12 cities in the east of Ukraine are implementing their own projects within the framework of the «United Community» program

On February 23rd-24th, 2018, Collaborative Learning Event within the framework of the «United Community» project was held in Kyiv aimed at promoting the unity of society in the conflict-affected regions of eastern Ukraine. The program is implemented by IREX and GURT with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Representatives from 12 selected cities are implementing their own projects that will facilitate the establishment of interaction and dialogue between representatives of different groups of the population in their communities. Within two days, the members of the «United Community» exchanged their experience and worked with the trainers on the projects that were created, received practical skills that would be useful in further implementation of the initiatives.

A greetings speech was opened by the representative of the Ombudsman for the rights of internally displaced persons Zhanna Lukyanenko. Participants were also greeted by Deputy Director of USAID Daniel Ryan (ODG Deputy Director), Mehri Drakman (program director, IREX) and Tetyana Danilov (Deputy Director of the Resource Center GURT).

Initially, the participants worked in three groups on the subject «I and my community project», and then they took part in master classes.

Participants learned how to determine the target audience of the project, how to set up a partnership and understand who needs the project. They consolidated the skills of facilitation and moderation, trained in public speaking, mentioned the management of conflicts, understood how to develop key messages for the audience and in general — how to conduct a communication campaign of the project.

An important aspect in the work is the measurement of its results, therefore, attention was paid to the monitoring and evaluation of projects. One of the stages of group work was the «live library» format, where the participants shared their own experiences, talked about themselves and their projects.

The second day was devoted to work on improving projects and their presentation, training their skills. For effective presentation of the participants familiarized with the methods of presentation: visualization of the project, forum-theater and public speaking. Professional graphic facilitators assisted in presenting the projects.

Collaborative Learning Event participants shared with their experience and expressions:

Tatiana Riabko, project participant from Huliai Pole (Zaporizhzhia oblast), project on hub founding commented: «I saw that this project has already been implemented by our colleagues. We have a room, we have ideas, we only need to realize them. We are in the process of founding a civic organization as there is no NGO in our city. In general, I observe that during the year many colleagues have made real progress. Exchange of experience is very useful in «United Community» program, each of the participants can take the working models and implement them».

Anton Kukhlyov (Novohrodovka, Donetsk oblast): «I am convinced that for our local communities the greatest resource is human capital, human relations, interaction between different social groups. Communication, dialogue in the community influences the development of the community, where it moves, which vector chooses for itself. Therefore, I am extremely glad to take part in the “United Community” project, this is a serious attempt to reach local communities and motivate people to establish effective communication, interaction, tolerance, partnership, cooperation. For our towns, where different groups of people cohabit like internally displaced people, ATO participants — this is especially relevant. From this meeting, I expect to consolidate the acquired skills, since the project is coming to an end. I would like to see the results aimed at development and future. It’s interesting to see what our community will become».

The «Unified Community» project aims to unite the society in conflict-affected eastern regions of Ukraine. Selected participants from 12 communities trained, developed their own projects and received mini-grants for their implementation. The program helps to address the urgent needs of the community and also fosters the development of communication and tolerance skills, confidence-building, confrontation between disruptive factors and the formation of a shared vision of the future of the inhabitants of the selected regions.

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