Community Based Approach to Local Development
Thursday, 18 March 2010

EU, UNDP praise local communities in South-East regions for outstanding partnership results, vow to continue community-based development initiatives across Ukraine

news_22_03_10.jpgRepresentatives of five non-governmental rural organizations from Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia, Luhansk, Mykolayiv and Kharkiv regions (Regions) have presented the results of local initiatives implementation for improving living conditions in rural territories, which became possible with financial support from the European Union and United Nations Development Programme.

At the first inter-regional conference entitled ‘Community Initiative in Action: Local Development with EU and UNDP Support’, which was held in Zaporizhia Region State Administration building, participants have analysed the middle-term results of the   nationwide ‘Community Based Approach to Local Development Project’ (CBA) – a joint EU-UNDP project. The purpose of the conference is to present the Project’s wide-ranging experience and results achieved within Ukraine’s South and East regions.

Starting from December 2007, the CBA Project works with over 1,000 local communities across Ukraine to secure stable development of rural territories by implementing various initiatives on self-governance and communities’ rehabilitation, which in return bring real improvements in their  lives.

EU and UNDP have been involved in community-based development in Ukraine for many years. What important about this community-based approach to local participatory development is that it tries to build up the skills and competencies of local communities and their local leadership in order to promote a sense of self-empowerment.

In all Project-led activities its experts aim at changing the mindset of people to pay for the services they receive and to participate in maintaining social and communal infrastructures. Their direct involvement in the development process causes them to feel ownership over the infrastructures and service system.

And this is extremely important in the historical context of Ukraine because after a legacy of decades of centralised Communist rule it is important that people can overcome their prolonged and their very deep-rooted sense of dependency on authorities. And that instead they realize the extent to which they can actually achieve their own fulfillment through self-empowerment, through self-organisation, through self-mobilisation.

Zaporizhia region achievements in CBA project have been presented by using an example of a successfully-implemented infrastructure micro-project in Vladivka village community, where energy saving windows and doors were installed at a local kindergarten.

Additionally, the community “Vidrodzhennia” of Pidgirne village in Novomykolaivsky district received in 2009 from CBA project the two first payments (UAH 70,175) to perform renovations at a local school building. With additional funding from the Project, the village community managed to purchase and install new plastic windows. Deputy Head of Zaporizhia Region State Administration OleksandrSin and Deputy Head of Zaporizhia Region Council LeonidAnisimov joined the conference and took part in the presentation of region achievements.

Oksana Vetlynska, a representative from Regional Policy Department of Secretariat of Cabinet of Ministers of Ukrainen participated on behalf of the Government of Ukraine.

Dnipropetrovsk region CBA project expertise was presented by activists of Pryvovchanska village community, which founded fundraising organization “Dobrobut”. CBA project financed for “Dobrobut” 50% of a micro-project (68,415 UAH) for windows and doors replacement in kindergarten for 120 children. Payment has been fully transferred to the community and work done.

Results of EUUNDP support in Kharkiv region were presented by non-governmental organization “Municipal Agency of Economic Development of Sakhnovshchyna,” which was set up in Sakhnovshchyna village in 2004.

CBA project financed their micro-project “Set Up Places for Waste Collecting”, which helped a 9,000 settlement to solve rubbish collecting and utilization problems.

In Mykolaiv region Community Based Approach to Local Development Project (CBA) supported an Association of Co-Owners of Multi-Storey Buildings “Vognyk 2” at the territory of former military establishment in Martynivske village of Voznesensky district. By joint efforts of local community, authority and with financial support from CBA project the water supply and canalization systems of two buildings #27 and #28 were fully replaced.

Project leader from EU side - Head of programs development department of EU Delegation to Ukraine Claudia Fisher and UNDP Country Director to Ukraine Ricarda Rieger highly praised the achievements of multilateral cooperation with rural communities in South and East Ukraine, and emphasized on the national-wide importance of CBA project.

"The community-based approach empowers Ukrainian communities to provide local solutions to local problems. This approach is extremely important to the EU, evidenced by our substantial contribution of EUR 12 million to the Project. EU funding has helped citizens across Ukraine to improve their everyday lives by upgrading local infrastructure," said the Head of programs development department of EU Delegation to Ukraine Claudia Fisher.

“The lessons learnt from CBA Project show that local communities with support from their local governments take charge of their own development, use their local resources and pursue a particular plan of action towards their development and their prosperity.

In the context of Ukraine’s political development, it also promotes democratic accountability. We see that local leaders are being held accountable for delivering on the promises that they make to their people. And citizens also understand better the challenges of leadership and appreciate better the qualities of good leadership, which helps them eventually in democratic election process,” UNDP Ukraine Country Director Ricarda Rieger said.

In addition, both EU and UNDP representatives said that equally important for them was the very strong level of counterparts’ support which communities and their local administrations bring to these projects.

Quite often the major share of the financial as well as the material support to projects’ implementation actually comes from the local administrations. So this also becomes an important element in the promotion of local self-government in Ukraine, as people can see that at the local level, local governments can very competently and capably discharge their duties towards their citizens, deliver on the promises that they make to them and actually make a tangible difference to the lives of the citizens.

Background Information:

Community Based Approach to Local Development Project (CBA) works in Ukraine until February 2011. This initiative is financing by European Union in accordance to technical support EU Program and co-financing and implementing by UN Development Programme with support by the Government of Ukraine and local authorities and self-governance bodies.

The budget of CBA project is €13,3 mln, 90% of which is EU contribution, and 10% – contribution of UNDP. The project supports cooperation of local communities with region, district and local authorities, private sector and international donor organizations to set up multi-lateral partnerships between them and bringing substantial improvements of living conditions at rural territories.