After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Republic of Moldova, having proclaimed its independence, set on the path to the establishment of democracy. But, unfortunately, many things could not be achieved, since in 1992 a military conflict occurred. It threw the Moldovan economy, as well as other areas of activity, to many years back.
The path towards the restoration of the integrity of Moldova proved to be too long and difficult for us. Though 18 years have passed and emotions have calmed, the pain of those who lost their relatives and close friends on both sides of the conflict has not yet subsided. Proceeding from these realities and in order to avoid new conflicts, new sufferings, negotiations have been conducted all these years concerning the settlement of relationships between the parties in the conflict, but up to this moment the conflict remains unsolved, despite the efforts of the international organizations.
This circumstance has a negative impact on the economic development of the country, and first of all on the social sphere.
At the same time, we should mention that this period was also characterized by positive changes. The constructive principle prevailed in the development and consolidation of links between Moldova and the European Union. Today the Republic of Moldova maintains diplomatic relationships with 123 countries of the world, is a full rights member of the UNO, associated member of the European Council, member of the WTO, OSCE, GUAM, CIS and other prestigious organizations. All these contribute to the democratization of society.
At the same time the Republic of Moldova continues to be the poorest country of Europe. 75% of its population lives under the poverty line.
The transition to market economy and political reforms was conditioned by the economic and social crisis.
During the 18 year period these reforms had serious social consequences:
- a continuous decrease of the level of life,
- increase of inflation,
- increase of the poverty of the population,
- delays in the payment of salaries and pensions,
- increase of morbidity, etc.
The prolonged crisis presents a significant threat for the persons with low incomes. In the Republic of Moldova there are registered about 800,000 pensioners (17.8%) and over 100,000 invalids, whose average pension constitutes 60 US dollars, while the basket of goods constitutes more than 100 US dollars.
The demographic indices of the republic have decreased dramatically. The natural population increase constitutes (minus 1.1% per one thousand of population). One of the most alarming manifestations in the demographic development in the increase of mortality, especially among children, which in 2002 constituted 18.8% for one thousand of the population (in 2001 – 18.2). At the same time life expectancy shortens, and constitutes only 66 years.
The reformation of the public health system is performed slowly and inconsequently.
At present Moldova implements the system of compulsory medical insurance; nevertheless, the insurance does not cover all the costs for medical services, which is why patients are forced to pay additionally for medical services. In addition, persons who do not work, or those who work in agriculture, do not always have to possibility to purchase the medical insurance. Certainly, vulnerable parts of society, who lack means of subsistence, are unable to pay for treatment.
The system of education in the Republic of Moldova is still at the stage of transformation and reforms. The majority of children from low-income families, especially from rural areas, do not attend school. Because of the lack of financial means, vulnerable parts of society are unable to provide their children with the most necessary: food, clothing, footwear, articles of stationery.
This is one of the most acute social problems, because upbringing and educating a humane and worthy generation is a sacred duty of each of us.
25% of the working population, in search of an income, has emigrated abroad, most of them illegally.
As the result the elderly were left without care, and children – without parents, in the care of relatives or neighbours.
In this difficult situation the role of the Red Cross in providing humanitarian aid and social services to population is extremely important.
But before proceeding directly to the activity performed by the Red Cross Society of Moldova, let me say a few words about the Society itself.
The Red Cross Society of Moldova was established in 1924, and on the 8th of May this year celebrated its 85th anniversary.
MOLDOVA RED CROSS SOCIETY GENERAL INFORMATION
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Red Cross of Moldova was reorganized into the National Red Cross Society of Moldova, officially recognized by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Moldova in 1992.
On 12 November 1999 the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova passed the Law concerning the use and protection of the red сross emblem.
On 10 May 2001 the Parliament passed the Law “on the National Red Cross Society of Moldova”. This law determined the legal status and main directions of activity of the Red Cross Society of Moldova, regulates its relationships with the public administration and with the participants of the International Movement of Red Cross and Red Crescent. The above-mentioned Law also determines the presence in the country of only one National Red Cross Society, open for all and carrying humanitarian mission on the entire territory of the country.
