There are several projects in Ukraine that document the destruction caused by the Russian invasion.
When journalists asked the manager of one of them what surprised him, he answered: “The team has a list of destroyed objects. They arrive, and there is already cleanliness and order. And no ruins are visible”.
Ukrainians treat property responsibly – both own and public. Communal workers, volunteers, and the local population promptly set out to restore damaged buildings and infrastructure.
Because everyone wants to live in normal houses, use the usual services, go to work, take their children to school. The enemy really wants to steal our normal life, but the Ukrainians do not and will not allow it to be done.
Despite this rather understandable position, foreign media periodically discuss the timeliness of rebuilding Ukrainian settlements. He said they don’t make repairs during a fire – when everything is finished, then we will start to restore.
Attempts by domestic speakers to explain that life cannot be put on hold are sometimes successful.
And it really continues. Reconstruction of the affected objects is being done all over the country. However, everyone’s ability to organize the process is different: the resources of a large city and a sparsely populated village are disproportionate, while a significant part of the destruction fell to the fate of small settlements.
Such communities are helped by the “U-LEAD with Europe” Program.
How communities will be rebuilt
The program for Ukraine on empowerment, accountability and development at the local level “U-LEAD with Europe”, jointly financed by the EU and its member states Germany, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia and Slovenia, with the support of the Ministry of Community Development, of territories and infrastructure of Ukraine chose 100 communities in the regions that suffered the greatest destruction as a result of Russian aggression.
These are Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Zhytomyr, Zaporizhzhya, Kyiv, Mykolaiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Kherson and Chernihiv regions.
Through the “U-LEAD with Europe” program, the German government plans to support small-scale reconstruction in these communities. Local residents will be able to get transport, construction tools and equipment.
The conditions of the initiative are explained in more detail in the German society of international cooperation “GIZ Ukraine”, which implements the “U-LEAD with Europe” program.
The community is eligible for one vehicle to support rebuilding. Vehicles are purchased in the European Union and delivered directly to one or another Ukrainian settlement. Within the scope of the project, the community also receives a predetermined large set of tools and equipment (i.e. “tulkit”) for carrying out repair and reconstruction works.
Why did the initiative appear?
Maintenance of small-scale reconstruction became possible thanks to special additional financing from the German government. But even before this tranche, “U-LEAD with Europe” actively helped Ukraine.
The program started working back in 2016 and was aimed at expanding the capabilities of local self-government.
But on February 24, 2022, the plans had to be adjusted. Currently, the project’s specialists, which are 180 specialists, have focused on helping Ukrainians during the war and reconstruction.
Hundreds of communities received emergency aid packages. Events dedicated to energy independence, psychological support, social issues, security, food crisis, etc. were organized for local communities across the country.
With the help of U-LEAD, after the start of the full-scale war, approximately 70 municipalities from 17 EU countries were involved in helping Ukrainian communities affected by Russian aggression.
Currently, most of these partnership ties are aimed at rebuilding territorial communities, planning their recovery, development and implementation of relevant projects, but also at the prospect of further closer post-war cooperation.
So is it about time?
This support proves that many Europeans understand the real challenges facing Ukrainians. We want to continue our normal life, but we need help to get it back.
For the reconstruction of our large cities, small towns and villages. And the question “Is it on time?” no one has the right to ask us. As they say, we have to do our own thing. We do.