Helping the communities. How R2P helps ATCs create an effective system for providing the social services

Our colleagues continue to provide legal assistance to the communities in eastern Ukraine within the framework of the project "Ensuring access to social services in local communities along the contact line”. Recently, they paid working visits to the east of Ukraine, met with the participants of our project, and presented the first developments and results of the joint work.

In the spring of this year we began active work with the amalgamated territorial communities (ATCs) which were formed during the decentralization reform in Ukraine. This is an absolutely new experience for Ukraine, which is, of course, accompanied by the emergence of many problems throughout the country, especially in the east, near the contact line. Therefore, we have started cooperation with five ATCs, three of which (Sartanska, Marinska and Svitlodarska) are from the Donetsk region, and two (Hirska and Nyzhnyoteplivska) from the Luhansk region.

Last week our colleagues proudly presented the Draft of the Community Social Passport and discussed the results of a comprehensive study which the R2P conducted in the summer. With the use of focus groups and questionnaires, we have collected the information on the actual state of affairs in the system of social services in the communities, learned about the needs of people living in abovementioned communities, and so on. Team of the R2P had analyzed the results and announced them during the meetings. In the future, this data will help to create and maintain a working social protection system in every amalgamated territorial community in Ukraine.

“These are just the first steps. Next, it is required to create a system of communal institutions which provide social services, as well as to organize the structural units within the Amalgamated Territorial Communities, which not only will be responsible for providing social services to the locals, but also will conduct full monitoring and evaluation of the quality of the already provided services"

We already have some fruitful results of our common work with the communities. Thus, in addition to the developed community social passports in Hirske, our employees helped to add the recently formed municipal institution of the Hirske City Civil-Military Administration (CMA) to the register of social service providers. In Marinka, our colleagues provided methodological assistance in preparing a project application for participation in the UNHCR grant competition.

We have also discussed the reorganization of the Bakhmutsky Territorial Center for Social Services, which was transferred to the balance of the Svitlodar City CMA. In Nyzhnyoteplivska ATC, we have discussed the options for providing social services to the community residents both on the basis of inter-municipal cooperation and via creating its own municipal institution, the Center for Social Services.

Lawyers of the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) also advised the management of the amalgamated territorial communities on the financial support of the system of social services. Colleagues spoke about the various subventions provided to the local budgets from the state to support the ATCs and their social services system.

There is still lots of work to be done. Yet we hope that this work will yield fruitful results.

The project "Ensuring access to social services in local communities along the contact line" is implemented by the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Ukraine.