Since 2001 the Red Cross Society of Moldova has been a member of the International Movement of Red Cross and Red Crescent.
The Red Cross Society of Moldova performs its activity on the entire territory of the republic through 26 Red Cross branches, 538 primary organizations, 5,200 volunteers and 56,344 members of the Red Cross Society of Moldova.
The National Society of Moldova concentrates its efforts on the support of lonely elderly, orphans, and families with many children, low-income families, the disabled, in other words – on the disinterested support of the most vulnerable parts of population. We also make efforts together with governmental organizations and contribute to the successful realization of the National Programs concerning the solving of various social problems, especially of those concerning the reduction of poverty level and the health care of the population.
The Red Cross Society of Moldova closely collaborates with central and local authorities and other organizations rendering assistance to the population. The humanitarian activity of the Moldovan Red Cross is well known and highly appreciated in Moldova both by the population and by state structures.
According to the Strategy – 2010 of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and in conformity with the Plan of the development of the Red Cross Society of Moldova up to 2010 the priority directions of activity of the Red Cross Society of Moldova are the following:
PRIORITIES OF MOLDOVA RED CROSS SOCIETY
- Improvement of Moldova Red Cross activities by means of organizational development and capacity building, consolidation of the financial, material and technical basis of the Society;
- Preparedness and response to disasters;
- Health care and home care. Consolidation of visiting nurse service;
- Dissemination of humanitarian values and fundamental principles of the Movement;
On each of the above-mentioned priorities we performed specific programs.
I. Improvement of Moldova Red Cross activities by means of organizational development and capacity building, consolidation of the financial, material and technical basis of the Society.
The organizational development of Red Cross Committees of Moldova is a component of the Strategic Plan of the National Society, because without well functioning branches of the Red Cross it is impossible to provide qualitative and efficient services to the most vulnerable parts of society at the local level.
At present, because of the economical crisis in the republic, the Moldovan Red Cross faces great difficulties.
Undoubtedly, they can be overcome only with the availability of a strong material and technical basis of the Society. Development of human resources, training of personnel, of volunteers, development of the material basis of our branches.
All these require important investments.
But because of the high poverty level in the country the governmental organizations are unable to provide us with the necessary financial assistance, and the Red Cross Society of Moldova does not have financial means for successful development, which is why we count on the understanding and support of our donors.
We are very grateful to the Norwegian Red Cross and personally to Mr. Karsten for financial support over a 5 year period.
Owing to the support of the Norwegian Red Cross, the Red Cross Society of Moldova has achieved certain results in its development, in particular:
- The Statute of the Red Cross Society of Moldova was adjusted to the Recommendations of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies;
- A separation of governance and management was performed on all levels;
- The strategy of volunteering was developed;
- The volunteer’s guide was developed;
- A number of activities was performed with the purpose of recruiting new volunteers;
- Public events were performed with the purpose of informing the population with the activity of the Red Cross;
- Training seminars were conducted for the personnel and volunteers of the Red Cross with the purpose of increasing their professional level;
- 5 committees were provided with office equipment and furniture.
It is impossible to imagine the realization of the entire activity of the Red Cross without a well developed network of volunteers.
- Volunteers from 12 branches were trained on leadership within the seminar organized by the National Committee of the Red Cross Society of Moldova.
- Besides, 2 trainings were organized with the purpose of training new volunteers on the program “Management of Volunteering”.
- With the purpose of recruiting new volunteers 280 informational sessions were conducted in education institutions. Also, by means of the mass media, information about the activity of the Red Cross and about the role of volunteers in this organization was disseminated within various programs on TV and radio.
- With the occasion of the International Day of Volunteers, 5 December, about 100 Red Cross volunteers participated at the Republican Festival of Volunteers,
- Public events were organized at all branches of the Red Cross together with the volunteers of other organizations.
For further development of the National Society in the next 3 years, an ICB application was submitted to the Secretariat of the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent. Unfortunately, Moldova Red Cross has not received this funding although it was selected for the first round and the ICB Board did not have any comment on the second round.
