The final event, with the presentation of two project drafts, plans for future cooperation and the signing of the sister cities agreement between Hrastnik and Drohobych in 2024, concluded a successful second mentorship visit from 27 November to 8 December 2023 under the auspices of the project ‘Post-conflict reconstruction in Ukraine’.
Today’s event concludes the mentorship visits, focusing on enhancing Drohobych’s capacities in project writing and project management and sharing good practices on housing, waste management, and tourism development with the help of experts, mentors and representatives from Hrastnik municipality, business and tourism sectors. In his opening address, the mayor of the municipality of Hrastnik, Mr Marko Funkl, reaffirmed Hrastnik’s willingness to cooperate with Drohobych, stating the intent of both municipalities to sign a sister city agreement in 2024, and commended the progress of mentees in the two weeks of work.
Joining the two-week mentorship in Hrastnik were Mr Yurii Yatskiv, Project Manager from the City Drohobych Institute, and Ms Olha Bunda, Representative of Drohobych Tourism, who were mentored by the municipality of Hrastnik mentor, Mr David Kranjc.
In the first week, mentees focused their attention on needs assessment, followed by the basics of project management, project writing and project funding and began preparing a frame for two projects, focusing on housing and tourism development, they wish to implement in Drohobych with the help of expert Mr Klemen Srna and partners in Hrastnik. The topics of the second week focused on housing, the development of waste management systems and tourism development.
Housing was a crucial topic of the mentorship discussions, as Drohobych is among several Ukrainian municipalities in West Ukraine dealing with a large influx of IDPs – with over 16 000 people seeking refuge in Drohobych with a population of 77 000 people, the situation requires immediate attention. Special emphasis was also put on already established cooperation between Hrastnik and Drohobych in the field of medical rehabilitation – with the visit to Hrastnik Medical Centre and discussions on the continuation of the work. The importance of the topic of housing for IDPs was addressed in a work session between mentees, Hrastnik mayor Mr Marko Funkl and Ms Tea Primon from the Department of Development, Property and Legal Affairs of Hrastnik, along with Mr Primož Siter, representative of Ministry for Solidarity-Based Future of Slovenia who addressed the housing situation in Slovenia and current activities of Slovenia addressing the situation, and Mr Rok Ramšak and Ms Maša Hawlina from Zadrugator who presented cooperative housing models, focusing on the financing and legislative aspects, as well as the presentation of good European practices and possible examples applicable to Ukraine.
The municipality of Hrastnik prepared a rich side programme for mentees, Mr Yatskiv and Ms Bunda, with site visits focusing on tourism at TIC Hrastnik and TIC Ljubljana, EU programmes and support at Europe Direct Zasavje and Representation of European Commission of Slovenia, and business development at Regional tech centre Zasavje and companies steklarna Hrastnik, 3D Prototip and Dewesoft. The topic of establishing an effective and transparent waste management system on the local level and following EU waste management regulations was presented by speakers Mr Igor Petek from waste management company Publikus, Mr Matej Kuhar from municipal utility service Hrastnik and Mr Enes Raković from waste management centre Ceroz Zasavje
Mentees from Drohobych came equipped with ideas for possible improvements in Drohobych, which became drafts in the first week and were built upon to become strong project concepts in the second week with the help from CEP Senior Advisor Ms Jelka Klemenc. To present projects from the perspective of project evaluators, the mentees were joined by project evaluation expert Mr Gorazd Jenko, who shared insights on ensuring project sustainability, pitching projects to donors and possible investors, and pitfalls of project writing.
The mentorship concluded today with an internal debrief between CEP, external expert Mr Srna, mentor Mr Kranjc and mentees, followed by a public presentation of the mentorship and project plans prepared with the help of new knowledge gained during the mentorship, which will be elaborated and finalized during the project until the end of 2024. Joining the closing event were also the representative of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Ms Nataša Kos, Minister Plenipotentiary, who commended the successful activities of the mentorship and reaffirmed the support of Slovenia to Ukraine, and representative of the Embassy of Ukraine in Slovenia, Ms Natalia Markevych Pritsa, Deputy Head of Mission, who expressed her support for the presented project proposals and the proposal for the signing of sister city agreement between Hrastnik and Drohobych. Joining the event were also Mr Miha Mirt, Managing Director of the Public Institute for Culture, Sports, Youth and Tourism – KRC Hrastnik and other representatives of the municipality of Hrastnik.
The ‘Post-conflict reconstruction in Ukraine’ project is funded by the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs through the Slovenian Aid and Partnerships and implemented in partnership with ‘U-LEAD with Europe’. U-LEAD with Europe programme is a partnership of the Ukrainian government and the European Union, and its member states Germany, Poland, Denmark and Slovenia, to support the establishment of multi-level governance that is transparent, accountable and responsive to the needs of the population of Ukraine.