Initiating Positive Changes
Since February 2011, the RGD team has been working in Lviv and Dnipropetrovsk with 75 trainees of the Training of Trainers (ToT) Program – civil servants, entrepreneurs and community leaders from 13 regions of Ukraine – on developing skills to support regional economic development (RED). The trainees have acquired practical tools to prepare and manage projects that would improve public infrastructure across Ukraine. 31 ToT trainees gathered in September 2011 at the Lviv NAPA Regional Institute to present the practical projects they had developed over the course of the program. The projects were reviewed by an Expert Committee that consisted of representatives of the Lviv Regional Institute of Public Administration (one of the four NAPA regional institutes) as well as of other RGD Ukrainian and International Experts. Their professional assessment was the first step toward evaluating the projects’ sustainability in terms of qualifying for appropriate funding from governmental and non-governmental sources.
Ihor Sanzharovskyi, RGD Ukrainian Manager, was very interested to find out how trainees were going to disseminate the knowledge and skills obtained during the ToT Program. A large proportion of the trainees stated that they had already participated in various workshops, public hearings, and presented their projects to their local governments. It was very encouraging to know that ToT graduates were achieving the goals of the program by becoming “agents of change”. ToT graduates were beginning to initiate economic and social development in their respective territories, attracting different stakeholders, and disseminating the knowledge they gained to others willing to learn.
ToT trainers, Iryna Lekh, Serhiy Mogylnyi, Volodymyr Nazarenko, Olga Pashko, Svitlana Slava-Prodan and Vitaliy Lysenko, concurred that the training Program and final project presentations were exciting and that they themselves were also on a journey of discovery. Iryna Lekh was pleasantly surprised to learn that representatives of both Western and Eastern Ukraine have common understanding of European integration and that they all considered personal growth as a high priority. The ToT Program also had positive impacts in both the personal and professional lives of some the trainees. One special example is the upcoming wedding of Nataliya Tymchuk and Olexander Radysh from Zakarpattya, who met during the training and will continue to disseminate their skills obtained together. Our heartfelt Congratulations!
More examples of professional success are worth mentioning. After completing the ToT Program, Anatoliy Konoval was promoted from the position of Head of Department, Main Economic Department of Vinnytsia Oblast State Administration, to the position of Deputy Head of Zhmerinka City Mayor as a result of his training and newly acquired skills. Vitaliya Vakarova began the RGD ToT Program as the Head of Department in Khust City Council (Zakarpattya) and after graduation she accepted a new position as Deputy Director of the Municipal Development Agency in the city of Vynogradiv.
Both ToT trainers and trainees acknowledged that the ToT Program not only provided them with a platform to learn new skills in the fields of strategic planning, project management and alternative financing, but also provided the opportunity to share practical experience in these disciplines with their colleagues. This unique practice-based training Program carried out by the RGD project will be of service to over 30 representatives of seven oblasts in Western and Central regions of Ukraine, who received in September 2011 vocational training certificates within the RGD ToT Program in the field of regional economic development. They are the very people who will continue to initiate positive change for promoting sustainable regional economic growth and development across Ukraine.