The activEco - Sustainable Development program started this year with the impulse seminar in Russian and Romanian, held in between May 16-21, 2016. As by tradition, this first meeting took place in a picturesque place on the bank of the Nistru river - in Lalova village. It brought together 20 amazing participants from different cities and villages of northern, southern and central Moldova, including Transnistria and Gagauzia. This year, the month of May was quite rainy and cold, but still, we succeeded in creating a warm working atmosphere. We've had hot discussions in the framework of the "Keep Cool" game (brought in the newest Romanian/Russian version by Gabi, who came to visit for a few days), visited the Țipova monastery and organized even more activities in the open air. Together with the facilitators' team (Sasha, Maxim, Ion and Inna) the activEco-2016 freshmen went through a series of traditional and new activEco sessions. The intense work has resulted in 10 new project ideas that the participants will be working on until the next Project Management Seminar in July.
More photos from the seminar you can find on the activEco Facebook page.
The Impulse Seminar on Sustainable Development in English, held at the end of May, was the first ever activEco seminar held in Eco-Village, Riscova village. Despite some difficulties, as the construction of the Environmental Education Center was still in the process, both the team and the participants from Moldova and Ukraine were amazed by the possibility to learn about the topics such as organic agriculture or ecological construction, and especially sustainability, on the real example.
The seminar had also a number of other special traits. First, this time the food was cooked by a small team led by one of the activEco 2015 alumnae, who impressed everyone by the diversity and delicacy of her dishes - not simply traditionally vegetarian ones, but also vegan, raw, Indian, etc. Another specific component of the seminar was the presence of several kids, as their parents did not want to either miss the opportunity to participate in the seminar or to leave their children at home. The youngest generation surely brought a special joyful atmosphere to the meeting. Moreover, the program was enriched even further by a visit to the National Park "Orheiul Vechi", where the young activists spent time admiring the beauty of Nature and discussing their project ideas.
Participants left inspired by warm welcoming of Eco-Village hosts and motivated to continue working on their initiatives.
You can find more photos from the seminar on the activEco Facebook page.
The Impulse Seminar on Social Entrepreneurship in Lalova was an intensive learning lab for 19 participants from all around Moldova and neighboring regions of Ukraine. The seminar language was English, with occasional sparks of Romanian and Russian. However, we cannot also forget about that unprecedented evening when the Ukrainian participants decided to teach all the other participants and the facilitators a Polish song...
Two days were dedicated to rich input and exploration of the Social Entrepreneurship worldwide and in Moldova. Here activEco participants found out about the alternative economic approaches and promising examples of change makers who use business methods to solve social problems. The participants dived into their own talents, capacities, interests and passions, identified the needs of their communities, developed a positive vision for their region and based on all this started forming start-up ideas.
An important element of the seminar was the Social Entrepreneurship Forum IIhttp://ecovisio.org/programs/social-entrepreneurship-forum (read below).
You can find more photos from the seminar on the activEco Facebook page.
The Social Entrepreneurship Forum is a public event organized by EcoVisio since 2015, both as an element of the activEco - Social Entrepreneurship program and as a space for relevant actors to meet and interact. Thus, the goal of the Forum is to enhance the cross-sectorial dialog and cooperation between actors in this field and make social entrepreneurship initiatives more visible to the public.
In 2016, the program consisted of two parts. In the first part of the event, Closed Feedback Session, the participants of the activEco program, Social Entrepreneurship branch, presented their project ideas and received feedback from people with experience in various fields, such as:
In the second part, the official opening of the event took place, moderated by Valeria Șvarț-Gröger, EcoVisio; the key note speaker was Anca Elena Gheorghică din Iasi, representing the Association Mai Bine and the project Redu. During the first panel of the event, "Active Moldova", the participants spoke about the existing social initiatives of Moldova, about the difficulties they encounter and about what makes them continue. After a break for refreshments and networking, the second panel followed, the "Opportunities for Business". In its framework, the guests found out about the existing opportunities to transform a project into a business by obtaining grants, as well as by becoming member of an association that aim to ease the process of founding a small enterprise in Moldova.
The event was attended by around 100 people active in the field of social entrepreneurship, social activists, students and other people who wanted to learn more about this area. Besides, the participants of the activEco - Sustainable Development branch and their future mentors also came to get acquainted with the community.
Since 2015, activEco team is organizing capacity building trainings for mentors - be it activEco alumni or other activists who expressed interest to be a part of activEco community. The training's goal is to introduce the alumni into their new role, to remind them that from now on they won't be the ones responsible for the project implementation, but rather the ones who can provide the new teams with professional and moral support, guiding them through the process. At the same time, people who come from outside of the community, get to learn about activEco, so that they are in the context too, and also practice, together with alumni, different skills that will help them during the mentoring process and in their daily life as well.
In 2016, the training took place in Chisinau, and was attended by 15 people - activEco alumni, Peace Corps volunteers and activEco friends from Moldova and Ukraine. With this training, the mentors' community was highly enriched, able to provide new teams with experience from various backgrounds and regions.
