Oksana Harnets, head of the Swiss-Ukrainian project "Decentralisation Support in Ukraine” (DESPRO), spoke about informational and educational assistance provided to starostas.
In my opinion, starostas are a certain backbone of local self-government in rural areas. Therefore, after the decentralisation of power began to be actively implemented, we felt the need for work with starostas," started her speech Oksana Harnets, head of the Swiss-Ukrainian project "Decentralisation Support in Ukraine” (DESPRO), at the Congress of Starostas of AHs in Dnipro. More than 200 starostas from all over Ukraine came to the Congress. In total, around 2.5 thousand starostas, responsible for high-quality service provision in their villages and representing the interests of the residents of starosta districts in the executive committees of hromadas, work in over 700 Ukrainian AHs.
Oksana Harnets spoke about several projects, offered to starostas by DESPRO.
"In a situation, where the official duties are not very clear and the legislative framework is somewhat crude, starostas need special support," continued Oksana Harnets. “That's why we decided to issue a quarterly newspaper “Radnyk Starosty” (“Starosta’s Adviser”), where we give answers to the most common questions. The number of starostas in Ukraine grows each year, and the circulation of this newspaper will increase as well. In addition, we launched an online forum for starostas on the website decentralisation.gov.ua, where you can ask any questions and get a response from an expert. Together with the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Institute of Public Administration of the National Academy for Public Administration under the President of Ukraine, we are also trying to implement the most up-to-date teaching methods. I mean the online platform of the Best Practices of Local Self-Government, which has over 12,000 registered professionals. It already allows registering for a new training course for starostas, which is the third in the joint work of the DESPRO project and experts. It takes into account the experience of previous courses and is indispensable in dissemination of specific knowledge and skills that starostas need. This course was initiated by the Dnipropetrovsk Local Government Development Centre of the U-LEAD with Europe Programme, Dnipropetrovsk Regional Institute of Public Administration of the National Academy for Public Administration under the President of Ukraine, and DESPRO.
“This year we urge AHs to come to our training events in teams,” said Ms. Harnets. “Therefore, we are interested that starostas come to us alongside with the heads of AHs, for them to subsequently form powerful management teams of amalgamated hromadas.
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