Comunitatea Mea supports local governments to respond to citizens’ needs in Moldova
In the post-Soviet era, Moldova inherited a centralized government model that hindered municipal governments from effectively addressing problems in their communities. Over the past five years, IREX’s Comunitatea Mea program has implemented a wide range of activities to improve government functions in its 92 partner communities, resulting in improved public services for more than 400,000 Moldovans. As a result of this success, Comunitatea Mea—a program in Moldova that strengthens local governments to become more effective, transparent, and accountable to their citizens—received a three-year, $15 million extension from USAID in October 2022.
Improving Lives with Small Scale Infrastructure Projects & More
Since its start in 2018, Comunitatea Mea has invested in community development infrastructure projects as a component within the package of assistance offered to local government partners, such as improving street lighting, rehabilitating roads, renovating schools, and extending wastewater systems. To date, 66 of the 92 partner communities have completed infrastructure projects through the Comunitatea Mea program, benefitting more than 400,000 Moldovans.
In addition to supporting improved public service, Comunitatea Mea facilitates communication and cooperation between citizens and local government officials, including mayors and townhall staff, to create deeper connections in the community. In some cases, additional connections are made beyond local communities, as infrastructure projects are shared between several communities to increase inter-municipal cooperation.
Comunitatea Mea has also helped local governments through a variety of other initiatives, including:
- Citizen Information and Service Centers: These centers have been installed in 12 partner communities and provide a one-stop shop for citizens to request and receive local government services as well as streamline workflow process for local governments and reduce corruption.
- Fee collection and asset management: Comunitatea Mea has helped partner communities in collecting fees and managing assets which has resulted in local authorities obtaining $12 million in revenue.
- Decentralization discussion: Comunitatea Mea has facilitated a national conversation on decentralizing government responsibilities from central to local authorities and made recommendations for reforms on waste management and local fee collection.
In all these activities, Comunitatea Mea has emphasized including citizens by encouraging more communication from local authorities, establishing citizen feedback mechanisms, and creating citizen oversight groups.
Next Steps: Project Extension Allows for Continued and Expanded Change
With the extension from USAID, Comunitatea Mea will continue to work with its network of partner communities on improving government services, connecting with their citizens, and effectively managing their budgets throughout the next three years by:
- Expanding network of partner communities: The Comunitatea Mea team will also expand its network of partner communities to include a new cohort of 30 partner communities. These communities will receive holistic technical assistance in municipal services strengthening, citizen engagement, and public financial management. Some of these communities will also receive co-funding and technical support for infrastructure projects to improve community services.
- Incorporating youth development: Comunitatea Mea has recently added a youth development component to its activities, seeking to engage youth organizations to help Moldovan youth build skills and experience in civic engagement to strengthen their attachments to their communities.
- Implementing technology: With the support of our subsidiary, Development Gateway: an IREX Venture, IREX will add digitalization activities that will help partner communities streamline service provision to their constituencies, better monitor their assets, and integrate new digital tools. Development Gateway: an IREX Venture is a new partner in Comunitatea Mea’s consortium of implementers, which also includes Tetra Tech, Urban Institute, and the National Democratic Institute.
These new activities, coupled with the continuing efforts from the first five years of the project, will fulfill Comunitatea Mea’s goals of strengthening transparent, efficient, and responsive governance in Moldova.