The training was realized in partnership with the project Dialogue for Change.
Photo credit: Nicolai Kirnev.
On May 29, 2016, a big participants & mentors' meeting took place. It was the first one this year, and served as an impressive conclusion to a whole series of events - the Impulse Seminar on Sustainable Development in Russian and Romanian, the Impulse Seminar on Sustainable Development in English, the Impulse Seminar on Social Entrepreneurship, the Social Entrepreneurship Forum 2016 and the Mentoring Seminar.
The SDRR, SDE and SE participants presented their project ideas in the form of a fair, and everyone, including themselves, had enough time to find out what are the seeds sown with the help of activEco 2016.
There was also a participants & mentors "flirting" session - the actual matching will happen later, but now the activEco freshmen had the possibility to get the feeling about the supporting community that exists out there, and also to decide who they might like as a mentor - same for the mentors.
Besides all that, this was the biggest ever activEco & EcoVisio community meeting - 72 people in total.
You can find more photos about all this on the activEco Facebook page.
Since 2015, activEco team has also taken to organizing a "Project Proposal Writing Weekend" for the participants. The aim is to offer the participants (to those who need it) help with filling in the application forms so that we improve the quality of the submitted applications (and project ideas!) before the project management seminar. This is a great opportunity for the participants to ask questions, get consultations, see each other and the team.
In 2016, this event was held on June 18-19, at Forum Moldova Hostel. About a dozen participants from both Sustainable Development and Social Entrepreneurship directions came, and received support both from the team and from each other, getting a clearer idea about budget requirements, activities' timeline and the amount of possible methods that existed for realization of their ideas.
The next step of the activEco program, essential for everyone participating, was the Project Management Seminar, held in Cosnita in between July 6-11, 2016. With more than 40 participants from all three Impulse Seminars held this year, as well as their new team mates, it was one of the largest seminars in the history of activEco, again as the last year. However, that wasn't the first challenge activEco team has accepted and dealt with so far - and with the joined efforts of the team (Yulia Knyupa, Max, Liza, Victor, Valeria, as well as supporting team of Veronica, Gabi and Fabian) and the participants it was a great week of further learning about intricacies of project implementation - and about each other.
The seminar program included learning about time and project management, team work, public relations, budgeting, fundraising, friendraising, etc., as well as exchanging know-hows of realizing a project.
As a result, 25 teams got into a better relationship with their projects, "married" them and set off for a new stage of their trip, now accompanied by mentors!
More photos from the Project Management Seminar 2016 you can find on activEco Facebook page.
The Harvesting and Reflection seminar is yet another traditional part of the program, which concludes the period of project implementation and in a way, the program course as a whole. Thus, it is dedicated to sharing and analyzing the impressions of working on a project / working in a team / being a part of activEco, both from the point of view of professional development and personal feelings. Then, learning about the future opportunities being an activEco alumnus/alumna presents - in case you haven't learned about them already, in a natural way.
In 2016, the Harvesting and Reflection Seminar was held on October 11-16, in Vadul lui Voda and Chisinau, and brought together the majority of project teams' representatives. For the first time, the seminar also hosted not one, but two international trainers - Guljan Umurgazina and Tino Rasche, who eagerly jumped into the process of helping participants reflect on their learning achievements during project implementation, think about possible improvements, and plan future actions - project continuation or something completely new - for a more sustainable development of their region.
On October 15-16, the seminar activities moved to the IarmarEco fair (read below). There, the teams were joined by their mentors, who came to evaluate and celebrate together with the participants. Afterwards, the participants presented their projects from the stage, and then in a form of an exposition.
You can find more photos from the Harvesting and Reflection Seminar 2016 on activEco Facebook page.
And yet again, the Harvesting and Reflection seminar isn't the point where it all finishes - rather, this is the point where all blossoms again at the IarmarEco, the Fair of Ecological Opportunities and Social Entrepreneurship, 4th edition. Started in 2013 as an exposition of participants' initiatives, it grows larger and more significant each year, getting hundreds of its guests acknowledged with the world of ecological opportunities & products and social initiatives that exist in our region. It is also a place to capture the participants for the next activEco year, as we have already seen.
In 2016, for the first time in its history, IarmarEco lasted 2 days instead of one: October 15-16, and provided vast space for theoretical and practical workshops, and fair of ecological & social products, services and initiatives. It was also about networking - IarmarEco provided space for meeting of participants and alumni of different programs implemented by EcoVisio, and all the other interested people - friends, partners, participants of international THK Cluster on Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovations, etc. The event was attended by over 600 people both days, and highlighted 75 initiatives, local entrepreneurs and NGOs.
And in the framework of all this, 18 activEco-2016 teams (those who could attend the event) presented the results of their almost half-a-year work to the general public, got certificates of program completion, and interacted with the larger community interested in and living environmental and social values that activEco is based on.