31 March  2017

Today the Government of Ukraine and the Embassy of Japan announced a number of Japan-funded projects for 2017, which will provide recovery support to the eastern regions of Ukraine. Total funding amounts to USD 3.9 mln, with almost 1 million allocated for a new community development project to be implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

This week communities from Donetsk and Luhansk regions, that have already benefited from IOM initiatives funded by the Government of Japan, celebrated the completion of the project at the festival in Sviatohirsk. The Communities’ Festival brought together some 250 participants, who shared their best practices in social cohesion, brainstormed on how to make their communities’ social cohesion plans sustainable and long-lasting, and enjoyed the performances by talented dancers and singers from the Donbas, as well as by masters from Ukraine – Japan centre  – Volodymyr Lazutkin (Japanese flute player), Olena Grebenuyk (opera singer), Hitoshi Nakamura (Japanese calligrapher).

“Ukraine and Japan are very far apart, but our people share the same values and same spirit,” H.E. Mr. Shigeki Sumi, the Ambassador of Japan, said, opening the festival.

Head of the Donetsk Regional State Administration Pavlo Zhebrivskyi noted that projects like the one IOM has been implementing are helping people to become more open to the world and to each other, “build the atmosphere of trust and honesty.” “Joint initiatives of the Japanese Government and IOM are very valuable as they contribute to the creation of passionate activists’ groups, teach them how to work in a team. With this knowledge, people will start developing new projects, not only with funding from donors, but also with public or business funds,” added Mr. Zhebrivskyi.

From 2016 to March 2017, in total 20 communities in Luhansk and Donetsk regions have benefited from the Japan-funded IOM social cohesion project. 12 social institutions, namely municipal and district libraries, cultural centres, as well as children and youth’s creativity centres, were renovated. The project has been beneficial for some 30,000 people who took part in social cohesion activities and are attending renovated social infrastructure objects.

In the framework of a new Japan-funded IOM project, starting this spring, those 20 communities will be further supported in their social cohesion activities. Additionally, nine new communities will be selected to receive support in the refurbishment of social infrastructure and implementation of their plans on building trust and promoting dialogue between community members.