<strong>Blog: ‘Implementing Democracy: Moldova as a case study’ – how can we impact democratic practices in our societies?</strong>
February 20, 2023

Blog: ‘Implementing Democracy: Moldova as a case study’ – how can we impact democratic practices in our societies?

The online event “Implementing Democracy 101: Moldova as a case study”, organised by Young European Ambassadors from the EU and the Republic of Moldova, is a great example of the underlying dynamic of continuous learning and implementation that drives YEA actions in the initiative. Indeed, the twin approach of “learn – put in practice” is the key to a successful impact on reality, and this event revolved around this approach.

The online event served as a link between two important international events involving our YEAs. The workshop was organised by YEAs who participated in the Council of Europe’s Youth Delegation at the World Forum for Democracy in November 2022 (Despoina Panteli, Freya Proudman, and Marius Balan) and wanted to share the knowledge they gained across the YEAs network. At the same time, the event served to prepare EU YEAs who were soon travelling to Moldova for school visits on how to brainstorm creative solutions and implement initiatives for meaningful youth participation. Indeed, the importance of youth participation as a driver of democracy is one of the main outcomes of the World Forum for Democracy held by the Council of Europe, and our YEAs took Moldova as an example to concretely reflect on the matter.

During the meeting, YEAs had the opportunity to learn more about the state of democracy in Moldova, particularly in reference to disinformation in the communication and mass media sphere, the shrinking space for civil society, and various barriers to youth participation. These presentations were led by EU YEAs Jules Bigot and Juliette Lequesne, and Moldovan YEA Cătălin Dontu. This peer-to-peer sharing of information shed light on the main challenges Moldova faces and on the main obstacles it still has on its way to transparent, participative, and inclusive democracy.

The second part of the event was dedicated to skills development and group work related to one of the three topics covered (disinformation, civil space, and youth participation in Moldova). There were two skills presentations covering how to brainstorm effective solutions and how to implement those solutions. This helped YEAs learn how to confront major challenges that might at first glance appear too big for us to overcome. By splitting the matter into sub-issues, answering questions to better identify the smaller problem underlying the bigger one, and digging to find the roots of the cause, YEAs managed to propose great ideas on how to address the three main challenges to democracy in Moldova. They were then tasked with devising strategies and steps for how they would go about implementing their ideas in their local communities. Finally, to conclude the event, the different ideas and strategies were presented by the different groups.

This event equipped YEAs going to Moldova with a precious toolkit to carry with them on their experience. This included advice on how to confront an issue that sometimes seems too big to handle, to come up with creative ideas, and how to find the key to give life to those ideas and allow them to impact reality.

The event was an outstanding example of how the vibrant community of the Young European Ambassador network works. There’s an ongoing process of sharing knowledge and good practices to help each other actively participate and contribute internally to the initiative, externally to our communities, and broadly speaking to society.

“Can we really have an impact?” is a question that we often pose ourselves, sometimes discouraged by the size of the problems that we see around us. But by remembering to tackle issues one by one, or “eat the elephant one bite at a time”, as the metaphor says, and by learning useful and new skills, we can shake off the overwhelming sense of paralysis and we can revitalise our enthusiasm and creativity.

This event is a great example of renewed energy and the acquisition of new skills to give life to ideas. A huge thanks to the YEAs from the EU Chapter that organised it, sharing with us their knowledge, to the Moldovan colleagues that shed a light on very important challenges their country is still facing, and good luck to the YEAs who are participating in school trips in Moldova!

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