Pre-schoolers from "Viorel and Viorica" kindergarten in Budești village now have a new playground, and the inhabitants of Ialoveni, a multifunctional sports field of 800 m2 after the citizens of these localities decided with the help of the civic budget how to invest 10 thousand of euros in local development. These are just some of the results of the project "Participatory budgeting - an effective tool for citizen participation in Moldova", presented by the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS) "Viitorul" on July 9, during the final conference of the project.
The project was launched in 2019 and is implemented by IDIS "Viitorul" in partnership with the Czech organization Agora Central Europe, Ialoveni Town Hall and Budești Village Hall, with the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. The project aims to improve transparency and cooperation between the public sector and citizens in budgetary procedures, by strengthening good governance at the local level.
"Through the participatory budgeting process, the citizens of Budești and Ialoveni managed to mobilize, identified problems at the local level, came up with new visions and through joint effort, managed to implement participatory budgeting projects. In this way the dialogue between local authorities and citizens became more dynamic and local democracy, strengthened. Likewise, citizens' confidence in the fact that their opinion matters for local development has increased, and in turn, local authorities have become more transparent", said Liubomir Chiriac, IDIS executive director of "Viitorul ".
For her part, Miroslava Vitaskova, project coordinator at AGORA Central Europe, said: “Participatory budgeting is becoming very popular in the Czech Republic and a total of 80 localities are implementing this tool and almost 3 million citizens can get involved. In the Republic of Moldova, participatory budgeting was implemented in Ialoveni and Budesti and this is due to the diligent work of our partners from IDIS "Viitorul" and local partners. I consider both projects in these localities successful and I am happy that I was part of this project”.
Within the project, the citizens of Budești and Ialoveni decided how to invest 10,000 euros from the public budget. They submitted draft proposals in the summer of 2019 on the areas of local competence and voted for the winning project by SMS and direct vote. In total, 27 projects were submitted from both communities. The ideas focused on several areas, including social infrastructure, urban mobility, landscaping, culture, playgrounds and sports, education and smart city. Also, the participatory budgeting methodology was created for the local public authorities in Moldova, which will be later transferred to other localities in the country. One of the long-term objectives of the project is to increase the number of municipalities, at least 10 localities, which will use the participatory budgeting instrument.
Therefore, the over 180 children who will attend the kindergarten "Viorel and Viorica" in the village of Budesti, have a new playground after installing modern slides here, purchased through the participatory budgeting program. The project received the highest number of votes, accumulating 444 votes out of 616 offered in total and was chosen as the winner in November 2019 to be implemented by the local public administration together with the community.
"Parents wanted this playground for us and we set out to be a project not only for children who currently attend the institution, but also for future beneficiaries. Therefore, we considered it a pretty beneficial project and we thank them a lot for carrying out this project because, for sure, the children will be delighted", is the opinion of the director of the kindergarten "Viorel and Viorica", Ludmila Ganganu.
Most of the existing slides on the playgrounds of the kindergarten in Budești are old (since 1981), worn, destroyed by time and even dangerous. Through this project, swings, trumpets, carousel and other play elements were installed. The project budget is 180 thousand lei, of which 100 thousand lei are part of the local budget in Budești, and 80 thousand were provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic through AGORA Central Europe within the participatory budgeting project.
"The participatory budgeting project gave us the opportunity to involve the whole community in identifying local development priorities. So, by proposing citizens to have new playgrounds in kindergarten, we managed to make the community a priority. At the same time, we learned certain lessons and we tried to inspire in people the confidence to be actively involved in achieving the objectives of social importance", underlined Nina Costiuc, the mayor of Budești village.
And the citizens of Ialoveni, together with the local public administration, managed to arrange a multifunctional sports field on Păcii Street with an area of 800 m2. The multifunctional sports field is arranged with special spaces for practicing football, basketball and volleyball for the 520 citizens who live on this street and the other inhabitants of Ialoveni. The project budget is 298 thousand lei, of which 211 thousand lei are part of the local budget in Ialoveni, and 87 thousand were provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.
"The project of the multifunctional stadium in Păcii Street was selected after voting by the citizens of Ialoveni as the most coveted project, with a major impact for the locals, who are extremely grateful for the results", says Carolina Nofit, author the participatory budgeting project in Ialoveni.
"We thank the partners, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, AGORA, IDIS "Viitorul", for promoting this project. We are sure that attracting similar projects will bring you prosperity for the whole community ", underlined the mayor of Ialoveni, Sergiu Armașu.
By implementing the project, the IDIS "Viitorul" team managed to increase the competencies of the City Hall of Ialoveni and the City Hall of Budești in promoting the concept of participatory budgeting. Thus, during the project, they benefited from several workshops in which they were trained on how to coordinate participatory budgeting in their communities.
Participatory budgeting is a practice of participatory democracy in which citizens are involved in decisions about how public money is allocated. Participatory budgeting is a mechanism for involving citizens in the decision-making process at local level and in developing a constructive dialogue between local public administration and citizens. Originally published in the late 1980s in the city of Porto Alegre, Brazil, participatory budgeting has been gradually adopted by cities in Europe, the United States and other regions of the world, including Romania. In the Republic of Moldova, along with Budesti and Ialoveni, the municipalities of Chisinau, Balti, Ungheni, Cahul, but also the city of Cimislia implement participatory budgeting practices in their communities.
The project "Participatory budgeting - an effective tool for citizen participation in Moldova" is implemented by Agora Central Europe, IDIS "Viitorul", Ialoveni Town Hall and Budești Village Hall, with the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic within the "Transition Promotion" program.