Youth@Work in Moldova

May 20, 2014
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Youth in Moldova are taking the future into their own hands. It started with the United Nations Development Group’s decision to launch Post-2015 Dialogues on Implementation into 50 countries. Then, the UNDP, Emerson College’s Engagement Lab and the National Youth Council of Moldova formed a coalition to tackle the issue of development in Moldova.

Screenshot taken from Youth@Work page on

“From the very beginning our main idea was to see how we can engage with Moldovan youth to discuss a topic of crucial importance for them. We wanted to employ an approach that would be engaging and “cool” with youth, but at the same time would offer an array of opportunities to learn, empathize and work together on problem solving. Playing a game has appeared a perfect way to go ahead,” Alexandru Oprunenco of UNDP said.

This game was designed by Emerson College’s Engagement Lab. Participants gain virtual coins for answering questions or participating in debates, and these virtual coins can be exchanged for real money to fund the winning projects. The game is designed to break down obstacles that otherwise prevent people from participating in local causes, such as timidity or lack of time. Three missions, each a week long, constitute one game. During the games, players accumulate virtual coins, and at the end of each game the three best projects are funded.

Screenshot taken from Youth@Work page on

Stephen Walter, the Managing Director of the Emerson College Engagement Lab said, “The two day workshop in January was an amazing experience that brought together youth leaders from throughout Moldova to introduce the idea of Community PlanIt and to get people thinking; however, not much concrete work on the content was made then. Most of the game was created by Consiliul Naţional al Tineretului din Moldova (National Youth Council of Moldova).”

UNDP’s Oprunenco commented on the game’s success saying, “In the three weeks that game was played, we managed to engage around 1,200 people from all over Moldova, including from the break-away region of Transnistria. To ensure maximum inclusivity the game platform supported two languages: Romanian/Moldovan (the state language) and Russian.”

One of the main advantages of the game was the creation of a platform through which young Moldavians across the country could communicate with one another.

The issue of immigration is a good example of the dialogue the game produced. Currently about one-fourth of Moldovans work outside of Moldova. When one participant suggested immigration is a viable option for the unemployed youth in Moldova, many others who had immigration experience, brought up the negative aspects of immigration for Moldovan youth such as the risks involved. Hearing advice from peers of the same age was much more effective than an expert talk or information campaigns.

For more specific and further information, the immediate feedback of the project can be found at

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Anna Kotlabova

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