We support Local Action Groups in Moldova, on institutional development, capacity building, community mobilization tools, etc.
The LEADER programme (an acronym in French meaning Links between actions for the development of the rural economy) is a European Union initiative to support rural development projects initiated at the local level in order to revitalise rural areas and create jobs.
LEADER I ran from 1991–93, LEADER II from 1994–99, and LEADER+ from 2000-2006. In the current programming period (2014-2020), the LEADER method has been extended to cover not only rural but also coastal (FARNET) and urban areas under the banner of Community-led Local Development (CLLD).
The main concept of the LEADER approach states that the development activities are more effective and efficient if decided and implemented at the local level, by local actors, according to transparent procedures. This makes LEADER approach a local development method / instrument that allows different local actors to develop an area by using its endogenous development potential. The list of 7 key features of LEADER approach includes:
- Area-based local development strategies: taking place in a small, homogeneous socially cohesive territory;
- Bottom-up approach: local actors design the strategy and choose the actions;
- Public-private partnership – the Local Action Group: LAGs are balanced groups involving public and private-sector actors, which can mobilise all available skills and resources;
- Facilitating innovation: giving LAGs the flexibility to introduce new ideas and methods;
- Integrated and multi-sectoral actions: between economic, social, cultural and environmental actions, as distinct from a sectoral approach;
- Networking: allowing learning among people, organisations and institutions at local, regional, national and European levels;
- Co-operation: among LEADER groups, for instance to share experiences, allow complementarity or to achieve critical mass.
All that makes the LEADER approach a perfect tool that corresponds with the challenges Moldova is facing at the local level on its’ way to transformation and modernisation.
The experience of other countries which have implemented LEADER mechanism show that it can be used as an accelerator and a stimulus for the real change at the local level, in terms of local development as well as in terms of community empowerment and civic engagement.
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