The Centre for Cultural Management in Lviv, Ukraine initiates engages in and supports activities that catalyze positive cultural change in Ukraine on the individual, organizational and societal levels and in the public, private and civic sectors. The organisation implements national and international projects dealing with capacity development, networking, advocacy, mobility, peer-to-peer exchanges. The Centre is run by Ihor Savchak who is the Chairman. He has profound professional experience in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of national and international projects and programs in the field of culture, education, human rights, community development, capacity buildings, local policy reforms, civil society empowerment.. Igor has sound knowledge and experience in different forms of leadership, change management, team building, organisation of supportive and learning environment.
I had the opportunity to lead one of the training modules on “How to create and develop business in the field of cultural and creative industries” (September 2016) as part of the project “Bridging Gaps for Inclusive Civic Engagement”, which is currently in the implementation phase. I was very impressed by the participants’ creative minds, willingness to learn and to start up their own business ventures in the creative economy!
Igor Savchak and Iryna Baran, Communication Manager, agreed to have a short talk about the importance, uniqueness, target groups, interim and final results of the project which they currently implement successfully.
- Why is this project important? What is its uniqueness?
The current situation in Ukraine requires active citizens to mobilize and consolidate their efforts for the development of the society. The aim of the project “Bridging Gaps for Inclusive Civic Engagement” is to establish a dialogue between the East and the West part of Ukraine by way of building cooperation between active citizens and initiative groups. Experience share, ruining stereotypes between geographically opposite regions, as well as networking are the goals of this project. Separate project components, in particular community mapping, are targeted at support to local change-makers.
The project aims also to increase links and cooperation between the target groups which will facilitate building a civic dialogue and better mutual understanding, and also to increase engagement of local communities in the socio-economic changes.
A unique character of the project is that it includes sharing of experience, promotion of new links and synergies, entrepreneurial and socio-economic development, coordination with existing initiatives and cooperation with a wide circle of stakeholders, and sub-granting.
The target groups of the project are civic society leaders and internally displaced persons, as well as communities of small Ukrainian cities and towns in conflict-affected regions.
2. What does the key term in your project “active citizenship” mean from a practical viewpoint?
“Active citizenship” in our understanding means involvement of each citizen in reform and positive change implementation. Changes in the upper government of the state are important in building of the democratic society, but they will not be of full value without involvement of active citizens at the local level. It is important for small community leaders to have the base of stakeholders, and to communicate with other active communities to implement democratic changes at the local level.
3. What is the profile of the people involved in the project?
Participants of the project “Bridging Gaps for Inclusive Civic Engagement” are both NGOs and proactive citizens, who have opportunity to share their experience and knowledge in this area.
One of the “Bridging Gaps for Inclusive Civic Engagement” project components is the National Exchange Program. It is important for us that cooperation between the exchange program participants would not end after the visit, but would continue. That is why we are glad to observe a nice tendency – many participants continue to apply for micro-grants, and improve their projects, make visits to new partners they have got to know in the framework of the project. One of the most active participants is the nonprofit organisation Center of Civic Initiatives in Lviv. Representatives of this organization have already made several visits to geographically opposite regions, where they shared with active citizens their experience of cooperation with governmental establishments and their work with external financial institutions. This organization also invites civic activists to Lviv on an ongoing basis and facilitates so that visits of their Eastern regions’ counterparts are effective.
Another successful example of participation in the National Exchange Program is the nonprofit organisation Syla Maibutnioho (“The Force of the Future”). Leader of this organization Tetiana Hladkova has visited many regions of Ukraine presenting social promos and success stories of internally displaced people (IDP) and their integration. As activists of this organization deal with IDPs, communication with other IDPs is crucial for them. Ongoing improvement of the program and invitations to active IDPs in other regions confirms that visits of Syla maibutnioho representatives are successful.
4. How do the participants benefit from the project so far?
Despite the fact that the project has been launched relatively recently, we are glad to observe certain results. In particular, the National Exchange Program participants who have made visits to geographically opposite regions of Ukraine, have already conducted a number of cultural, socio-economic, and ecological actions that are important for community development. They continue their cooperation and communication between them and other active citizens.
The key goal of the project – building a civic dialogue – will be achieved through seven interconnected project components:
- The National Exchange Program for civic activists, IDPs, and people with disabilities.
- Workshops on community mapping for NGOs from twelve towns of Ukraine to be selected through an open competition in August 2016.
- Resource mapping for twelve towns in cooperation with local communities based on local libraries.
- Workshops on leadership for IDPs.
- Workshops on cultural and creative industries for IDPs.
- Four investment fairs on cultural and creative industries in Dnipro.
- National campaign on solidarity with people affected by war at the east of Ukraine. The campaign will focus on forming the culture of solidarity in the Ukrainian society and will not limit to public awareness only.
5. The project has a timeline June 2016-May 2018 and there are 7 types of activities planned. What are the key results that you expect?
Implementing this project we aim at increasing the role of NGOs in promoting democratic values through culture, dialogue, leadership and community mobilization. This will ensure development of civic activity and tolerance, and will improve living conditions for IDPs in host communities.
The expected project results are as follows:
- Inter-regional dialogue on engaging people and a new partnership between NGOs.
- Implementation of the favorable and active environment for NGOs aiming at cooperation with local communities in at least 12 cities – administrative centers.
- Capacity building for at least 250 NGOs and 600 IDPs, enlarging inter-regional mobility and partnership.
For further information about the project Bridging Gaps for Inclusive Civic Engagement, visit: http://www.kultura.org.ua/?p=1207&lang=en