UNICEF and ODIMM support social entrepreneurial education for young people in Moldova 

Today the World celebrates the International Youth Day with the theme “Youth Engagement for Global Action”

12 August 2020

Chisinau 12, 2020 – Nine teams of adolescents received small grants from UNICEF and ODIMM, to support the implementation of initiated projects in their communities, as part of UPSHIFT Moldova, a social innovation program for young people, that equips adolescents of Moldova with the skills and competencies to make a difference in their communities.   

More than 120 young people from all over the country were initially selected to participate in the Digital UPSHIFT programme, implemented by TEKEDU. They started developing their skills and competencies that will enable them to  bring a change in their communities. In the course of 6 weeks a team of UPSHIFT experts carefully mentored 15 teams, teaching them how to identify the right solutions for the problems of their communities, turning them into business ideas and making a positive impact.  

COVID-19 has taught us that we need to invest substantially in remote learning, not just for future pandemics, but to connect students from otherwise isolated and marginalized communities to a wider range of educational opportunities. Globally, only 50% of students have access to distance learning. A figure that’s even lower for girls who are 33% less likely to have access. Adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, UPSHIFT Moldova, which was successfully launched last year, continued its activities in digital format in 2020.  

It is amazing how many talented young people we have in Moldova, who care about the wellbeing of their communities and who are eager to support the development and actively participate in solving the local problems,” said Mihaela Iurascu, coordinator of UPSHIFT Moldova.    

Preparing young people for the world of work will benefit regional economies, increase security, advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and improve the well-being of millions of families and communities,” said Desiree Jongsma, UNICEF Moldova Country Representative. “The COVID-19 pandemic has economic and social repercussions in Moldova and worldwide, which are also impacting young people. The importance of the UPSHIFT programme, providing young people with entrepreneurial and innovative skills, giving them confidence in their abilities and in their successful future cannot be underestimated” - added Desiree Jongsma.   

The  kinds  of skills that young people acquire are equally important. Young people need to learn both hard and soft skills, such as acquiring an entrepreneurial mindset and skills, critical thinking, problem-solving, adaptability and communication skills.  

One of the winning projects is “LOFT” (Learning Opportunities for Teenagers). It is aiming to support adolescents aged 11-19 in choosing a career path.  

I liked UPSHIFT's teaching approach. It was very hands-on and had many practical activities. Even though all the training was delivered online, I felt connected in the same way as if we were  in the same classroom” shared Alexandra Lupan, 16 years old, Chisinau, a member of the LOFT team.  

Another winning project was developed by the 16-year-old Maria Cojocaru from Singerei. The project “Live through art” enables young people from Singerei to learn how to express themselves through painting and art. Maria and her team will conduct regular classes for adolescents from Singerei district, providing them with all the supplies for clothes painting, as well as guidance and mentorship.    

UPSHIFT Moldova was launched last year in Sangerei district. Six teams obtained funding and support for the implementation of their ideas back in 2019.   

Globally, a demographic boom is happening across much of the world. Today’s young people represent the largest cohort ever – an unprecedented 1.8 billion – who require a new inclusive approach, given the extraordinary economic, social and cultural challenges they face. 

A global multi-sector partnership Generation Unlimited was launched at the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, in September 2018. Generation Unlimited has generated interest from government and leaders from industry and other key sectors committed to cohere efforts around young people for large-scale impact and meet the urgent need for expanded education, training and employment opportunities for young people, aged 10 to 24, on an unprecedented scale. Politicians, CEOs, foundation heads and civic leaders are recognizing that forging innovative collaborations with young people at the center is the best way forward. 


UPSHIFT Moldova is a social innovation program for young people aged 15 to 24 with a specific focus on the most marginalized and vulnerable youth. Participating in this programme young people develop life skills to identify and solve social problems, using both learning elements and the opportunity to work together in a supportive environment. UPSHIFT Moldova is a program implemented by TEKEDU with the support of UNICEF Moldova. Read the story of a graduate from UPSHIFT 2019, who developed a Virtual Reality Project.    

About TEKEDU  

TEKEDU is a not-for-profit organisation, providing education for young people from rural communities through tech-education and social-entrepreneurship.  

About ODIMM  

A public, non-commercial, non-profit institution created by Government Decision no. 538 of May 17, 2007, which works in coordination with the Ministry of Economy and with other central and local authorities, business associations, business support providers and Small and Medium Enterprises.  

Media contacts

Angela Munteanu
Communication Officer
UNICEF Moldova
Tel: + 373 22 26 91 53


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