A while back I mentioned a new project I was working on, called the Joint Information & Services Bureau (JISB). The program is funded by the Government of Sweden, supported by United Nations Women, and implemented jointlywith the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection and Ministry of Economy.
In 2010, the districts of Singerei,Nisporeni, Teleneşti, and Cantemir were selected as pilot districts to implement JISBs. Each JISB, will be located in each Raion Counsel building, within each district, and will bring together public sector service providers, such as theSection of Social Assistance and Family Protection and Office of Unemployment, as well as private and civil societyorganizations, in order to provide information about services relating to employment, social protection, agriculture, land,and initiating and developing businesses.
The long-term goal, however, is to implement E-Services. According to ITU, the UN Agency for Information and Communication Technologies, at the end of 2009 there were around 1,295,000 Internet users in Moldova, with an overall population of 4,320,748. http://www.itu.int. This means that 29.9% of the population of Moldova had internet access in 2009, which is an increase of over 10% since 2007, when it was 19.6%. Id. If internet penetration progresses at the currentrate, then by the end of the JISB/BCIS implementation process, there would be around 40% internetpenetration in Moldova, with a steady increase on a yearly basis.
With this in mind, one of the goals of this program is to implement online services (Applying for serivces online), unified government databases, and providing centralized information about services and rights. THIS is what I’ve been advocating for since I got here, and I’m excited to see the potential for it actually happening!
SO, what exactly will my role be in all of this? Until now, my support has been largely technical in nature; creating databases to record beneficiary information, discussing concerns regarding strategic planning, etc. It became clear, however, that a program as ambitious as this would benefit from the backing of Peace Corps Moldova, and not just Yoel Malashock, most athletic Peace Corps volunteer (surveys were taken).
Last week, I was able to arrange a meeting with the UN Women people to discuss potential collaboration with Peace Corps Moldova. I’ll have to admit, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Realistically, it was the highest profile meeting I have ever attended, and the fact that I facilitated it, and two of my bosses and another volunteer, Neal Collins (Shout Out), were there, added to the pressure.
I could not be happier with the result of the meeting! We have Peace Corps volunteers throughout Moldova, all of which will be able to help market the JISB to their partner organizations and beneficiaries, as well as help conduct technical trainings in how to use E-Services. To conclude the meeting, UN Women offered to draft a Memorandum of Understanding, in order to formalize the collaborative relationship between UN Women and Peace Corps Moldova!