From the Bottom Up: How Decentralization Is Creating New Incentives in Ukraine

July 31, 2020
Thanks to the country’s decentralization reform, local communities are more frequently becoming centers of innovations in today’s Ukraine. They are helping to revive remote regions and modernize big cities.

UkraineWorld, together with its colleagues from the regional media, reviews three stories from local communities to show how they have adapted to the world's new realities.

Eco-movement of Zakarpattia

The small town of Yasinia in Zakarpattia is experiencing a cultural upsurge, reports journalist Evelina Hurnytska in a story for

A popular creative space called "Kredents" is being renovated. "This is a multimedia complex, a coworking space, and a creative space, providing inclusive learning. It offers opportunities for the development of future leaders," explains communications manager Svitlana Dzhunzhik.

Local activists have organized many creative and useful activities in Yasinia: a powerful eco-movement, an urban community, and cultural and educational events for children and adults.

"Working with children is great and probably the most enjoyable", say activists. Since the easing of quarantine, the community has been preparing further renovations for Kredents.

The main goal is to make it suitable for alternative education and quality communication, finding new solutions for Yasinia.

Big innovations in a small town

Another coworking culture is developing in northwestern Ukraine. Nazarii Tomchuk reported for on innovations in the small town of Baranivka (Zhytomyr region), which were also inspired by the local community.

The story began two years ago when the community of Baranivka received a modern coworking space as part of an EU innovation project. Very soon, the coworking space became a new educational hub. People can come there to learn sewing, carpentry, and 3D modeling. The space also has a media center and a greenhouse.

The coworking space is very popular among youth, who enjoy taking advantage of the educational opportunities offered. Sadly, coronavirus has forced major changes to the community's work. "Now we sew protective masks to help elderly people," says dressmaker Marichka Tykhonchuk, while the 3D printer makes protective face shields for local doctors.

The project's success has inspired the community of Baranivka to do more. A cheese factory and an office building are now under construction. These new facilities will also help to employ locals.

Cossack history is being revived in Zaporizhia

Now let's move south. The city of Zaporizhia is known for the island of Khortytsia, which was the home of Zaporozhian Cossacks, the warrior people of the borderland with the vast Eurasian steppe and a key of Ukrainian political identity in the 16th through 18th centuries. Their historical and cultural heritage inspires today's Zaporizhians.

Cossack traditions are still alive, writes Andrii Meniailo for A local Cossack Sports Center offers training for children, which is very popular here. Parents line up to enroll their children in the Center.

"At first I was worried whether little ones would be able to take an interest in training," admits coach Mykhailo Preobrazhentsev. But it seems that even the youngest students cope well with the tasks.

With his Center, Mykhailo Preobrazhentsev offers a modern look on the old traditions and has made them popular among his fellow Zaporizhians.

While Ukraine is trying to look into the future, it is also important for the country to keep and sustain the healthy traditions of the past.

This article was produced through the stipend program Remain in the Profession, run by Internews Ukraine.

The program is made possible by the support of the American people through the Media Program in Ukraine, a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Internews. The contents are the sole responsibility of the authors and Internews Ukraine and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the United States Government or Internews.

Yaroslava Kobynets
Journalist at Internews Ukraine