Social services for all. How R2P helps communities and CMAs become closer to the people

CF «Right to Protection» (R2P) is now implementing a new Project aimed to improve the quality of the social services provided in the amalgamated territorial communities in eastern Ukraine.

Quality medical, social, educational, administrative services, new roads, and clean streets – all this should be available to every Ukrainian with the start of the decentralization.  However, in some regions of Ukraine, the reform is still ongoing with its own peculiarities.

For example, in eastern Ukraine, the international military conflict has made its negative adjustments.

  • First, the newly formed communities of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions did not have the opportunity to go through the path of voluntary unification, which has already passed more than 700 communities in Ukraine before the local elections in 2020. In addition, in a number of communities, local self-governments are absent as such. Local elections were not held there.  Instead, there are civil-military administrations (CMAs), which perform the functions of the local self-government.
  • Second, areas near the ‘contact line’ have problems with the public transport. Often there is no connection between these settlements and the rest of the region. This hinders public access to all types of services that should be provided in communities.

In order to help community authorities to establish a system of social services that meets the needs of people, the R2P is currently implementing the project «Ensuring access to the social services in the amalgamated territorial communities (ATCs) along the contact line».

«This is the first project implemented by our Fund directly with the communities and for its residents. At the first stage, our specialists conducted a comprehensive study on the state of the social services system in 5 communities of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. During the research, a survey (questionnaire) of both social service providers in the community and recipients of social services was conducted. Also, we held focus group discussions. In addition, our specialists collected and processed a large number of statistics and information about the social infrastructure that operates in each of the communities.»

As a result, each community now has a social passport. The document contains data on the area, administrative-territorial distribution, demographic situation in the territory, etc.  Communities also received recommendations for improving and in some cases creating from scratch a system for providing, monitoring, and evaluating the quality of the social services.  When developing such passports, our specialists found out which problems with the provision of social services exist in each individual community.

«The problems are the lack of sufficient qualifications and experience among the CMA employees and ignorance of the legal framework of Ukraine in the field of social protection. For example, we found out that in one of the communities nobody was responsible for the social protection of the population. Following our recommendations, a full-fledged department of social protection was created there, as well as a Center for the provision of social services in the community. In another community, they followed our advice to reform the CMA’s territorial center for social services and to provide the services that people need. In another community, we helped register a local utility in the State Register of the Social Service Providers. And to improve the work of the social protection specialists, we have prepared a collection of regulations «Social services in the community.»

Specialists of the R2P continue to advise on various issues regarding the local governance, such as the economic development, land management, formation and implementation of the community budget, preparation and implementation of targeted local development programs, the organizational structure of Civil-Military Administration units, their utilities and more. And, of course, we continue to provide legal support in the creation and organization of the social protection units in amalgamated territorial communities.

«There are many requests from communities for methodological and advisory assistance. In particular, how to fill in the application forms for participation in tenders for projects that can be funded by various sources: State Fund for Regional Development, the state targeted development programs, international technical aid projects, etc. The support of local community authorities in land and communal property management needs attention. Previously, this was done by the units of the State Geocadastre, and there are simply no specialists of the appropriate level in the communities,»

The next step in our work with the amalgamated territorial communities will be the continuation of the awareness-raising trainings for the employees of the Civil-Military Administrations, which we had already started in October.

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