This July, the Balti Primaria passed legislation as part of their strategic plan to begin a municipality wide volunteering program. The legislation aims to create a Volunteer Coordinator Council that will create a program to target local NGOs, university and high school students, to develop a culture of volunteering in the city. In August, two of my site mates and I met with the Primaria (mayor’s office) in Balti to discuss assisting them in the implementation of a municipality wide volunteering initiative.
The project, titled Salut, Balti (Hello, Balti) has many facets, but will offer support to NGOs through trainings on volunteer recruitment, retention and development. Additionally, a website will be created to match volunteers to opportunities in the community.This project aims to train, develop and provide opportunities for youth as individuals and/or in groups to volunteer, as well as create, foster and promote the spirit of volunteering in Balti.
This weekend, after almost two months of work, the project kicked-off with youth trainings Saturday and Sunday, for select youth from many of the high schools in Balti. During the course of the the three weekends of trainings, students will be trained on Developing the Spirit of Volunteering, Project Management, Leadership, and Personal Development. The past weekend focused on project management, idea, design, proactivity and teamwork.
After the completion of these trainings, these students will become volunteer leaders at their schools and over the following three months will complete a community project with a mentor and team recruited from their school. The youth involved will also serve as the initial members of the volunteer network in Balti.
While this is only the first weekend of the first step of a really large project, seeing the youth get excited to spend their weekend learning about volunteering was energizing. This is also the first project of this kind on this scale in Moldova, so being a part of something that potentially and hopefully can serve as a model for other communities in Moldova is exciting.