people of all ages, including families, whether they prefer hiking, bicycling or horse/carriage riding.
  • Strengthening partnerships. This year we started environmental mainstreaming consultancy for a number of non-profit organizations working with people with disabilities. This collaboration could be further strengthened through common projects, like horse therapy activities.
  • Organizing youth programs. Integrating activities with horses into our training programs will offer additional opportunities for youth empowerment and engagement.

A very important milestone was to build a stable and get the horses to shelter before cold weather hits. Now that the basic structure is up and the horses are inside we are on a challenge to gather partners, volunteers and resources to fulfill our mission. 

Your support at this initial stage would allow us to buy the missing roughage, organize a riding arena for horse training, prepare educational events and attract more volunteers.

Since the horses joined our community 3 months ago, we understood this is not only about saving these 4 beautiful creatures, it is about believing and showing that there is another way to collaborate with the animals that surround us, with plenty of room for improving how we see this world, how we communicate and how we treat what is out there. Because, ultimately, that is how we end up treating each other and ourselves.

ActivePeace participants connect with nature/ self
ActivePeace participants connect with nature/ self
Draft plan of the horse stables
Draft plan of the horse stables
A caring touch is therapeutic for people & horses
A caring touch is therapeutic for people & horses
Kids developing trails & connections with forest
Kids developing trails & connections with forest
Winter view of our Environmental Training Center
Winter view of our Environmental Training Center
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Organization Information

'EcoVisio' Public Association

Location: Chisinau - Moldova, Republic of
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Liliana Botnaru
Chisinau, Moldova, Republic of
$13,293 raised of $19,000 goal
 
263 donations
$5,707 to go
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