© Elene Tkhlashidze / Helvetas


Since 2018, Helvetas has been committed in Moldova to creating more economic opportunities for the population. Following the outbreak of the Ukraine war in 2022, Helvetas has also been providing humanitarian aid for refugees. We also support Moldovan host families who are taking in refugees and are themselves affected by poverty.
© Elene Tkhlashidze / Helvetas
  • Capital
  • Area
    33,846 km²
  • Poverty rate*
    25% of the population live under the poverty line of $1.90 per day
    Rank: 80 out of 191
  • Population
  • Thematic focus
    Vocational Skills Development
    Market Systems Development
    Gender & Social Equity
    Agriculture and Nutrition
* Source: UN Data

Since independence in 1991, the country has pursued political, economic and social transition towards establishing democratic institutions, introducing a market economy and building a nation. It has made significant progress in reducing poverty and promoting inclusive growth.

At the same time Moldova's economic growth is still mostly fueled by consumption and money that numerous Moldovans living abroad send to their families back home. Only about 40% of the population is employed.

Strengthening markets and job seekers for a functioning economy

The SDC project that Helvetas is implementing in Moldova (Optim) aims to stimulate market systems in the country and thus create better economic opportunities for the population. Our focus is on agriculture, a large sector of the economy with many jobs but very low wages, and on the information and communication technology (ICT) sector, which offers high salaries but has a shortage of qualified employees.

In agriculture, we work within agribusiness, which includes the agricultural sector and the economic activities upstream and downstream. The aim is to make all components in the system more competitive. This should create more higher-quality and better-paid jobs for young people. We also want to strengthen the ICT sector and improve ICT training throughout the country so that graduates have better qualifications when they enter the workforce.

«Girls and boys graduate from Moldova’s schools and universities at the same level. However, because of the traditional childcare function women are less likely to be employed at higher skilled positions and are paid less than men. Addressing gender equity is one of our priorities in Moldova.»

Elene Tkhlashidze, MSD Advisor / MRM Lead, Moldova

Helvetas helps people in Moldova affected by the Ukraine war

The war is catastrophic for the people in Ukraine and is also heavily affecting neighboring countries. Helvetas is helping refugees within Ukraine and in its southern neighbor Moldova. In relation to its population, Moldova has taken in more refugees than any other country.  More than 870,000 (as of 07/24/2023) people have already fled across the Moldova-Ukraine border since the outbreak of the war.

Together with our French partner organization Acted, Helvetas provided buses shortly after the outbreak of the war to transport refugees — especially women and children — from border posts onward to the capital, Chisinau, or to one of the reception centers. We distribute SIM cards and provide internet access so that arriving refugees can communicate with their relatives, organize their onward journey, and allow their children to take part in the virtual lessons offered by some Ukrainian schools. 

Thanks in part to the support of Swiss Solidarity, Helvetas provides the most vulnerable and needy refugees (the elderly, people with disabilities or women with small children) with the essentials in rest areas. In 2022 alone, Helvetas was able to provide more than 19,000 refugees at the border with basic necessities.

Side by side with the host families

The pressure on the local population and the authorities is huge. Most of the Ukrainian refugees arriving in Moldova are accommodated in private homes. The situation of Moldovan host families who have taken in refugees is becoming increasingly precarious due to rising prices. Helvetas – with the support of Swiss Solidarity and the SDC –provides financial assistance to those host families who themselves live on a low income or are particularly vulnerable: for example, households headed by women or those with physically and/or mentally impaired members.

Moldovan host family in Căuşeni who has taken in refugee family members in their home and is financially supported by Helvetas - March 2022.
Helvetas organized buses that brought the refugees from the border to the capital.


Helvetas is one of the few international organizations that have been present in Moldova for a long time. We will switch from emergency response to medium-term measures as quickly as possible. Among other things, we plan to support the integration of refugees into the local labor market through vocational training courses.

Our Projects in Moldova

 If you would like to know more about our work in Eastern Europe, click on each project for details.

© Helvetas / Arben Llapashtica
Armenia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Moldova, North Macedonia, Serbia, Ukraine, Montenegro Education and Vocational Skills

Building Economies Where All Can Prosper

© Polina Cupcea
Moldova Skills, Jobs and Income

Work for Refugees and Locals in Moldova

Helvetas Eastern Europe Unit
Maulbeerstr. 10
3010 Bern

Phone:+41 31 385 10 10
E-Mail: easterneurope@helvetas.org

Our Topics

Education and Vocational Skills

Lack of education perpetuates inequality because poor countries cannot compete economically without a skilled workforce.

Private Sector Development

Youth need access to reliable, fairly paid jobs to break the cycle of poverty. Helvetas creates partnerships and promotes policies that build more inclusive economies.


Young people are a tremendous asset, but also a possible threat when denied access to labor markets, services and decision-making. Almost every second unemployed person is aged between 15 and 24.