In January, the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) of Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) announced the winners of the Small Grants Competition aimed for the ILM Alumni Community. The ILM Small Grants Program is held thanks to the financial support of Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. The goal of the Program is to support initiatives aimed at increasing citizens activity in creating changes in local communities. The uniqueness of this year’s Program is that the projects are implemented in partnership between ILM graduates. Thus, the Institute of Leadership and Management seeks to promote the development and strengthening of cooperation among its alumni. Being a graduate of the Institute of Leadership and Management means being a part of a large community which through its activities, projects and initiatives builds up communities and unites people.
According to Oksana Mahura, the Coordinator of the Small Grants Program, the selection of projects was carried out by an independent panel of experts. Out of 60 submitted project ideas, 11 projects were supported. Projects budget are 83,000-120,000 UAH.
The Institute of Leadership and Management supports its graduates also after completion of their studies. Thus, to ensures effective implementation of projects, the project’s teams receive mentoring support from ILM experts. “We are glad that even after graduation our alumni continue to team up and together create changes through realization of important, timely projects” says Oksana Mahura.
We talked to the managers of a few winning projects and found out what is special and important about their projects.
Natalya Pipa, manager of the project “Make Sykhiv Greener”, graduate of the MA Program “Management of Nonprofit Organizations” 2015 and representatives of NGO “A Better Sykhiv”, says that by this project they want to prove that people who live in Sykhiv (one of the districts in Lviv) can actively participate in influencing and changing their environment, and their activism can set an example for other districts and cities.
“We are trying to make the local community more aware of ecology and the protection of nature. We’ve already held a competition called “How I take care of our planet” among all schools in Sykhiv, as well as among other schools in Lviv. The winners of the competition (20 children) participated in a natural science school called “From a Bird to an Insect.” Its idea was to learn natural science not from books, but directly from nature. We wanted to make the school interesting and interactive. Simultaneously, their parents were involved in setting up an eco-trail in the Sykhiv forest. The project already brought some results, and on April 20, as a part of a city clean-up day, we will install eco-stands. On May 19th, we will have a big eco-holiday, an eco-lecture, workshops, games and a grand opening of the eco-trail,” says Natalya Pipa.
“We are trying to make the local community more aware of ecology and the protection of nature. We’ve already held a competition called “How I take care of our planet” among all schools in Sykhiv, as well as some other schools in Lviv. The winners of the competition (20 children) participated in a Natural Science School called “From a Bird to an Insect.” Its idea was to learn natural science not from books, but directly from nature. We wanted to make the school interesting and interactive. Simultaneously, their parents were involved in setting up an eco-trail in the Sykhiv forest. The project already brought some results, and on April 20, as a part of a Сity Сlean-up Day, we will install eco-stands. On May 19-th, we will have a big eco-festival, an eco-lecture, workshops, games and a grand opening of the eco-trail,” says Natalya Pipa.
Among the partners of this project are Vasylchenko Halyna (a graduate of the Good Government Program, 2014 and a representative of the “Institute for International Economic Research”, Lviv), Yelyzaveta Kolesnikova (a graduate of the MA Program “Management of Nonprofit Organizations”, 2018 and a representative of “The Ray of Change” NGO, Lviv) and Ivanka Havrylko (a graduate of the Good Government Program, 2015 and a representative of the “Ukrainian Leadership Academy” NGO, Kyiv). “With some of our partners we cooperate for the first time, while we’ve already had joint projects with others. Since we knew that they were the graduates of the Institute of Leadership and Management, there was immediately a higher level of trust in each other, a quicker connection. This gave better results during joint work. We want to develop such cooperation to be not only partners but also a team. This project is the first attempt to understand further how to cooperate better and more effectively,” says Nataliya Pipa.
The project “Public space House-Reading room” as the Catalyst of the Derevnya Village Development” has three vectors of development. First, a public space in an old, renovated village house will be expanded. Second, this space will be used to host activities for people of all ages: public projects, workshops, hobby groups, thematic meetings, film screenings, the publication of a local newspaper. Third, this space will be used to set up a social enterprise - a sewing workshop where people who are having life difficulties could work.
According to the project manager, Bohdan Zelenyi, a representative of the “Mykhaylivske Community" NGO (Zhovkva district, Lviv region) and a graduate of the Good Government program, 2015, the public space on the basis of “House-Reading room” is already being set up and the sewing workshop will soon start functioning. “What makes our public space different is that it is based in the old house (similar House- reading rooms used to be set up by the “Prosvita” society). They became symbolic, and the revival of the Ukrainian spirit in Western Ukraine often happened in their walls. So, we want to revive this tradition,” says Bohdan Zelenyi.
Among the project partners are Stanislav Klosovskyi (a graduate of the MA Program Management of Nonprofit Organizations, 2018 and a representative of the NGO “Space of Free Initiatives”, Zolochiv, Lviv region) and Iryna Kuropas (a graduate of the Good Government Program, 2014 and a representative of the “Local Economic Development Agency” NGO, Yavoriv, Lviv region). All of them share similar values. Bohdan Zelenyi sais: “I have known Stanislav for a long time, and he inspired us to create this space as he does something similar in his village. He inspired us, so we continue to stay in touch, share our experience, and ask each other for advice. Together with Iryna we participated in the Good Governance program, and since then we’ve also stayed in touch, she is also engaged with community development issues. Within this project, I would like to get my colleagues involved in the development of our community and to help them develop their communities. Another aim of our project is establishing cooperation with other village communities of the Zhovkva district and communities from Volyn region. With activists from those communities to hold a strategic session and together discuss our goals and concrete measures for cooperation among communities”.
The primary objective of the project “Two Steps Towards the World” is to raise awareness about the value of a community of people with intellectual disabilities and to get volunteers involved in the activities organized by the L’Arche community. According to the project leader Oleh Chykharivskyi, a representative of the L’Arche community and a graduate of the MA program Management of Nonprofit Organizations, 2013, this initiative is meant to remind people that there are not only material values in the world.
The project is implemented by means of fairs, art exhibitions created by people with intellectual disabilities, master classes and presentations, during which visitors get to know the community of people with different abilities.
A partner of the project is Oksana Zakharevych, a graduate of the MA program Management of Nonprofit Organizations, 2017, a representative of the NGO “L’Arch-Ternopil” (Ternopil). “We’ve started working together with our partners even before the project began. We share our experience, discuss issues that come up in the process, and try to find ways to resolve them. We have already held joint events, but we continue to work on future initiatives,” says Oleg Chykharivskyi, Project Manager.
All teams have already started implementing their projects. According to Dariya Danylchenko, a mentor of the “Two Steps Towards the World” and “Public space “House-Reading room” as the Catalyst of the Derevnya Village Development” projects, all initiatives are special and timely. The “House-Reading room” project is special because it is carried out by locals; it is a bottom-up initiative. We hope that members of the community are interested in such projects because in each village there is a need in such space. The “Two Steps Towards the World” project is aimed at organizing events that will uncover the peculiarities of a community of people with disabilities and show the right way to communicate with them. Such organization is unique for Ukrainian society,” says Dariya Danylchenko.
“We hold regular meetings, about once a month, where we discuss issues that come up. Sometimes we have to deal with formalities, such as the preparation of reports and documentation, but our main goal is to share our own experience and knowledge, gained by working in this area of expertise. It will be interesting to visit the planned activities, to see how the projects are implemented and how their main goals are achieved. After all, this is our mission: to support project participants while they work on fulfilling the goals of their projects,” said Dariya Danylchenko.