Ukrainian NGO supported by German state agency implements a project that fosters volunteerism in eastern Ukraine. Civic actors and internally displaced are target audience.
Social project “School of volunteers” that aims at popularizing volunteerism and training civic actors lasted three months and embraced five Ukrainian cities. The project was implemented by Ukrainian NGO Poruch with the support of the German state development agency GIZ. Mike Matthes, head of the GIZ project “Strengthening Ukrainian communities hosting internally displaced people” and Maria Tyshchenko, executive director of NGO Poruch presented results achieved in course of the project implementation at a press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
Three-day training sessions for local activists and internally displaced persons took place in Kharkiv, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhya, Kramatorsk and Severodonetsk over October-December 2016. Training was supported by local authorities, NGOs and universities. “It is important for us that the entire community benefits from our activities. It is an opportunity for volunteers to connect with other volunteers and to build up networks, to share knowledge and gain living experience,” noted project head. He said consequences of the military conflict can be overcome by governmental and non-governmental actors joining efforts at local level. “About 200 people of different age and occupation took part in the activities,” emphasized Matthes.
According to Maria Tyshchenko the project aimed at popularizing the volunteer movement. “We aimed at making internally displaced persons more active as well as further integrating them into the hosting communities,” executive director of the NGO Poruch. She added that many local initiatives became part of the project. Thus, the “Energy of generations” initiative in Dnipro united youngsters and senior aged persons in a round table discussion. In Kramatorsk a project activity included work with disabled children. In course of the initiative “Ukrainian books for Donbas libraries” participants of the “School of volunteers” contributed with over a thousand books to libraries of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Other project initiatives included “St. Nicholas workshop” in Dnipro where children teamed up with policemen to draw greeting cards for Donbas children, “Debates” training as well as Christmas event “Courage and grace”. “We also prepared a handbook on volunteerism and its history, it comes as a methodological result of the project,” elaborated Tyshchenko.