NUT Poltava 2015 – Focusing on strengthening civil society, the fight against corruption and visions of the future of Ukrainian cities.

After NUT programs in Kharkiv (2013) and Ternopil (2014) Färgfabriken returned to Ukraine at the end of September 2015 with a NUT program in Poltava.

Poltava, the third city after Kharkiv and Ternopil in the program “Ukrainian Puzzle” hosted a NUT project in late September 2015. Communication between the authorities and civil society, as well as the effects of corruption were overriding themes, along with strengthening the internal network between civil society organizations active in urban issues.

Despite difficulties with regard to communication and public transparency there have been encouraging developments. Our partners in Kharkiv have registered their own NGO, Critical Thinking while our Ternopil partner, Changing Ternopil, noted better relations and growing cooperation with the city authorities. City Lab in Poltava recently accomplished a popular biking project. Crowd funding for urban CSO projects have taken off in Franko-Ivanovsk etc.

One of Färgfabriken’s oldest partner organizations, Oberliht in Chisinau, has assumed regional importance and came to Poltava to share their experiences. Of the Kiev based NGOs one is working with children and another one admirably with projects in the war torn Donbas area.

Strengthening civil society to fill local gaps where the authorities can’t or won’t reach out attracted great interest; the approach should be to identify common interests and present concrete proposals, not just criticising.

On the other hand, critical art expressions and mobile information booths or vans would serve the purpose of exploring the thoughts, desires and visions of all urban stakeholders. Social media were favoured as a tool to strengthen civil society.

Last but not least, the participants in Poltava called for increased international exchange. To satisfy this in a modest way Färgfabriken has invited four participants from Kiev. Kharkiv, Ternopil and Poltava for a study and capacity building visit to Sweden during the last week of November.

The “Ukrainian Puzzle” is taking shape!