Twelve more communities in the Donbas receiving social cohesion support from Japan and IOM

26 October 2016

Twelve additional communities in Donetsk and Luhansk regions are benefitting from the Donbas community stabilization project, funded by the Government of Japan and implemented by IOM.

During the period of August-September 2016, more than 450 members of initiative groups in Lyman, Pokrovsk, Velyka Novosilka, Rodynske, Svatove, Starobilsk, Bilovodsk, Novopskov, Bilokurakyne, Troitske, Selydove, and Slovyansk attended three-day training sessions on community development, social cohesion, integration and inclusion of IDPs, ethnic minorities as well as persons with disabilities into an active social life.

The initiative groups analyzed the respective communities’ needs, existing relations with local authorities, and discussed social integration project ideas to be implemented. The sessions were greatly appreciated by the participants particularly for the interactive methods and informal learning approach used by IOM experts during the training.

Some participants’ feedback:

“I have understood that for real teamwork we need to listen to each other.”

(Training participant from Bilovodsk)

“After the training, I plan to help organize public hearings
for decision-making on important issues.”

(Training participant from Bilokurakyne)

“Only a cohesive community can efficiently solve problems.”

(Training participant from Starobilsk)

As a result of the training, the initiative groups started to prepare community social cohesion action plans and the best ideas will receive grant support through the project. Particularly, twelve institutions, namely municipal and district libraries, cultural centres, as well as children and youth’s creativity centres were selected for renovation. The refurbishment of the above mentioned social infrastructures will improve the lives of approximately 24,000 people, who annually will visit and benefit from the services of each institution.

Furthermore, eight previously selected social initiatives received continuous support through the present project; the social initiatives consisted in the renovation of social infrastructure objects as well as the provision of equipment and materials for social cohesion events in the communities of Bahmut, Svyatohirsk, Kramatorsk, Borivske, Lysychansk, Severodonetsk, Druzhkivka, Kostyantynivka. Currently, these communities continue their social integration activities through the organization of various workshops, art exhibitions, concerts as well as thematic meetings. Lastly, in September 2016, psychosocial support rooms were opened in those communities in order to enable professional psychologists to provide individual and group counselling to overcome stress, anxiety, to facilitate skills development for effective communication and motivation for personal growth.

The project will continue until March 2017 and will cover about 30,000 beneficiaries who will attend renovated social infrastructure objects and will take part in social cohesion activities.