The Slobozhanska hromada in the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast was one of the first not only in the region but also in Ukraine. It had no one to take over the experience from, no one to present as an example to follow, so that people were not afraid to amalgamate.
Svitlana Vusyk, deputy head of the Slobozhanska AH, told about hromada’s pioneer decentralisation experience and organisation of the educational sector within the UCMC-DOBRE project “Speakers of Hromadas”.
The Dnipropetrovsk Oblast is today a leader in the number of established AHs. People see the success of their neighbours and are not afraid to unite. The Slobozhanska hromada is one of the exemplary AHs of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, which leads the financial capacity rating in a category with a population of 10 to 15 thousand.
Slobozhanske was not a poor urban-type settlement – its budget amounted to UAH 50 million. The adjoined village of Stepove had a budget of UAH 500 thousand per year. Svitlana Vusyk says that it is a very small sum for the village that has to maintain a kindergarten, an outpatient clinic, and carry out landscaping. As a result of decentralisation, the total budget has increased 6-fold. Today the Slobozhanska AH not only earns itself, but also transfers 21% of its budget to the state (reverse subvention) to distribute subsidies to other hromadas.
For the residents of the adjoined village of Stepove to be sure they would not be forgotten, a memorandum was signed with the village council, which guaranteed what the village would receive and what it would not lose. The deputy head says that the memorandum is scheduled for 5 years, they have managed to fulfill 90% of promises already in three years.
The premises of the former cultural centre with destroyed roof was renovated in the village. Besides, the first in the oblast Safety Centre was built there.
The Safety Centre was constructed at the AH’s expense, and the equipment was purchased with the help of the USAID DOBRE Programme.
Approaching services to people was one of the most important arguments of amalgamation into the Slobozhanska hromada, says hromada deputy head. Today the Slobozhanske ASC provides more than 100 administrative services, including the issuance of biometric passports.
The deputy head says that they also plan to conclude an agreement with the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Service Centre, so that people could register and re-register their cars in the settlement.
The Slobozhanska hromada has called modern high-rise building for more than hundreds of families in line for apartments. Social housing was built at the expense of local and oblast budgets.
Having received the powers in the educational sector, the hromada started to repair and insulate the premises. One of the schools was reorganised into an educational complex with an extracurricular education centre.
Pre-school education is being developed as well – in a year, at the expense of local and oblast budget the AH built a new kindergarten for 220 kids.
The hromada has a communal institution “Mercy” for the elderly people, where they can sing, dance and play chess.
“In 2017, we approved the Hromada Development Strategy and identified the main priorities, since it is clear that it is impossible to do everything at once.”
In addition to ongoing work, there are active hromada residents who write projects. In particular, the youth. At Youth Council’s initiative an arboretum park was built near the school.
Last year the neighbouring village expressed its desire to join the Slobozhanska AH. All decisions are now supported and approved.
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