From an Idea to a National Success: Mentorship Program for Women Councilors Comes to an End

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National Mentorship Program for Women Councilors "INSPIR-O!", with a duration of one year, was completed. After five training modules on topics related to leadership, gender awareness, good governance and community mobilization, risk management, etc., the 24 women councilors across the country, including from ATU of Gagauzia, which were part of the program, implemented 24 community initiatives.

The program started in September, 2015, and on December 20 was held the first event of interaction between mentors and mentees, when for each participating mentee was chosen, individually, a mentor, who has expertise, knowledge and experience for helping her in developing professional and leadership skills. Moreover, the mentors and mentees signed an Agreement of Understanding, have set the overall objectives and developed a joint action plan for the mentoring relationship.

Thus, on September 16-17, 2016, the 24 women councilors at their first mandate have met with their mentors to review their successful projects and results after 12 months of joint collaboration.

Ulziisuren Jamsran, country representative of UN Women in Moldova (United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women), stated that, through this National Mentorship Program, women did much more than they would have done if would attend some usual trainings. "Therefore, for UN Women, the Mentorship Program is important, because it creates partnerships between women. Here it was dedicated not only time and effort, but also soul. Mentorship it has to be done with passion, where both mentor and mentee learn from each other. And I hope that the mentoring program will not end here, on the contrary, the 24-mentees will become, in turn, mentors for other women," said Ulziisuren Jamsran.

Nina Orlova, senior program officer at the Embassy of Sweden in Chisinau, mentioned that "INSPIR-O!" is part of a larger program, funded by the Swedish Government, namely, the UN Program “Women in Politics”. "During the mentoring program you had project ideas not only for your children or your family, but for the community where you live. And in this context, Sweden is convinced that in a genuine democracy, women, alongside with men, participate in decisions-making processes and solve society's problems", pointed out Nina Orlova.

Within a year of mentoring, 22 from the women councilors elaborated annual reports on transparency in decision making processes and action plans on strengthening good governance. As a result, 18 plans were approved at meetings of local councils. More, following the period after the adoption of these plans, 64 decisions of local councils were consulted with the people.

Aurica Cebotari, a district councilor in Stefan Voda and mentee in the program, wanted that through the program "INSPIR-O!" to mobilize councilors to interact more with the citizens and listening to their voice. "Councilors must get involved and solve people`s problems, not just to vote. Therefore, I advised my colleagues to organize more meetings with women and men from Stefan Voda and engage in informal activities," said the councilor.

Moreover, Aurica Cebotari conducted the construction of a playground for parents with children and for elderly people, where they can rest. "People thank me, because in Stefan Voda were no playgrounds. And when it was noticed the impact of the project, were opened other three playgrounds," mentioned the councilor.

And if at the beginning of the program "INSPIR-O!" Aurica Cebotari believed that men know better how to do politics, after months of training and mentoring, she decided that she should not stand aside. "Accordingly, I tried to promote more activities where women get involved and to demonstrate that with little money you can do great things," she argues.

Vera Ciuchitu, one of mentors from the Program "INSPIR-O!", confessed that all the projects have been successful, "because the intent of all the women was a noble one - to do some positive and sustainable things for community and bring a real useful change for the citizens. Thus, we became a role-model for other localities, that can take over these best practices," opines the mentor.

National Mentorship Program for Women Councilors "INSPIR-O!" was carried out by „Partnership for Development” Center, with the support of the UN Programme "Women in Politics" implemented by United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with East Europe Foundation (EEF) and „Partnership for Development” Center (CPD), funded by the Government of Sweden.