A study tour in the Donbass region of Ukraine followed by a seminar in Kyiv, commissioned by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, have provided a perspective on how the Effective Community Governance model could be applied by leading Ukrainian NGOs.
Study Tour of “Territorial Communities” in Donetsk and Lugansk
In April 2006, the Donbass Regional Development Agency (RDA Donbass), hosted an Epstein & Fass Associates team on visits to community-based organizations that RDA Donbass helped create and is assisting in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. These citizen-led groups have been organizing residents to improve their own communities, which had been devastated by closures of coal mines and other major employers. The self-empowering approach these groups use to engage residents and implement projects, and their emphasis on gathering information for effective community assessment and improvement planning, was found to be quite compatible with the Effective Community Governance Model. Much of the last day of the tour was spent with RDA Donbass in their Donetsk office examining how Effective Community Governance concepts could add a new strategic focus to the approach used in the territorial communities.
Kyiv Seminar for Redevelopment and Research NGOs from Across Ukraine
The Epstein & Fass team used what they learned on the Donbass tour to design and lead a seminar hosted by the National Association of Regional Development Agencies (NARDA) in Kyiv on June 21, 2006 on Effective Community Governance. The seminar was designed to inform Ukraine NGO leaders about the community governance model and related concepts, help them begin to apply the ideas to their own regions and communities, and obtain feedback from them to help determine a workable implementation approach for the model in Ukraine. The 20 seminar participants came from 3 research institutions and 15 regional development agencies or “RDAs” from across Ukraine, and from the Mott Foundation. Seminar feedback was encouraging about the applicability of Effective Community Governance. For example, the pattern of citizen roles in their engagement with RDAs has followed a predictable and not-yet fully-developed path, suggesting that Ukraine RDAs can use effective governance practices to make citizens still more effective participants in improving their communities. And the NGOs that took part in a planning exercise were all able to apply the elements of the governance model to their ongoing projects, demonstrating that they quickly saw how to apply the model to their mainstream work.