Innovative ‘Ukrainian New York’ community centre opens in Donetsk Oblast
Social hub in Novhorodske designed to unite community, be a place to set up public organizations, study the history of the village, and find ways to further develop it
Novhorodske, Donetsk Oblast, 6 April – The conflict-affected village of Novhorodske in Donetsk Oblast celebrated the opening of an innovative new community hub, named “Ukrainian New York” in honor of the village’s historic name.
The project to build the centre was led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) via the UN’s Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme in Ukraine (UN RPP), in partnership with UNHCR, private businesses, non-government organizations and the local community.
As well as serving as a base for organizing local initiatives and organizations, the community hub will operate as a psychological health centre, a media centre and an educational centre for training community residents on human rights, the development of soft skills (such as leadership, teamwork, and communications) and setting up youth initiatives.
Danish Ambassador to Ukraine Ole Egberg Mikkelsen, in his video address at the opening ceremony, said Denmark was proud to be among the donor partners for the new community centre.
“With this new community centre, the citizens of Novhorodske will have a place where they can come together to exercise local democracy and conduct educational activities. You can also carry out working group meetings aimed at community development, trainings, workshops and youth projects. This will support local democracy, civil society and community life. These are core values for Ukraine’s transformation and the activities that will take place in this centre will bring these values to life”, emphasised the Ambassador.
Situated just a few kilometres from the “contact line” between the government-controlled and non-government-controlled parts of Ukraine’s Donbas region, the village was badly damaged in the early stages of Ukraine’s 7-year armed conflict.
UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Manal Fouani, speaking at the ceremony marking the opening of the new community hub, said the new centre stands as a symbol of what can be achieved when people work together.
“This centre will serve as a place to bring people together for the common purpose of developing the community, creating civil organizations and initiatives, and mobilizing resources,” Fouani said. “In these difficult times, it is important for people in Ukraine, including those in Donetsk Oblast, to overcome whatever might have divided them in the past and work together for a better future.”
To create the new centre, a partnership was formed between the local community, international development agencies, and private business in the region. Almost half of the funds used to create the centre were raised from local businesses, along with contributions from UNHCR and UNDP, supported by the governments of Denmark, Switzerland and Sweden via the UN RPP. The total cost of the project was around U.S. $63,200.
The project involved the renovation of a dilapidated, 100-year-old building of a former cooperative store. UNDP financial support (funding from the governments of Denmark, Switzerland and Sweden) was UAH 844,882 ($29,600), and UNHCR financial support was UAH 159,100 ($5,600). Local initiative groups and NGOs donated furniture and equipment worth over UAH 285,000 ($10,000).
Regional iron and steelmaker Metinvest Company contributed UAH 600,000 ($21,800) for the structural repair of the building, including its ceilings and façade, and agricultural company Beta Agro Invest LLC contributed UAH 50,000 ($1,800) for the purchase of materials and equipment for the building’s power supply and heating systems.
Local company FOP Lenko OV donated over UAH 16,000 ($590) worth of landscaping work, and members of the local community donated UAH 25,000 ($900) worth of labour to clean the premises and surrounding territory, remove garbage, deliver soil and help with the landscaping of the territory.
The United Nations Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme (UN RPP) is being implemented by four United Nations agencies: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Twelve international partners support the Programme: the European Union (EU), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, and the governments of Canada, Denmark, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland.
Yuliia Samus, Communications Team Leader, UNDP Ukraine, firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos attached: Artem Getman / UNDP Ukraine