Polska pomoc

 

Assistance to rural microenterprise in Ukraine

The project is implemented in the rural areas of central Ukraine (oblasts of Cherkasy, Poltava and Kirovohrad), an area where the communist period damaged the social fabric. The post-revolutionary civil war, the collectivisation, the great famine, the Second World War, the long years of kolkhoz farming – all these factors played a role in Ukrainian peasants abandoning their traditional way of farming. The closure of kolkhozes had, perhaps surprisingly, the effect of exacerbating social problems, which included the growing exclusion of some residents, and the fading away of small enterprises in the Ukrainian countryside.

The target group comprises Ukrainian rural leaders, people who will be ready to encourage others to follow their example and take on new economic challenges that will improve the situation in their villages. In practice, these people include folk artists (e.g. Easter egg makers), teachers, local activists, aficionados of particular crops (e.g. grapevine growers in Ivkovtse). The principal idea was to help translate their passion into small-scale economic activity that would involve other villagers. The project’s added value was that it reached out to people living in the cities, most importantly schoolchildren. It was the first such project to be carried out in Ukraine. In Poland, similar goals have been pursued by the European Academy of Village Heads, which has been running for many years and boasts good results.

Assistance to rural microenterprise in Ukraine

The project was implemented between 1 April and 31 December 2014. A group of Ukrainian experts was trained in April to ensure that every village had its tutor (workshops in Kaniv). The experts went on to select and recruit a core group of beneficiaries who came from 8 villages (Korzhova, Sorokotiaha, Mezhyrich, Subotiv, Golovkivka, Ivkovtse, Berezova Rudka, and Velyka Andrusivka). In May, this group attended training in Chyhyryn and Subotiv, while in July they went on study visits to Polish thematic villages. Under the guidance of Ukrainian and Polish experts, village leaders put together their first package for young urban tourists. In August and September, the beneficiaries got their first projects off the ground.

The project pursues the priority Small and medium-sized enterprises and job creation.

Assistance to rural microenterprise in Ukraine

The project helped to set up 9 agritourist and educational microenterprises in 8 Ukrainian villages. All the new entities put their tourist products on offer, and carried out their pilot programmes.

A network of microenterprises was established with a view to promoting their diverse but consistent tourist portfolios. In addition, a seven-person strong expert team was built to inspire and support rural entrepreneurship.

Also, a guidebook was issued about fostering the development of rural entrepreneurship, as was a brochure addressed to schools featuring the portfolios of all the companies.

The above results contributed to improving the quality of participants’ life and making them more active, as well as brought local assets and resources to the community’s notice. The new enterprises go to show how helplessness and poverty can be overcome by thinking out of the box, while the lack of mutual trust can be remedied by building partnerships based on local identity, and a reality that is interesting and brings concrete benefits.