One of the key objectives of the Decentralization Reform is to make social services as close as possible to the people who live in the amalgamated territorial communities (hromadas). The process of transferring the authority to provide social services to the local communities is not that easy. At first, the communities will have many questions and face a few difficulties. To help the hromadas, the Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” (R2P) has already been providing expert support for a long time.
In 2021, within the framework of the Project “Support of the Amalgamated Territorial Communities along the contact line in the Reorganization of the Social and Administrative Services with the Decentralization Reform” the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) has organized preliminary consultations, meetings with hromada representatives to identify the possible solutions to the problems with access to social services.
The measures were aimed at implementing and supporting changes in governance resulting from the process of decentralization while strengthening local governments, accountability, and response capacity in coordination with participants. The implementation of initiatives in communities is a logical continuation of the systematic work on expert support of communities to establish a system of social services in target communities.
In 2022, the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) continues to support community development initiatives aimed at improving access to social services.
«In 2022, we will be able to help the hromadas establish the financial base to be able to improve the access to social services. The Project envisages the implementation of 5 initiatives in each community, the budget of each initiative is equivalent to 5000 US dollars in hryvnias. It is also planned to provide social workers with tablets, laptops, and uniforms so that they will become more recognizable so that people in the community will be able to recognize them,»
– tells Volodymyr Oleksenko, IDP Protection Coordinator at the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P).
«Recently we have held meetings with all the communities participating in the Project in eastern Ukraine. We have discussed the results of last year’s work, and outlined the plans for our future cooperation,»— says Oleh Lyubimov, Decentralization Coordinator at the R2P.
“As the employees and managers of the CMA’s receive more powers, the more they feel responsible for the fulfillment of the functions these powers are related to. Yet, at the same time, they lack certain qualifications and special skills. We have seen their need for professional support, including assistance that our experts can provide. Therefore, the R2P’s task is to help them organize a functioning social services system, to be able to provide aid to all residents of their communities.”
– adds Oleh.
In total, five communities are participating in the Project. In the Donetsk region it is Marinska, Svitlodarska, Sartanska hromadas, and in the Luhansk region – Hirska and Nizhnyoteplivska.
«In the Luhansk region, we have specially selected those communities where elections did not take place, where there were no district centers before. From the very beginning, these communities did not have a social service network. They had to start from scratch,»,
– said Olena Hrekova, head of the Severodonetsk office of the Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” (R2P).
For example, in 2021 the experts of the R2P have been actively involved in the establishment of the Department of Social Protection of the Population in the Svitlodarska Civil-Military Administration (CMA). As a result, the Center for Social Services has been reformed. In the Nyzhnyoteplivska village hromada, the Department of Social Protection and the Center for Social Services have also been created. Employees of the community needed assistance in drafting legal and organizational documents.
«Further work will be focused on determining the hromada’s social needs – this will be a completely new work area. Based on this information, communities can apply for subsidies for the development of these social services, as well as to determine further activities to expand the new ones.»,
told Natalia Gubareva, a lawyer of the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P).
During the meetings, our experts have also told the community leaders about the most important instruments of financial support in 2022 from the Government of Ukraine.
Alina Hubar, the Deputy Head of the Nyzhnyoteplivska village hromada, shared her impressions about the cooperation:
«At first, we did not believe in ourselves, that we would find funds, that we would find specialists, without the help of the R2P it would have been difficult for us to even take the first step – to start the registration of the Department of Social Protection and the Center for Social Services. We are very grateful because you have opened our eyes to what we can do, you gave us confidence. Cause one man does not make a team. And most importantly, you have provided us with extremely effective tools!»,
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