Caritas held nationwide forum “Social problems solving: Space for collaboration or clashes?”

Caritas held nationwide forum “Social problems solving: Space for collaboration or clashes?”

On March 27-28, 2018, the nationwide forum “Social problems solving: Space for collaboration or clashes?” was held in Kyiv, where a range of issues related to communities activation was discussed.

The event was organized under Caritas Ukraine project “Creation of multifunctional social centers for coping with crisis and self-help for persons and communities affected by the conflict in Ukraine”, financed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development with the support of Caritas Germany.

The first day of the forum was devoted to the panel discussion “Mechanisms for cooperation of local governments and the community in solving social issues”. Main speakers were:

– Taras Stetskiv, people’s deputy of Ukraine of I-IV, VI convocation, politician, public figure;

– Marianna Onufryk, Head of the National Deinstitutionalization Reform Office at the Commissioner of the President of Ukraine for Children’s Rights;

– Dzvenyslava Chaikivska, General Secretary of Caritas Ukraine;

– Yuliia Haidarzhy, General Director of the Directorate of Social Services and Integration;

– Olga Stavytska, Deputy Chairman for Social issues of Shyroke United territorial community;

The discussion was moderated by Hryhorii Seleschuk, Director of Caritas Ukraine Department for Assistance to people affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

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Andriy Vaskovych, the President of Caritas Ukraine welcomed the guests. ‘Today, Caritas is the biggest non-governmental organization providing social services in Ukraine. This conference is very important for us, because our goal is to facilitate the role of the civil society in solving social issues. For many years, Caritas Ukraine has been maintaining its position – implementation and establishment of understanding of social activity principles among the society’.

He also added that no division between the government and society shall exist: the society chooses the government, and the government works for it. ‘We must take control over our destiny and change the society in the way we see it’, summed up Mr. Vaskovych.

During the discussion, Dzvenyslava Chaikivska supported the point that the problem of social services provision in Ukraine cannot be treated as issue of the state or local governments, as it is a common cause.

The first day of the conference concluded with the group work: participants of the forum got acquainted, exchanged personal experience and discussed the efficiency of mechanisms for collaboration of local governments and the community.

The second day of the forum was devoted to the discussion “Activation of the population in solving social issues’.

Main speakers of the event were:

– Ihor Koliushko, people’s deputy of Ukraine of II convocation, Chairman of the Board of the Center for Political and Legal Reforms;

– Volodymyr Kupriy, First Deputy Head of the National Agency of Ukraine on Civil Service;

– Oleh Bereziuk, people’s deputy of Ukraine, leader of faction “Self-help”, member of Verkhovna Rada Committee on State Building, Regional Policy and Local Self-Government;

– Serhii Shapovalov, АТО veteran, leader of self-help group for АТО veterans;

– Andriy Vaskovych, president of Caritas Ukraine.

The meeting was opened by the presentation of the public law expert, Ihor Koliushko, about the strategic development goals of Ukraine. During his speech Mr. Koliushko emphasized that in the efficient society a major number of issues is resolved with the help of self-organized and active citizens. Issues which cannot be managed by them are delegated to local self-governments and state authorities.

The issue whether representatives of public organizations shall go into politics was also discussed during the forum. Oleh Bereziuk, people’s deputy of Ukraine, commented that the power itself is a form of self-organization. ‘Power is neither a superstructure, nor an enemy. These are the same people who create and take care of circumstances to avoid any damages’. He also added that in order to go into politics the one is to have deep knowledge and be ready to bear responsibility.

The plenary meeting was preceded by the intensive work in small groups where best practices to activate the population were discussed. Participants took part in discussions and exchanged their experience. Everybody could assess their own work in the context of other public organizations and initiatives.