The civil society and the cooperation with institutions are fundamental to reconstruct Ukraine. On the first anniversary of the Russian invasion, ALDA organised a dedicated event in Gdansk (Poland), entitled “LDA Mariupol partners meeting”, to present the work of the Local Democracy Agency Mariupol, while discussing activities and future collaboration with new partners from EU countries.
“ALDA is working to create new LDAs in Ukraine; advanced discussions are underway regarding the establishment of LDAs in Vinnitsa, Kharkiv, Odessa, Mykolaiv”- stated Antonella Valmorbida – Secretary General of the Association.
The same commitment to support the initiatives of the LDA was also echoed by Monika Chabior – Deputy Mayor of Gdansk. Besides, Ms. Chabior expressed both the will of the city to be engaged within youth projects – be they exchange programme, and Erasmus plus; and the newly implemented initiatives targeting the integration of Ukrainian inhabitants. Moreover, the city of Etterbeek (Belgium) and Distric 11 in Barcelona, invited to the meeting, were of like mind in engaging with LDA Mariupol.
Stakeholders and partners met in Gdansk to provide ad hoc aid and support to LDA Mariupol
The urgency to support the local community, previously mentioned by the LDA partners, was further stressed by Vadym Boychenko, Mayor of Mariupol, who not only shared the suffer and pain of the people of Mariupol, but also the importance of international support in the rebuilding and returning processes. Hence, the coordinated actions of international CSOs and networks around the above-mentioned phases is vital and crucial. This is also why the Vice-Rector of Mariupol University, Tetyana Marena, is in favour of further cooperation for the development of the LDA Mariupol project, thus further strengthening the bond between the Agency and the University, the latter hosting itself the premises of the LDA.
What emerged quite clearly during the meeting, was the necessity of providing ad hoc humanitarian aid to Ukraine, as emphasised by the speech of Olga Pikula – Member of Mariupol City Council, introducing the “Ya Mariupol” project, which has currently 17 offices across the country and carries out activities to support Mariupol residents on issues such as humanitarian aid, job search, psychological and medical support. Similarly, Oleksandra Kulichenko, representing LDA Mariupol, provided an overview on the initiatives implemented in support to city residents.
Overall, the meeting in Gdansk marked a fruitful moment for the further collaboration of different stakeholders with the LDA Mariupol, while stressing the importance of local communities in being resilient in war time. There is a need to restart locally for the reconstruction of the Country.
Local Democracy Agency Mariupol was established in December 2017 and focuses on dialogue between local authorities and civil society, public participation in decision-making on local development issues, participatory budgeting, support for the decentralization process and the creation of united territorial communities. Partners: NGO “Mariupol Development Fund” (Lead Partner); Mariupol City Council (Ukraine); City of Gdansk (Poland); Akmene District Municipality (Lithuania).