Anyway, Moldova Red Cross has many objectives to achieve in the field of organisational development:
- Create new Red Cross branches;
- Provide trainings on leadership for volunteers from other branches;
- Train Moldova Red Cross paid staff;
- Edit fundraising manual for staff and volunteers;
- Create a fundraising service within Moldova Red Cross;
- Computerise Red Cross branches.
We hope to get financial and technical support from donors for the implementation of this project.
II. PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE TO DISASTERS
The Republic of Moldova is located in a zone prone to such disasters as earthquakes, landslides, droughts, floods etc. Besides that, there are about 320 dangerous chemical objects on the territory of the country that produced 150 accidents in the past 10 years. These disasters and accidents produce material destructions and very often produce human victims, damaging and reducing the number of population.
Only in 2008 there were registered 179 disasters that produced 210 human victims, out of which 14 were children. Annual losses caused by disasters in recent years amounted to 68% of the consolidated budget. Preparedness of the local branches to natural and hand-made disasters and response to them constitute one of the strategically directions of Moldova Red Cross Society. In order to coordinate the activities in this area, a cooperation Agreement between National committee of Moldova Red Cross Society and the Department of Emergency Situations (DES) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Moldova. The Red Cross branch directors are members of the local commissions for response to emergency situations.
Moldova Red Cross Society, with the financial support of the Norwegian Government, jointly with DES has conducted an assessment of community vulnerability to different natural and hand made disasters. Based on that assessment, a booklet “Assessment of the community vulnerability to different disasters” was published and distributed to all Red Cross branches and DES local units. Also, MRCS disaster preparedness and response plan was rewied. The paid staff and volunteers have been trained on disaster management. 6 RC branches have conducted coordination meetings with partners (representatives of local authorities and other non governmanetal organisations.)
Moldova RC takes part at annual trainings on first aid organised by Department of Emergency Situations .
Each year the Republic of Moldova is striken by various natural disasters. In 2007 a severe drought has affected the country, in 2008 floods destroyed many houses and made human victims. More than 400 people have been avacuated from the affected areas. 677 houses have been affected out of which 131 being completely destroyed. Some 7,000 hectares of crop lands and 1803 hectares of small plots have been inundated. 2200 wells have been submerged leaving about 70000 people without drinking water.
Moldova Red Cross has visited the affected communities, providing humanitarian assistance from own reserves to 656 persons on the amount of 17340 USD.
At the same time, Moldova Red Cross applied through mass media to local donors and diplomatic missions in Moldova in order to collect necessary funds for the affected communities. Also, Moldova Red Cross applied to the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies for help by launching emergency appeal. As result of this action, 388 000 CHF have been collected to assist the affected people. Moldova Red Cross is very grateful to the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies, Norwegian Red Cross, Netherlands Red Cross, Italian Red Cross, and Japanese Red Cross for the provided assistance.
We thank the Turkish Red Crescent who responded among the first to Moldova Red Cross appeal and provided assistance on the amount of 145,000 USD.
- During the project, the mobile team has repaired 82 affected houses. Red Cross visiting nurses travel together with the mobile response teams to offer basic nursing services and psychosocial support to the disaster affected families;
- In order to effectively prepare and respond to emergency situations Moldova Red Cross needs to do the following:
- further train staff, volunteers and members of the regional response teams;
- procure necessary equipment for disaster response teams;
- supply the emergency stock for 500 persons.
III. Health and home base care
Consolidation of the Visiting Nurses ‘Service (VNS)
The low living standard, illegal migration and drug usage create favourable grounds for the spreading of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and pandemic influenza among population.
According to the information dated January 2009, 4733 cases of HIV-infection were recorded in Moldova. Thus, the morbidity of HIV positive or AIDS patients per 100 000 inhabitants constitutes 17,4. 80% of HIV positive persons are young people aged 15-29, 70 children with a confirmed HIV diagnosis. From 1987, 96 persons died of AIDS. 80% of the cases are sexually transmitted. From the total number of positive infected, 65,2% are men and 34,8% - women. According to the statistic information from Ministry of Health of Moldova, on 01.01.2009 the drug usage spreading in Moldova remains high and it constitutes 316,1 per 100 000 population. The highest level of drug usage spreading is registered among men – 91,9%. Another classification is by age: 39,4% - youth aged 15-19 and 25,3% - youth aged 20-24.
