With over 7,000 Moldovans involved in the Post-2015 national consultations, it would be a shame not to address the problems that came up and let all that social energy go to waste.
The consultations uncovered a long list of major problems, but it’s risky to dive right in without the proper preparation and resources. It’s better to test the waters and try new things, which is exactly what our small team has been doing:
- What is the big issue we want to tackle? Employment. As in other parts of the region, finding a decent job topped the list of people’s concerns. Looking to the future means focusing on young people, and for them the issue of unemployment is particularly troubling.
- Who should be involved? Certainly, young people are an obvious choice. However, since youth unemployment is a complex and multi-faceted issue, we definitely want to attract a broad range of participants: employers? – yes! Public authorities – yes! Educators and activists? – yes! Ultimately, it’s crucial to provide a space where people can discuss these issues with one another, rather than just with UNDP….
- How do we get people involved? Clearly, we don’t want another round of consultations, but rather a citizen-led engagement process. Getting Moldovan youth (and other citizens) to become real owners and participants in development is just as important as reaching the development goals themselves.
In this world of information overload and “policy discussion” fatigue, maybe the best approach is… making development fun!
Together with colleagues from the Engagement Lab at Emerson College, we’ll run a gaming platform that encourages Moldovans to propose solutions to today’s serious problems. Some of the ideas will then be tested and, hopefully, they’ll help society get a handle on the youth unemployment issue.
Have you used games or other ‘fun tricks’ to tackle serious issues? What worked for you?