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
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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Starting a selective waste management initiative
Starting a selective waste management initiative

Dear Friends,

Recently, our village received a Peace Corps volunteer from the US, Corey Sung. He came for two years to work with us, with the local library, as well as various community members from our village. As a way to freshen up our reports, we asked him to share his impressions of our project. Here is the Environmental Training Center seen through his eyes:

“When I arrived at the Eco-Village Moldova, I had no idea what to expect, but I did know that it was unlike anything else in Moldova – or, to be frank, anything I had ever seen before. The floors were made from earthen bricks and the walls were coated with clay and created out of reeds. Little did I know then, but these were a couple of the many ways that the Environmental Training Center was built to be cost-efficient and environmentally sustainable.  

In addition to the buildings themselves, the land is being used to grow crops; however, Eco-Village uses different methods to keep the growth sustainable. For example, the plot of land in the front uses permaculture principles to keep the plants healthy and self-sufficient, as well as to rehabilitate the soil. As someone who had little knowledge of such principles, I was genuinely impressed by the way Liliana and her team incorporated these ideas into Eco-Village.

For me, the most impressive thing that Eco-Village does is that it is slowly becoming a hub for active citizens in Moldova. Working alongside its partners, many sessions are held in the Environmental Training Center where an exchange of ideas occurs. During my time working alongside Liliana, the Eco-Village hosted several sessions about environmental sustainability (ex. consumption & waste management, energy efficiency), youth leadership, and teamwork; in the following weeks, there will be sessions on financial literacy, and a workshop with local youth on sustainable business practices.

Looking forward, I am excited to continue working alongside Liliana and the great staff here at the Environmental Training Center. The work that they do is, in my opinion, incredibly beneficial to both the community that they’re in and also Moldova as a whole.

Training coordinators for country-wide cleanup day
Training coordinators for country-wide cleanup day
Mentoring teams for Green Business development
Mentoring teams for Green Business development
Elderly Center members discover solar dried herbs
Elderly Center members discover solar dried herbs
Winter prep-over 20 tomato varieties in our garden
Winter prep-over 20 tomato varieties in our garden
Corey Sung, our Peace Corps volunteer for 2 years
Corey Sung, our Peace Corps volunteer for 2 years

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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
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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

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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
$15,413 raised of $19,000 goal
 
315 donations
$3,587 to go
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