Taking in consideration the social-economical difficulties that government faces during the last years, the absolute success of global set goals in minimizing the morbidity of these diseases can be achieved through active participation of public organisations in the health care programmes. That is why Moldova Red Cross is extensively involved in prevention of pandemic of social dangerous diseases. When speaking about the national health care programmes, Moldova Red Cross Society plays an important role in the work with the most vulnerable layers of population.
Moldova Red Cross continues to organize activities directed to minimize the vulnerability of target population’s groups, development of tolerance, reduction of stigma and discrimination against HIV infected people.
In 2009 more than 400 volunteers were involved in performing various public events, round table meetings, informative sessions, consultations and other events. 11.000 booklets on drug usage and HIV/ AIDS prevention were distributed among population. In order to involve youth in the problems of drug usage and HIV/ AIDS spreading, reduction of stigma and discrimination faced by drug users and people living with HIV, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and with the active participation of TV, 400 volunteers took part in the organisation of trainings and seminars, informative sessions, essay contests, drawing and poster contests and teleradio talk-shows. The best essays are published in newspapers and the best drawings and posters are exhibited by Moldova Red Cross during public events. Knowledge dissemination, organization of public events, peer education activities within educational institutions form an integrant part of the routine activity of Red Cross volunteers.
In spite of the lack of financial resources, Bender Red Cross branch continues the activity of the harm reduction needle exchange where the narchologist, jurist and psychologist provide their consultative services to target groups on a voluntary basis. Within the needle exchange centre, there is also social support offered to target beneficiaries. In the framework of health care programmes, Moldova Red Cross Society performs influenza prevention activity. For a period of 2 years, Moldova Red Cross, with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies implemented the avian influenza prevention project. In its framework trained volunteers carried out a large informational activity among the republic’s population.
On the proposal of the International Federation, Moldova Red Cross Society worked out and presented in November 2008 the H2P project „Pandemic influenza”, which passed the 1st stage selection and after some modifications should have been presented for final approval. Unfortunately, because of the difficult political situation occurred in April 2009, the International Federation’s experts couldn’t visit Moldova to offer technical assistance for the final version of the project. As a result, Moldova Red Cross Society did not get the funding even if the National Society was included in the National Plan of the Republic of Moldova in preventing the pandemic influenza.
According to the official information of the Ministry of Health of Moldova, the epidemiological situation in the country will get worse and on the 1st of September 2009 there are recorded 77 supposed cases of A (H1N1) virus infection out of which 10 cases are confirmed by relevant laboratories. Even if Moldova Red Cross possibilities are limited, it is involved in the organization of prevention activities in cooperation with the Ministry of Health.
During the last years, the socio-demographic situation in Moldova is characterised by a sudden decrease of the population living standards.
Visiting Nurses’ Service (VNS) of Moldova Red Cross Society has a rich experience (active since 1961) in providing necessary medical and social assistance to the lonely elder people and invalids. During the year 2008, VNS offered support to a number of 20405 elder beneficiaries , among them 6900 invalids and 132 HIV positive persons.
However, at this stage, the development of the VNS depends on external funding. Due to the sharp economic fall, it is harder for Moldova Red Cross to solve out the issues related to the funding of VNS. If up till the year 2003 it was half financed from the state budget, now this is impossible due to the annual deficit.
During the last years VNS was effective thanks to the material and financial support received from the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies, Norway Red Cross, French Red Cross and Austrian Red Cross Societies.
The increased demand for visiting nurses’ services requires analysis of its qualitative and quantitative structure, which will further allow a realistic assessment of VNS opportunities and ways of its consolidation. One of the most needed and important directions for the solution of above mentioned problem is represented by social research which will enable compilation of accurate data for elaboration of VNS consolidation plans. It is necessary to improve VNS material and technical bases, equip the VNS personnel, upgrade the professional and business qualification of VNS managers and visiting nurses through organisation of seminars and access to training literature.
