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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
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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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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Heavy snow on April 20th
Heavy snow on April 20th

This year Moldova was hit by a very unusual phenomenon – a heavy snow storm at the end of April when most fruit trees were already in bloom. Some places got up to a meter of snow in less than 48 hours. According to news reports, over 10,000 trees got broken in our capital city alone, 679 communities around the country lost electricity and when the snow started melting fast, many houses and agricultural fields got flooded.

This is just one of many examples of how climate change affects each of us and why an Environmental Training Center is so crucial in Moldova to help educate people about environmental issues, showcase sustainable practices and, more importantly, build a strong network among different stakeholders to reduce environmental damages and build more resilient communities. Together with you and your generous support, we can succeed!

Although the Center is still under construction, we’ve started a new program – active Organic focused on organic agriculture and permaculture. In a series of practical workshops and study visits we’ll cover such themes as soil rehabilitation, plant protection, efficient irrigation systems, CSAs (community supported agriculture), rural entrepreneurship and more.

First activeOrganic seminar brought together 30 participants from 15 regions in Moldova (selected out of over 100 that expressed interest) and included farmers, professors, NGO representatives, students, state officials, all eager to learn and practice environmentally-friendly agriculture on the land they own. One participant mentioned: “I was growing potatoes on the same piece of land for 16 years, not realizing how this practice depletes the soil. Now I’m ready to try crop rotation, and other soil rehabilitation practices like mulching and composting”. Many other participants mentioned that the training exceeded their expectations and they are looking forward to the next ones.

Thank you for making trainings like this one possible! Please consider telling your friends and family about our project - share the link on your blogs or social networks, use the tell-a-friend feature on the project page to email your network, or just bring us up in conversation. This summer we plan to apply natural plastering and we really need your support to employ more people from the village to finish cob walls by autumn.

With gratitude,

Liliana Botnaru

Flowering trees breaking under heavy snow
Flowering trees breaking under heavy snow
First ActiveOrganic training in the new Center
First ActiveOrganic training in the new Center
Practical workshop on fast composting
Practical workshop on fast composting
Applying permaculture principles in garden design
Applying permaculture principles in garden design

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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
$13,328 raised of $19,000 goal
 
265 donations
$5,672 to go
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