Building stronger ties between universities, communities, social centers and community-based organizations was the main aim of a round table in Kramatorsk on 23rd of March. The project “Developing of service structures and training capacities for psychosocial support in Eastern Ukraine” gathered the different stakeholders to find out together, how the provision of much-needed psychosocial support for people in Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts can be upgraded.

The improvement of such services can only be achieved together – therefore, the project was very happy to welcome participants from Nyzhnioduvanska OTG, Bilovodska OTG and Cherkasska OTG, who gave a closer insight into the needs on a communal level. A contribution concerning the academic level was given by the Donbas Pedagogical State University and the Luhansk National University T. Shevchenko. To widen the view, employees of the state-run social service centers of both oblasts took actively part in the discussion; as well as one participant from our partner-NGO “Vostok SOS”.

In scope of the round table, Viktoriia Soloviova, head of the psychosocial rehabilitation center in Pokrovsk, gave very valuable insights into her research on current university syllabus for psychologists and social workers in the East of Ukraine. Given the Ukraine-wide reforms on decentralization and the re-structuring of the social service system as such, teaching methods and content at the partner universities could be adapted together with the project to enhance and strengthen the capacity of specialists providing psychosocial support in the local communities.

During fruitful discussions, the project partners highlighted their challenges to provide support for different vulnerable groups including internally displaced people and the challenge to work in rural areas. The strong need to build the capacity of local psychologists was emphasized – for the sake of the newly founded, decentralized communities. New ideas how to deal with the ongoing reform on social services have been developed and will be implemented in the scope of the project, running until 12/2023. 

Sara Reith, director of the project “Developing of service structures and training capacities for psychosocial support in Eastern Ukraine"

Iurii Balabolka, Head of Donetsk Oblast center for social services

Oleksandr Voroshkov, advisor on IDPs in Donetsk Oblast, representative of Donetsk Oblast center for social services