In the light of the above stated and taking into consideration the current socio-economic situation, Moldova Red Cross relies on donor understanding and support.
Between 2005 and 2007 being financially supported by the European Union and with technical and financial support from French Red Cross, Moldova Red Cross implemented the project „Capacity building of Moldova Red Cross through the development of volunteer network” with a budget of 250 000 EURO.
The project included the following components:
- Psycho-social assistance
- HIV and AIDS prevention
- Communication and visibility
- First aid
The project contributed to the capacity building of Moldova Red Cross branches and partnership relations with other non-governmental organisations and authorities. First aid component caused greater impact on the population.
In 14 Red Cross branches have been instructed 32 volunteers as trainers who continue to be active. All in all, in the framework of „Capacity building of Moldova Red Cross through the development of volunteer network” program a total number of 1051 people have been trained. Persons who passed the first aid training receive relevant certificates which are signed by the National Society, Ministry of Health and the National Medical, Scientific-Practical Emergency Centre. Being given that volunteers instructed as trainers migrate due to different reasons (education, work, and migration), Moldova Red Cross branches lose their opportunity to continue population training as we lack trainers of trainers.
Lately, the problem of domestic violence becomes more and more actual. In most of the cases, the domestic violence affects the women and the children. The Moldovan Red Cross Society, with the financial support of the Norwegian Rd Cross Society, started in September 2008 the implementation of the project “Combating violence against women and children”, meant to fight this phenomenon.
The first step made within the project was the ample research of the phenomenon and of its spread. In the regional branches in which the project was to be implemented a sociological survey was carried on.
The results were shocking: The physical violence has intensified in the parental family and in the partner – partner relationship; Incestuous relationships have been reported as well, only 4 percent of the respondents would go to NGOs to receive help.
The study revealed that the population is not well informed on the problem of domestic violence and human trafficking, not understanding the depth of the problem.
During the implementation of the project “Combating violence against women and children” , the collaborators of the Moldovan Red Cross Society did everything possible to cover these deficiencies and to stop the spread of this horrible phenomenon.
The actions carried on were focused on two aims:
- Raising the awareness and the level of informing of the population about the domestic violence
- Reducing the number of case of domestic violence
The following activities were carried on within the projects:
- A republican seminar and three regional seminars on the topic “Combating and preventing violence against women and children” with the participation of :
- The directors of the regional branches of RCM
- The NGO partners ONG (OSCE, USAID, UNICEF, IOM, UNFPA, UNDP, Winrock International, Rezonans, Casa Mãrioarei)
- The Law Bodies
- The psychologists and social assistants
- Mass media
- A republican seminar on the topic “The human rights in the Republic of Moldova – declarations, achievements and perspectives” with the participation of:
- The directors of the regional branches of RCM
- The NGO partners ONG (OSCE, USAID, UNICEF, IOM,UNFPA, UNDP, Winrock International, Rezonans, Casa Mãrioarei)
- The Law Bodies
- The psychologists and social assistants
- Mass media
- In the regional branches which implemented the project 80 informational sessions were organized, in which more than 1700 beneficiaries participated: children and adults. The sessions were held in schools, boarding schools, orphanages, children’s camps, public places, etc. The target audience of the sessions was: the children, the orphans, the children of the street, young women willing to go abroad.
- A number of public events were organized intended to draw the public’s attention to the gravity of the problem of domestic violence. In addition to ordinary people, children and women from socially vulnerable families and handicapped children participated.
- In the schools from the republic, the Republican Contest of children’s drawings on the topic: “We are against violence” was organized. Tens of drawings from the whole country were received, from 6 – 15-year-old children. The best drawings were awarded and exhibited in the exhibition organised on the occasion of the Children International Day on June 1st.
- Over 30000 informational brochures were elaborated and printed out, carrying on the message: “STOP THE VIOLENCE
- The Red Cross of Moldova participated in the 16 days against violence campaign, and on December, the 7th, along with other participating NGOs, we organised the “March of Candles” for all the victims of domestic violence.
