In Mid-March, I attended a conference with members from my community, put on by Peace Corps. It was the Youth and Women Empowerment Workshop. The two community members who attended with me included an adult who is very active in the community and a youth member who, although young, is also doing much and wanting to expand opportunities for youth in the community. This was a perfect weekend for her to learn more and get inspired for us to do more.

Of all the workshops I have been to, I would say this was easily the best one yet. I learned a lot, and I could tell my partners did as well.

The purpose of this weekend workshop (Friday through Sunday), was to help inspire youth, to show the resources available to them throughout Moldova, and to help us, as the local core team to plan out activities and projects for the future. A focus was on Summer activities (clubs and summer camps).

Throughout the weekend, we had many activities and speakers. For activities, we did team buildings every day. We had leadership activities, and we even did an egg drop (that was done to help us learn about project planning). All the activities were geared towards increasing youth leadership and capacity building.

In regards to speakers, we had a panel of non-profits come in to talk to us about their organizations here in Moldova. We had Peace Corps Volunteers and their youth counterparts come in and talk about what they had done in their community. And of course, we had the organizer of this workshop present on leadership.

Throughout the weekend, we learned more about how to plan activities and implement projects that youth would also be actively involved. Whether here in Moldova or in America, I felt this was such a necessary workshop to have. It was a great way to show youth that they can take charge of their future and that they can help make their communities places they want to live and succeed in.

Empowering youth, or really anyone in the community to take action and ownership of their communities in no easy feat. But, as I’ve noticed with my hometown back in the states, taking ownership creates a new and exciting energy that has ripple effects for not just the community, but the whole region.

The photos above show my partners and I with our acting Country Director, a step planning activity, and my team figuring out how to protect an egg for the egg drop (of course our egg held together after dropping 3 meters). [Clicking on the images will make them larger.]

Until next time, enjoy a cup of joe. And as always, I welcome all comments and questions.

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