To celebrate Danube Day in Moldova, Solidarity Water Europe and EUWI+ (European Union Water Initiative plus for Eastern Partnership) challenged themselves to cycle the 200 km between Nemteni and Giurgiulesti (Moldova), where the Danube Day 2019 festivities were organized. Danube Day is organized each year
The Danube Day celebrates the 25th anniversary of the ratification of the Danube River Protection Convention, signed in 1994. Hundreds of events are organized each year on this occasion in order to raise public awareness of the different issues related to the river and its hydrographic basin, the largest in Europe.
Youth Sporting Challenge in Moldova for the Danube Day (26-29 June): re-connecting young people with their river
From June 26th to 29th, teams of EUWI+ (uropean Union Water Initiative plus for Eastern Partnership) and Solidarity Water Europe (SWE) cycled down the Prut to its junction with the Danube. This trip was an opportunity for our teams to meet the inhabitants of the basin and draw the attention of the general public (with a special focus on youth) to the issues related to water and sanitation in the region.
The challenge thus consisted in 4 days of cycling, 200 km, 6 stops in different municipalities and one final destination: the Danube Day celebrations in Giurgiulesti.
Get active for a healthier river : an original and entertaining way to raise awareness on water issues
All along the way, our team organized together several workshops along the way to illustrate the many initiatives that are already being implemented to manage and protect water resources.
At the starting point, in the village of Nemteni , the team offered to the city council an explicative board of one of SWE’s project, bound to be implemented in the basin : a planted reeds filter station, a waste water treatment plant using a reed bed system. This board was hung inside the city council and will enable the inhabitants to better understand the operation and performance of such a treatment system as well as its added value for the territory.
Further on the road, the team visited a pumping station in the Leova village and the EcoSan toilets, an alternative to conventional sanitation in the school of Zirnesti village, thus raising awareness among the youngest participants about hygiene and sanitation issues.
Raising youth awareness on water management issues
In Cahul, SWE and EUWI+ organized a public consultation with a group of young francophone students. The objective of this consultation was to obtain a better understanding of the people’s opinion and general knowledge on the main water related issues in their river basin (Danube-Prut and Black Sea river basin).
Water : a matter of reflection as well as a source of emotions
Through this sporting challenge, participants could enjoy wonderful natural landscapes, and discover wetlands and their inhabitants. The trip also allowed us to become more aware of the richness of the biodiversity of these natural spaces but also of their fragility and vulnerability.
As an example, Lake Beleu is a unique ecosystem that belongs to the “Prutul de Jos” nature reserve, where the Prut flows into the Danube. Together with Lake Manta south of Cahul, they form a group of remarkable wetlands, home to many species of fauna and flora.
Danube Day in Giurgiulesti
The final stage of our challenge led us to Giurgiulesti, were the celebrations of the Danube Day were organised.
The opening ceremony was an opportunity for our team to review these 3 days of sporting challenge and share its experience with the general public and officials, including the new Moldovan Minister, as well as the Head of the EU Delegation in Moldova, Peter Michalko
Beyond all the cultural activities allowing to better know the local customs and habits (folk concert, exhibition of local crafts and traditional meals), the Danube Day celebration was also a privileged occasion for the general public to have a better overview of all the dynamics of international cooperation taking place at the basin level.