- During the realization of the project, we had an intense collaboration both with representatives of the central and local public authorities, the Ministry of Social Protection, state institutions, as well as with specialized NGOs in the protection of human rights, like: OSCE, USAID, UNICEF, IOM, UNFPA, Winrock International, La Strada and many others.
The efforts of the Society of Red Cross of Moldova were highly appreciated by the population, the results being as following:
- The level of information on the general concept of domestic violence has raised.
- The domestic violence is already understood as a problem of everyone, not just of the family.
- The people already know where they can get help in case of domestic violence.
The realization of the project “Combating violence against women and children” was very welcome in Moldova, considering the lack information and indifference of the population towards this problem.
The impact of the project was very powerful.
The project lasted for 1 year – enough time for raising the awareness of a part of the population towards the gravity of the problem, but too little for handling the entire nation.
The following minuses have been discovered:
- Lack of information on domestic violence and human being trafficking
- Limited conceptions in the protection of the victim
- Tendency of family separation because of these two phenomena
- Strong interdependence between these two phenomena
- Poor information of the people on the places where the victim could receive help
- Education of the children in an instable, lacked of traditional family values and respecting rights.
A lot of persons weren’t actually helped or informed.
Though the results of the project are very good, the Red Cross of Moldova considers that a continuity of the project and a bigger territory expansion could cover these lacks.
Support to the vulnerable people
Difficult economical situation has a negative impact on the living of all population. Lonely, elderly, multi-children families and invalids find themselves in a difficult material situation. State authorities are unable to effectively support people due to the deepening of the economic crisis.
Due to the fact that the majority of population lives under poverty line, Moldova Red Cross directs its efforts to the support of lonely elder people, orphans, multi-children families, socio-vulnerable families, invalids. At the same time, Moldova Red Cross, along with governmental organisations, makes efforts to contribute to the successful implementation of the national programs focused on the solution of different social problems, special attention being paid to poverty reduction.
Moldova Red Cross is highly grateful to Swiss Red Cross Society for supporting, during 5 years, the „Twice Christmas” project which provides valuable humanitarian aid as food products, shoes, clothes, stationary materials and hygienic items on the amount of 290 000 CHF to the most vulnerable layers of population. The number of beneficiaries constitutes 8000 families per year.
Also, for a period of 4 years, Swiss Red Cross finances 5 to 7 soup kitchens where yearly 1500-1600 beneficiaries are served hot meals.
Dissemination of the Fundamental Principles and Humanitarian Values
In a permanently changing world where the incidence of violence and the number of victims of natural disasters and handmade catastrophes is continually increasing and global economic crisis is deepening, capacity mobilisation toward the improvement of the living of vulnerable becomes more and more actual. In this context, the dissemination of humanitarian values and the fundamental principles constitutes an effective tool in reaching this target.
Conventional values do not evolve by themselves. It is essential to educate and disseminate them, to contribute to the achievement of mutual respect between people and willingness to cooperate in solving common problems. In relation to this, Moldova Red Cross directs its efforts to increasing population awareness on humanitarian values and fundamental principles, respect for Red Cross Red Crescent emblem among the population of the Republic of Moldova. Serving this purpose, Moldova Red Cross organises informative sessions, public events, other activities addressed to tolerance education, reduction of stigma and discrimination, violence, respect for socially isolated groups of population ( elder, people living with HIV and AIDS, unemployed, invalids, members of national minorities).
Being supported by Norway Red Cross, on the occasion of May 8 in 2009, Moldova Red Cross organises public events under the slogan „Our world – your move” within all branches. A total number of 12 000 people participated at the above mentioned public events dedicated to the International Red Cross Day and the 85th anniversary of Moldova Red Cross. National and local mass media have broadly highlighted the humanitarian activity of Moldova Red Cross.
During the year, Red Cross volunteers and personnel held coordination meetings with partners, informative sessions on the fundamental principles in schools, lyceums, boarding schools and summer camps.
How can we comfort grief and suffering of innocent people? How can we prevent a tragedy? How to build a new world without bad things and violence? These are the most frequent questions today. That is why knowledge about humanitarian ideals of the International Movement of Red Cross Red Crescent and basic provisions of International Humanitarian Law are crucial nowadays.