Tag Archives: Consiliul Raional

Grant Fishing

Did Confucius ever submit a grant proposal?

IMG_1548Some accounts say he wrote the famous aphorism: Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

If he were living in today’s world, though, Confucius might have said: Give money to people and you help them for a short time. Teach them to write grants and they can keep going for years. (Or something like that.)

Grant writing has become an essential skill for public institutions and nonprofit organizations here in Moldova. IMG_1550With salaries and budgets that are tiny by American standards, they look to external sources for additional support, especially for projects. Potential funders range from USAID and other agencies affiliated with foreign governments to international NGOs, local embassies and others. Civic.md compiles many of their initiatives.

On Monday evening, our Ialoveni library learned its robotics team was among the winners in the latest round of a small grant competition for local youth that also provides valuable experience for the young reviewers. The Ialoveni team will  receive 5,500 lei, or a bit more than $330, to buy the supplies it needs to continue participating in national robotics competitions and perhaps to also organize a small local competition.


My library partner, Lidia Rusu, in the white sweater below, has gained a lot of experience writing grants over the past several years. She’s also received training from Novateca on other forms of fund-raising and advocacy, doing so well that Novateca recruited her to train librarians elsewhere. I was impressed as she worked with several boys on our robotics team to prepare this latest proposal. We discussed it but they did almost all of the work themselves, including the budget and narrative sections. They also presented it effectively to the review committee you see here at Ialoveni’s Consiliul Raional, or county government.


The new grant isn’t a lot of money, but it’s enough to keep the library’s robotics program moving forward. Equally important, both Lidia and the boys honed their grant preparation skills and received positive feedback that will encourage them to pursue more grants in the future. Next time they may reel in some bigger fish.


Bardar Water Project

Moldova’s wells are omnipresent, picturesque and often unsafe, with water that may contain parasites or chemicals. I photographed these two when I lived in the village of Bardar during my Peace Corps training.


Soon their water quality won’t matter so much. On Friday, I attended the kickoff conference for a project that will connect Bardar to a modern water system, providing safe running water for many of its 6,000 residents.

The Slovak Republic, primarily through SlovakAid, is donating financial and technical support for the project, which is scheduled to run through May 2018.

Ambassador Robert Kirnág, center, and other Slovakian officials spoke at the meeting.

“Fresh drinking water is a fundamental right of people,” Robert Kirnág, the Slovak ambassador to Moldova, said at the meeting in Ialoveni’s business center. “Water will remain a problem in Moldova for many years to come. We’ve identified water, sanitation and waste management as a priority.”

“Water is life; it is critical for people everywhere,” agreed Michal Mlynár, director general for international organizations and development cooperation in Slovakia’s foreign ministry. The Bardar project will “make a difference in the lives of ordinary people in the region.”

IMG_3183The Consiliul Raional of Ialoveni district, of which Bardar is a part, is carrying out the project collaboratively with Moldova’s Regional Development Agency Center (ADR Centru) and the Regional Development Agency Senec-Pezinok in Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital.

ADR Centru shares the fourth floor of the Consiliul Raional building in downtown Ialoveni. I work there myself and know people at both organizations. It’s great to see them collaborating to benefit the village where I had my training. At Friday’s meeting, I sat with my friend Mihail Tonu, Bardar’s vice mayor.

The project seeks not only to provide clean water for Bardar but also to raise awareness among public authorities and the public about the importance of water system management and quality drinking water.

Anatolie Dimitriu, president of the Consiliul Raional, called Friday “a very special day,” noting how the project will benefit Bardar and accelerate the process of providing clean drinking water throughout the district. The project is the first phase of a broader plan to distribute clean water more widely.

Eduard Ungureanu, from Moldova’s national ministry of regional development and construction, called the collaboration “historic,” one that ADR Centru Director Viorel Jardan predicted “won’t be the last” for Ialoveni district or Moldova.

Moldovan officials thanked the Slovak Republic for its assistance and expressed enthusiasm for the new water project.

Two development specialists from Slovakia, Katarína Manczalová and Eva Balažovičová, also spoke at the meeting, emphasizing the importance not only of the tangible benefits but also of the trust and relationships being established. Following the kickoff ceremony and a traditional Moldovan lunch, they and others remained for technical discussions with their Moldovan counterparts.

Many buildings in Bardar already have running water through individual or neighborhood systems, supplemented by the wells, but the water from the new system will be safer and more reliable. In a very tangible way, it will improve people’s lives.

Bardar will still have its wells, of course, many of them adorned with crosses and religious iconography. Their beauty will remain a rich part of this region’s landscape and cultural heritage even as their threat to the public health subsides.

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Video: Dedication Ceremony

Ialoveni celebrated its 580th birthday with its annual “Zia de Hram” event. A highlight was the dedication of a new bust in front of the Consiliul Raional, where I work. The bust honors Ferdinand I, king of Romania 1914-1927, a period when Moldova was part of Romania. I produced this 5-minute video about the dedication ceremony.