In October, the EU4Resilient Region Special Assistance Programme Ukraine selected six pilot projects in rural areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Over the next eight months, the projects help six selected communities to offer their residents better social services. Through training of social and the provision of much-needed equipment the projects strengthen social workers to engage, integrate and provide essential services to seniors in remote areas. Some projects include mobile services, such as hair dressers, or the creation of multi-media spaces, where residents and social workers can meet, receive trainings and use some social services digitally.

Access to elementary social services remains a major obstacle for those living in the remote and conflict affected areas. Many younger and mobile residents left, leaving behind a high concentration of elderly or people with disabilities.

“Due to the process of decentralisation Selydove absorbed new areas of villages mostly with 90 percent seniors among the population. The villages face challenges with services including social services. That’s why we as the community are now working on expanding the services and show to the citizens that they are not alone anymore, and we are one community”, said Alla Maryna, Head of Territorial Centre of Social Service Provision in Selydove (Donetsk region).

During this summer, 20 partner communities of the Programme in Donetsk and Luhansk regions handed in different project proposals. They included the different needs of each community, ranging from training to procurement and they defined how the projects improves the provision of social services to elderly people and vulnerable groups. The GIZ then selected six ideas to be piloted in Selydove, Novogrodivka, Shakhove (Donetsk region), Starobilsk, Bilokurakine, Bilovodsk (Luhansk region). Over the next eight months, the Programme will support the development and implementation of these projects.


One of the pilot project is the community of Selidove

Selidove in Donetsk region was built around the various local coal mines. But many mines have either been liquidated or are about to be closed. The one-company nature of the community with only coal mining enterprises means that there is no alternative for employment. This leads to the migration of people of working age to other settlements and regions. The residents remaining are people of older age groups, including many single elderly people and people with disabilities, who are often socially isolated, their social ties are reduced, and many people are distressed or experienced hardships.

 To help the remaining residents to cope with the reality and address their needs, especially for social services, the project will open three multimedia rooms in remote areas of the community thus to integrate and socialize seniors. In these spaces elderly people might come together to socialize, to watch different educational movies, to use computers to pay bills and use digital governmental services. The premises will be used for 18 trainings and workshops for residents and social workers focused on psycho-social support to vulnerable groups and social workers in remote areas. The community selected the topics for trainings.

 The pilot project also includes the provision of mobile services, such as hairdresser, tailor as well as home maintenance services. Such services will be provided according to collected requests, once per week or two weeks, depending on the needs. A person might request the service via phone or a social worker who comes to home.

 Additionally, the centre of the community, where the social service department is located, is modernized. Such modernization includes an analysis and improvement of services and internal communication of remote areas with the centre of community. As part of the pilot project, equipment for the mobile services, furniture to IT devices is procured. This help social workers in remote areas to better communicate digitally with the main departments or offices of social service provision in the community.

 “Selydovo community has a very motivated project team focused on the creation of spaces to educate seniors and just gather, dedicated to elderly people and people with disabilities, offering a variety of services from computer literacy to health including home care support. The project team showed a lot of creativity and aims to develop the project further, beyond the piloting phase supported by GIZ. We are looking forward to a successful implementation and would be very happy to witness the development of new ideas and the results.” Andreas Koth, the Internationaler Bund, who consults the Programme on the topic of social service development.

The six pilot projects are part of bigger programme that works with up to 80 communities in 10 southern and eastern Ukrainian regions to make sure that the residents can access the local administrative, medical and social services comfortably and efficiently. Over the next weeks we will portray the work and impact of the other five pilot projects.