We’re happy to share what we view as a true success story from our Media and Information Literacy training (MIL) in Moldova.

In 2019 we worked with Rodica Verdes. She’s a social and reintegration officer from Leova prison in Moldova, and she works with prisoners to keep in touch with what is going on “outside”, getting them to read and follow what is going on in society, ready for their eventual return. Rodica applied to join IREX Europe’s program of Training of Trainers in MIL, open to librarians in Moldova, as she works with the prisoners in a tiny library within the prison

Between our programmes two ToT sessions, Rodica, as required, applied her new skills and delivered several MIL activities. However, unlike our usual librarian trainees Rodica gave trainings to a group of 17 prisoners rather than the general public. After graduating from our programme as a qualified MIL trainer Rodica is now continuing to provide media literacy training and capacity building in Leova prison, targeting prisoners due for release in the next few months.

As a graduate of our programme Rodica is eligible to further support and applied for funding for a “Media Corner”, which is an area normally in a public library where people can go and sit in comfort in armchairs and couches and access newspapers and magazines, and where usually there is a computer with access to online news and information. Our programme provides the infrastructure and subscriptions required. Together with her colleagues Rodica also applied for a grant from the Eastern European Foundation (Swedish Embassy)  which allowed them to make general repairs in their old soviet prison and to enlarge the tiny library space they had there to accommodate the Media Corner.

The renovated space and the Media corner were officially inaugurated On November 11th 2019 in the presence of  IREX Europe’s Deputy Director, Flora Graioni, representatives from the Swedish Embassy and East European Foundation and officials from the National Agency of Penitentiaries. They all offered support and contributed financially to the creation of a friendly space and of a new service in the penitentiary where Rodica and her colleagues plan to expand their MIL work with inmates, helping them prepare for reintegration into society.

The trainings and Media Corner award were implemented in the framework of the Strengthening Independent Media and Media Literacy in Moldova Project funded by the United States Department of Rights and Labor. To find out more about the project, please check here.