Time for a more effective citizenry: Every third Moldovan does not know a single citizen’s right or duty

Jun 15, 2017

Photo: UNDP Moldova

Every third Moldovan could not mention a single citizen’s right or duty. 34% of Moldovans have difficulties in responding to the question on who is the sole source of the state power and the bearer of sovereignty. Only one third of Moldovans know the answer – the people.

Here are several conclusions of the case study “Civic awareness in Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus”, conducted with the support of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the framework of a project implemented by UNDP Ukraine.

“The results of the study show to what extent the citizens of the Republic of Moldova are involved in public life on local and national levels, protection of their human rights, advancement of democracy, and use of information technologies. The study is also an important source of information for the improvement of civic education programmes and implementation of reforms in related spheres”, noted Evghenii Alexandrovici Golosceapov, Programme Analyst, Justice and Human Rights at UNDP Moldova.

The main findings of the study are presented in 4 sections and include the following topics: civic knowledge, civic behaviour, civic attitudes and beliefs and prospects for civic education.

1. Civic knowledge – Being asked to name up to three citizen rights, Moldovans have referred preponderantly to socio-economic ones. More frequently, the respondents mentioned the right to work (26%), the freedom of speech (21%), the right to life (17%), to medicine, treatment and health (16%) and to education (16%). On average, every third citizen couldn’t name a single right.

Regarding the duties of citizens, Moldovans mentioned more frequently the duty to comply with law and order and payment of taxes (34% and 19%, respectively). The duty to work (8%), to be honest and behave in a dignified manner in public (7%), and not to violate the rights of the others (5%) have been mentioned less. 37% of the respondents from Moldova could not name one duty.

The level of other civic knowledge is also insufficient. 34% of Moldovans have difficulty in responding to the question of who is the sole source of state power and the bearer of sovereignty. Only 34% of Moldavans know that it is the people. 30% of the respondents call the President as the source of power and the bearer of sovereignty, and 18% - the Parliament.

The knowledge of financial processes, occurring in the country, is also important. The subjective assessment of the awareness of how the state budget is drawn up and spent is rather low. In Moldova 17% of all respondents mentioned that they have good or fair knowledge of the subject. 28% of Moldovans have good or fair knowledge of what part of the income is paid by the individuals as taxes and charges. The rest of respondents considered themselves having little or no knowledge of the subject or declared difficulty in assessing their own level of knowledge.

The survey has also included questions about respondents’ knowledge of the specific income tax rates for individuals. In Moldova, the level of knowledge is low - only 27% respondents have answered correctly the rates level of the income taxes that are paid by individuals. More than half of Moldovan respondents (55%) were not able to provide an answer, while the others have chosen the wrong options.

2. Civic behaviour – 53% of Moldovan respondents have declared their willingness to join a peaceful protest against the construction of a harmful factory near their houses.

As for the cleaning of nearby public areas (a "more immediate" social problem), 40% of Moldovans expressed their willing to organise such a campaign. 28% of Moldovans are willing to provide financial or in-kind help for such campaigns. 67% of Moldovans would participate in person.

The first and the foremost social issue that could bring the citizens of Moldova to protest on the street is the protection of human rights (42%), followed by the problems in the health sector (42%), environmental issues (38%), problems in the housing sector (33%) and the increase in prices and tariffs with declining incomes (29%).

The actual level of civic engagement, as opposed to declarative one, shows that even if 38% of Moldovan respondents expressed their nonparticipation in community life, the level of their practical involvement local community’s life is relatively high. For example, 39% of Moldovans participate in the beautification of public yards or streets. In Moldova, 44% of people have served as volunteers for at least once.

67% of Moldovans believe that their participation in elections, protests, public hearings, appeals drafting to local authorities and signing the petitions can exert an influence on the actions and decisions of authorities. Authors have concluded that in Moldova, there is a relatively high overall level of civic engagement, willingness to participate in community’s initiatives and organisations, confidence in one’s impact on life in the city/country, and high volunteering level.

3. Civic attitudes and beliefs - In the perceptions of Moldovans, the top 5 values, personally important for a good citizen, are: human rights (56%), obedience to the law (40%), personal freedom (38%) and the respect for human life (34%).

The ability to accept other people, who are different in some ways, is a necessary value of a citizen in a democratic society that promote equal rights for all people, regardless of their origin, religion, sexual orientation. 79% of Moldovans do not consider acceptable to live next to LGBT persons. A cautious attitude also predominates to ex-prisoners. 40% of Moldovans would not accept immigrants as their neighbours. Living next to representatives of other races/ethnicities is considered unacceptable by 32% of respondents.

4. Prospects for civic education – Moldovans, most often, have personally experienced violation of their rights in medical (32%), judiciary (21%) and employment (12%) fields. However, 33% of respondents in Moldova stated that they have never had to deal with violations of their rights in any area.

Most of the Moldovan respondents (84%) believe in the importance of today’s civic knowledge education of the public. Most often, the respondents from Moldova have indicated the willingness to improve their knowledge on human rights (40%), foreign languages (20%) as well as business and entrepreneurship. Among different skills, most of all, Moldovans would like to develop the ability for conflict resolution, to defend their own rights and interests, to develop critical thinking and to set up their own businesses.

The study was conducted from June to September 2016 and consisted of two stages: a sociological survey representative for the adult population and then of focus groups with the public and experts.

The sample size for Moldova was of 400 persons, therefore the margin of error does not exceed 1.6% for the near 50% indices with a confidence level of 0.95 and design effect of 2.

The methodology was developed by Pact Inc. and UNDP and adapted by research companies for each country. In Moldova, the field work was conducted by the "CBS-AXA" company. The presentation of the study in Moldova has been organized by the East-European Foundation with financial support from the Government of Sweden and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark / DANIDA.

Media Contact:

Laura Bohantova, Communications Analyst, laura.bohantova@undp.org Tel: +373 685 11 883

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