Women leading the way to climate-resilience in Moldova

Vera Brasovschi and Valentina Bodrug-Lungu

11 April 2016. In the small town of Sîngerei, in northern Moldova, women have been trained to start sustainable businesses. The aim is to empower women and encourage equal participation in resilience-building activities, including training in climate-resilient farming practices.

Vera Brasovschi, a local leader in business management, found that “for women it is difficult to start a business. We see that more women needed support than men. Our entrepreneurs work in extreme conditions and are affected both by political instability as well as a lack of financial resources.

One of the biggest challenges is the psychological factor: women, especially at the community level, have been afraid to start businesses. Traditionally in Moldova, women have been shunted into professions and businesses in social services; these professions, not coincidentally, are among the lowest remunerated in Moldova – with women earning on average 12% less than men.

Further complicating matters, Ms. Brasovschi notes, “every year the situation is complicated in the context of climate change. We must learn together to survive.

Highlights:

  • 12 women entrepreneurs from Sîngerei district have been trained and empowered to start their own businesses.
  • A total of 59 people (gender focal points from line ministries, journalists, local experts), including 30 women, were trained on Gender & Climate Change in order to mainstream gender into sectoral activities.
  • Guidelines on Gender mainstreaming in the Energy, Transport, Health and Forest sectors in the context of Climate Change were elaborated and disseminated.
  • A gender analysis of sectorial policies documents and recommendations on its engendering were completed.
  • A total of over 800 people (farmers, decision makers at local and central level, business leaders, journalists, etc.), including more than 280 women and 600 men were upskilled via workshops, seminars, roundtables, and trainings on adaptation to climate change.

In Moldova, the impacts of climate change, such as increasing temperatures and unpredictable rainfall, are expected to intensify – negatively affecting economic activities. The project, “Supporting Moldova’s National Climate Change Adaptation Planning Process”, is working to establish a system for medium and long-term adaptation and is making sure that women are an integral part of that process. With funding provided by the Austrian Ministry of Environment via the Austrian Development Agency and supported by UNDP Moldova, the project is being implemented by the Ministry of Environment’s Climate Change Office.

Through the project’s dedicated grant scheme to showcase innovative adaptation measures at the local level, money has been set aside to ensure that women have access to the training they need. As part of these efforts, Ms. Brasovschi implemented the pilot project "Green energy for entrepreneurship activities" and offered consulting and support to individuals on how to manage resources, fundraise, etc. “Through the grant we offered consulting to 17 entrepreneurs, including 12 women and 5 men. 80% of these women are from vulnerable families who needed strong support - financial, social, and managerial.

People, especially women, come with experience from home, but need help to upskill in order to climate-proof their businesses. This has taken the form of mini grants for training on effective adaptation interventions and improving climate-resilient farming practices.

Mrs. Valentina Bodrug-Lungu, national gender consultant underlined: “In Moldova, as in other countries, women have gained considerable knowledge about agriculture. Respectively, they are not just victims of climate change impacts, but active agents of development. In this respect, the socio-economic empowerment of women represents the empowerment of the whole community. For Moldova there is also an ageing trend, where the majority of the people in small villages are older persons, especially women. Thus, by investing in women – we offer chances to society.”

To help make their agricultural business plans a reality, technical expertise was provided to women who received the land grants and are now able to meet the challenge of producing economically and environmentally sustainable food.

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