Youth Centers - unique platforms for youth involvement and support at local level

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Research in partnership with UNFPA Moldova organized on Tuesday, May 29, the first meeting with Youth Centers on the topic of Youth Centers Development Program 2022. The event, which took place in Chisinau, gathered around 55 people, including public servants responsible for youth work at local level, managers of Youth Resources Centers, youth workers.

The State Secretary for Youth and Sports, Mr. Radu Rebeja, stated in the opening session of the event that the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research (MoECC) supports the development of the Moldovan youth sector and provides local support through the rayon / municipal Grants Program, which involves the funding of youth initiatives / youth projects and youth organizations based on an open call for proposals.

"Youth Centers should become active promoters of youth services, with competent staff, who will interact and provide support to young people, including to the most vulnerable and ones from remoted areas, thus contributing to better involvement and healthier development of the younger generation," he mentioned.

Rita Columbia, UNFPA Representative in Moldova, said that considering the current demographic context of the Republic of Moldova, investment in youth is a priority.

"UNFPA remains committed to further supporting the development of youth centers' capacities in order to turn them into powerful institutions that promote and mobilize young people at local level, assuring them the right to information, education, health, participation."

Within the event, organization Terre des hommes Moldova presented the methodology and objectives for further assessment of the Youth Centers institutional capacity. Thus, the analysis and evaluation of existing youth services as well as their institutional capacities will be carried out, followed by the development of individual development plans for each center. Development plans will be focused on improving the capacity of Youth Centers to facilitate youth employment and participation, the availability of youth services, the provision of outreach services and community involvement.

In addition, the youth rights approach, focused on their needs and expectations, will serve as a basis for the Individual Development Plans for the Youth Centers, and local authorities will be involved in ensuring a broad and participative framework in decision-making process and development of the Youth Centers services.

Youth Centers should become the focal point at the local level that will facilitate the involvement of young people in the promotion of their rights, including the right to health and age-appropriate health education, participation in decision-making process and volunteering. Thus, the capacity building programs for professional development of the human resources within the Centers are necessary in order to ensure the quality of the services provided, but also to meet the needs of young people by developing services for them, especially for the most vulnerable, at the local level.

Currently, 23 Youth Centers operate in the Republic of Moldova, aiming to increase the quality and efficiency of services provided to young people in order to ensure their accessibility for at least 90% of young people by 2020.

The MECC and UNFPA have signed a co-financing agreement for the development of youth services at the local level for a five-year period (2017-2022), in December 2017. The agreement is based on national priorities for youth sector development outlined in several strategic documents, such as the National Youth Strategy 2020, the Association Agreement with the European Union 2017-2019, the Government Actions Program of the Republic of Moldova 2016-2018.