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(01 February 2019) - Márta Márczis, who led a team of experts in 2016-2018 providing assistance to rural development in the Republic of Moldova, tells an uplifting story of commitment, energy, openness and creativity displayed by hundreds of rural citizen-led initiatives.

Moldova.
© UNDP

The main objective of the EU-funded SARD programme (€6.5 million) was to develop regions and territorial administrative units with special status in Moldova: the Autonomous Territorial Unit (ATU) of Gagauzia, homeland of Gagauzian people, and Taraclia District, where the majority of the population is Bulgarian.

Using the LEADER territorial approach, the programme successfully connected ethnically different villages in the two target regions, and the Local Action Groups (LAGs) territorial partnerships were extended to the neighbouring districts around Taraclia and Gagauzia, aiming to eliminate ethnic boundaries.

Successful implementation of SARD in the south has inspired many rural communities to start to learn and implement the LEADER approach elsewhere in Moldova.

In December 2018 the Moldovan national LEADER Association was established with the aim of facilitating all LEADER initiatives in the Republic of Moldova. LAGs are interested in networking to get to know each other and to learn from each other, acquiring experiences from other countries and cooperating on projects.

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