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Every village and town should have an action plan to prevent gender-based violence. This is what the villagers from Chirsova, a multiethnic village in Gagauzia, believe. For the second year, they are developing in a participatory manner a community plan to prevent and combat violence, which local authorities are committed to follow and implement. So, men and women from the village participate in discussions on the content of the document. They are also looking at how their previous proposals were implemented. The plan comes into force after it is approved by the local council.

This year's document contains 13 actions involving not only specialists directly responsible for reducing this phenomenon, but also local people. For example, during this year, a series of thematic lessons will be organized in the village high school and gymnasium. The topic of violence against women will also be addressed in meetings with parents, including those who have children of kindergarten age. Also, each newlywed couple will receive advice from a specialist from the mayor's office, as well as a leaflet named "A happy family is a family without violence," developed and published at the initiative of the multidisciplinary team from Chirsova.

"The action plan will allow local authorities to allocate and attract resources for the functioning of the services needed by the community. At the same time, the document is a support for solving a serious challenge, that exists in all localities of the country - gender-based violence,” said Vitalie Frecauteanu, project coordinator at UNDP.

"Until recently, violence was a taboo subject”

Lately, talking about gender-based violence have become commonplace for people in Chirsova. Most of them are aware that there is a multidisciplinary team in the village, enabled to reduce violence, and that every problem can be solved efficiently only if it is reported. However, things have not always been so.

"Until recently, violence was an almost taboo subject. People did not want to talk about the fact that there are women who are beaten, mistreated or subjected to economic violence,” says Vasilisa Delicostea, one of the residents of the village.

The situation gradually changed after the locality became part of a global UNDP project, implemented with the support of the Republic of Korea.

Thus, a multidisciplinary team was established in Chirsova. With the support of UNDP, it was prepared to act in all cases that pose risk to the lives and security of women and their children. At the same time, the specialists are also responsible for preventing violence, so they organize activities involving all the people in the village, adults and young people.

"We are glad that we managed to create a mechanism worthy of being taken over by other localities. Any person who is a witness or victim of a case of violence can turn to one of these specialists: social worker, teacher, educator, police employee or medical worker. Each of them can initiate the referral mechanism and start the protection process. People know that every time there is a reaction, cases are recorded, after which the optimal solution is adopted in the shortest period of time possible,” says Serghei Sapunji, mayor of Chirsova village.

Until now, the biggest concern was finding shelter for women who faced serious episodes of violence. This difficulty will also be solved soon. In the upcoming few months, a specialized centre for women survivors of violence and their children will start operating in the region. The capital reconstruction of the building was started by UNDP and the Executive Committee of Gagauzia and was completed at the end of 2019. The commissioning procedures are currently being carried out, after which the process of selecting employees will follow. The service will provide social, psychological and legal assistance as well as support in finding a job.

The project "Addressing violence against women in the Republic of Moldova: exploring and learning from local solutions" is implemented in 2018-2020 by UNDP with the support of the Republic of Korea. The initiative is part of a global UNDP project, which aims to address prevention of large-scale violence, involving new partners, strategies and sources of funding. The project is implemented in seven countries in the world, Moldova being the only one in Europe.

For additional information, please contact: Vitalie Frecauteanu, project coordinator, UNDP Moldova, vitalie.frecauteanu@undp.org, Tel: +373 69602254

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