In the middle of 2014 the process of decentralizing began in Ukraine. It is a process of uniting villages and towns into united territorial communities, formation of regional economics, budget and management on local level. Since that time till December 2017 around 6 million people became part of the united territorial communities. A plethora of opportunities, that were unavailable before, opened up for members of such communities. However, not everyone has skills to use these opportunities. Our objective was to visit some of the successful communities, tell you and show you how those opportunities can be used.
Glyboka united territorial community, on Bukovyna, is the first one we are going to talk about. They are the real community of projects: local people take part in all possible contests and once in a while they win, bringing into the community new social and business initiatives.
After communities united, the most important factor of their success was not grateful electorate and its number, but the number of businesses located on community’s territory, that accumulate finances, pay taxes that get right into community budget where the business was registered. So wise communities focused on attracting investments, creation of business and social projects and uniting people into co-ops.
Glyboka united territorial community includes two villages and a hamlet that are located near Chernivtsi, where most of the local people go to work, study or shop.
Despite proximity to the Ukrainian-Romanian border and international highway M-19, that is part of European route E 85 ( Klaipėda (Lithuania) – Alexandroupoli (Greece)), the united community does not benefit from this neighborhood since all three settlements are located on the side.
It’s not hard to get to Glyboka. You just need to take the above mentioned M-19, and on the 24th kilometer from Chernivtsi you turn to the right and 6 kilometers later you are in Glyboka. Mykhailivka and Chervona Dibrova are harder to get to because of broken roads.
— We haven’t found our niche yet. The communities of Glyboka region are still looking for their spot, their economics – claims Grygoriy Vanzuriak, the head of Glyboka united territorial community.
Revival process began from foundation of creamery in Mykhailivka . There was a big collective farm in the village. After its decay, people had got a lot of cattle. Local citizens organized a co-op “Dobri Gazdy” that won in a contest of projects from an Austrian committee and got partial financing for purchase of equipment for creamery. An old village sauna premise was reconstructed on community money. A creamery team was working on cheeses selection in school canteen premise before the sauna was turned into production of craft cheese.
Creamery gives an opportunity to villagers not to go to the market to sell their milk, but to sell it to the creamery, having regular income without additional expenditures on transport. This way they can also save their time that would be spent at the market.
Creamery is a successful beginning in the revival of rural economics. You can find more details about it in our materials about Selyska creamery on Zakarpattia. The representatives from Glyboka visited this creamery to get a new experience.
Due to the creamery, sheep breeding is being revived in Mykhailivka as well, though several decades ago it was completely annihilated.
The second contest won by Mykhailivka citizens is aimed at small business facilitation. Mykhailo Balovsiak, famous beekeeper and owner of the biggest bee-garden of 250 families in the region, has won financing for realization of apitherapy project. Nowadays he is building a small resort centre with houses cabins for apitherapy that will have capacity to service up to 10 tourists at one time.
– The project money is definitely not enough, but it is a good boost to start with. - Mykhailo Balovsiak.
Volodymyr Chobotar was elected the Head of Chervona Dibrova, the brother of famous Cyborg Gatylo (Valeriy Chobotar) that defended the Donetsk Airport and became main character in the movie by Leonid Kanter “The Ukrainians: God’s Volunteer Battalion”. Valeriy initiated creation of Chervona Dibrova Sich. He is box and chinese free fight trainer.
— The main aim of Sich creation was to unite like-minded people, so that they could come, teach and train. People talk about Chervona Dibrova Sich and the village is famous due to it. This year we are expecting a small investor that plans to build a horse club here. We have beautiful landscapes here, designed bicycle routes and we would like to move in this direction. There is an idea to hold a big national festival here.
As the Head of the village Volodymyr is involved not only into tourist projects. After two years without any basic public utilities in the community, Chervona Dobrova started to get new road pavement and light poles:
— Street lightning was the first thing we did. We lit up six and a half kilometres, including the church, train stops, shuttle stops and alike. One of our strategic tasks was to fight for ecology. We introduced regular garbage disposal. However, this problem is not eliminated completely, though the number of dumps decreased. Along with that we made big repair of the central street. It is not asphalt pavement unfortunately, but we built drainage and graveled the base. There was big repair of the gym floor. We also introduced a social route. People say that there are more changes in these two years than in the previous twenty.
Ancient slavic settlement existed in the 9th-10th centuries near the village of Chervona Dibrova. The battles between Polish and Turkish armies took place here. Touristic potential of this place is not completely revealed.
3 million. That is the number of tulips the internet shop Florium sells every year. They are a business that sells bulbs and seeds. They have a huge warehouse, refrigerating rooms and green houses where the bulbs mature.
— Every year I am asked where to get tulips for the 8th of March. – laughs Petro Tonenchuk, founder of Florium. – We sell only bulbs and seeds. We do not grow actual flowers.
For every community the existence of a big business on its territory is crucial as well as its legality and well-being, since it correlates directly to the size of the community budget. Not all communities have understanding of it. In some communities local authorities are still attempting to put under their control local business, destroying competition and in result they downsize the revenues that gets to the local budget. That is why even the smallest investment is highly important for community functioning.
Everyone should be involved into projects, not just state officials but educators and medical workers. The citizens of Glyboka have full understanding of it. The Glyboka lyceum management takes part in all possible contest on regular basis. A new modern physics and energy saving lab has been opened here recently. Last year they got a new sports field. A new football mini-field with artificial cover was built across the school in Mykhailivka.
— We win one out of ten projects, – says the head of Glyboka united territorial community. However, we apply wherever we can. Each of us must write an application. It’s a rule.