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The Legal Development Network will strengthen the potential of human rights organizations from 7 oblasts of Ukraine with the support of UNDP and the Government of Canada

At the end of September, a number of public organizations from Dnipro, Zaporizhia, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk, Mykolaiv, and Chernihiv oblasts will begin training under the annual program of the project “Capacity development of local NGOs – legal aid providers in Ukraine”, which is implemented by the Legal Development Network (LDN) with the support of UNDP and the Government of Canada.

Photo: Anna Storozhenko, a specialist in the rule of law of the UN Development Program in Ukraine

Anna Storozhenko, a specialist in the rule of law of the UN Development Program in Ukraine, noted the important role of small organizations working in communities. «The project provides a good opportunity to strengthen the capacity of organizations to provide quality services to internally displaced persons and to develop», Anna Storozhenko said. 

It is worth mentioning that most of the organizations that were selected to participate in the project by competition do not have even five years of experience, and three of them were created only this year, in 2022. In the conditions of a full-scale war in Ukraine, each of the selected organizations of the project is forced to review approaches to work, to adapt to the new conditions in the communities where they are now due to the fact that the communities where they worked before are temporarily not under the control of the Government of Ukraine. 

Photo: Vitalii Okhrimenko, program director of the Legal Development Network

«There is probably no organization left after February 24 that can say its strategies remain effective. They faced challenges that severely undermined organizational capacity. Our civil society has shown itself worthily. On the other hand, we understand that this is a long-term war, and we must be strong. Our strength lies in uniting and strengthening each other. This project, in particular, is a platform to communicate more and unite in order to be stronger together», mentioned Vitalii Okhrimenko, program director of the Legal Development Network.

The training program is designed for heads of public organizations, managers of areas, and lawyers. It involves a team of trainers and experts who have significant experience and many successful achievements in their fields. Let’s dwell in more detail on the experience of each of the trainers of the program. 

Ruslan Bakhtyiev knows many organizations from the inside and helps them build strategies. He will indicate the ways of possible institutional development of organizations, introduce the tools of institutional sustainability, and at the tactical level, help organize the work process in the context of providing legal aid.

Iryna Glushchenkova has also worked for many years both with public organizations and with representatives of the access to justice sphere, in particular, with the system of free legal aid, the prosecutor’s office, and the bar community. The trainer will teach effective internal communication, and develop stress management and emotional intelligence skills.

Maryna Govorukhina is a well-known communications expert. With it, project participants will learn to work properly with anti-crisis communications and will be able to make their organizations more recognizable.

Olha Semeniuk is a practicing lawyer and trainer. Olha will help in the development of skills for working with internally displaced persons, and professional communication with clients. She will help to understand the legal framework and how it is implemented in practice. 

In addition, representatives of the LDN and other organizations of the Solidarity and Justice coalition, in particular – the Ukrainian Women Lawyers Association «JurFem», will share their practical experience. Thus, the participating organizations will gain knowledge about providing effective legal assistance and establishing gender-sensitive services.

The educational program is divided into modules and focused on three groups of educational activities. The first group is aimed at organizational development and ensuring the stability of processes in organizations, and their institutional stability.

The second is for the development of legal services provided by organizations participating in the project or planned to provide in the near future.

The third is the personal development of members of the organizational team.

Photo: Iryna Chaika, organizational development director of the LDN

«The entire program consists of four modules. It will start with a module that will provide the conceptual basis of the entire program. Between training modules, there will be intermediate periods during which participants will actively work with mentors to implement knowledge and skills», says Iryna Chaika, organizational development director of the LDN.

In total, 10 mentors will work in the project, coordinated by Anna Uvarova – an expert who has been developing the mentoring institute in Ukrainian civil society for many years: 

«The task of the mentor is to identify one to three focuses that the organizations will work on throughout the program and the way to achieve the goals. On this way, they will be supported by mentors».

In addition, Anna Uvarova will also monitor the dynamics of success, what succeeded and what did not succeed, during regular meetings with all project participants.

Photo: Yevgen Poltenko, executive director of the Legal Development Network

«We have vast experience and expertise. Along the way, we also made mistakes, faced serious challenges, and found solutions. Organizations participating in the project will be able not to repeat our mistakes and not waste time on working out effective models. Thanks to our experts, mentors, and coaches, they will go through this path much faster and more efficiently», mentioned Yevgen Poltenko, executive director of the Legal Development Network.

One of the conditions for achieving efficiency is the use of a self-assessment tool for organizational development, which must be completed by each of the organizations participating in the project. The results of the assessment will influence the direction of the mentors’ help. The tool was developed by the Legal Development Network and has been effectively implemented since 2016 to strengthen its member organizations.

The project “Capacity development of local NGOs – legal aid providers in Ukraine” is implemented by the Legal Development Network with the support of UNDP within the framework of the UN Peacebuilding and Reconstruction Program with the financial support of the Government of Canada.

The UN Reconstruction and Peacebuilding Program (UN RPP) is implemented by four UN agencies: the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Framework for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Food and the United Nations Agricultural Organization (FAO).

The program is supported by twelve international partners: the European Union (EU), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the US Embassy in Ukraine, as well as the governments of Canada, Denmark, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland.

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