On October 20, 2016, the award ceremony for LINK local grants winners was held in Kyiv as part of the REC’s Sustainable Investment Forum. The event brought together energy experts and community leaders to acknowledge the efforts being made by LINK CSOs in leading communities towards the ideals of sustainable development and energy efficiency. On the following day, the grantees were given the floor to present their projects and share their visions for the future of Ukraine with colleagues from around the world.
Julia Melnyk, head of the social project “Ecoltava”, presented an initiative to create the “Centre for Sustainable Development of Poltava Region”. The Ecoltava project, together with the Society for Environmental Protection of Kremenchuk City and the Poltava Regional Branch of the National Environmental Centre of Ukraine, NECU-Poltava, are committed to raising awareness of efficient energy use in the Poltava region. The partners will install a demonstration mini solar power station to showcase the benefits of making buildings energy independent. In 2017, project leaders will also organise a series of press breakfasts and information campaigns to familiarise members of the local population with the concept of energy efficiency.
Poltava region will also host three conferences on energy safety and efficiency within the project “Arranging cooperation between Ukrainian towns, civil society and the community of experts on energy issues”. The ideas behind the project were introduced by Ruslan Shcherbakov, head of the Regional Center of Economic Research and Business Support in Lubny. In partnership with Lubny Rotary Club and Lubny Euro-Club, three forums for experts, representatives and officials from Ukrainian towns will be organised in Lubny in 2017. The aim is to connect experts and activists in order to solve the energy problems currently faced by Ukrainian towns. The conferences will lead to the development of local energy security plans tailored to the needs of particular towns.
The goal of enhancing energy safety measures in Zhytomyr region is at the heart of the project “Hexad – Energy-efficient community”, presented by Yurii Baliuk, chair of the Berdychiv regional CSO Good Deed. According to Mr. Baliuk, the problem of cold schools and kindergartens could be solved by transforming them into energy-independent institutions. To achieve this, Good Deed will cooperate with the Zhytomyr regional organisation Resurrection, and the Berdychiv association Youth of Zhytomyr Region. The partners will purchase a wood chipper for six villages and install a solid fuel boiler in Krasivka village school. In addition, various educational activities on energy efficiency will be organised for the residents of beneficiary villages. Through the dynamic educational programme, combined with concrete energy efficiency measures, the consortium plans to achieve the ambitious goal of making the region more energy independent in the next five years.
Combating energy illiteracy as a first step towards energy independence was proposed by Mykola Blyzniuk, head of the Centre for Public Initiatives in Kosiv, in the presentation “Kaniv –Kosiv – Link NGO: Cooperation for the Balanced Development of Municipal Communities in Ukraine”. A consortium comprising the Centre for Public Initiatives, the development foundation Shevchenko’s Land, and the civil ecological organisation Edelweiss will establish climate and energy clubs to popularise energy efficiency practices in the cities of Kosiv and Kaniv. These clubs will offer a wide range of information materials, including tips and instructions on energy efficiency for apartment buildings and private households.
Last but not least, Natalia Fomina, head of the Cherkasy regional branch of the All-Ukrainian Ecology League, closed the event with the presentation “Cherkasy Green Energy”. The consortium, which also includes the national youth centre Ecological Initiatives, the Cherkasy regional branch of the All-Ukrainian Children’s Association Ecological Guard, and the Inventors Association of Cherkasy Region, will install a system of solar panels to demonstrate the efficiency of smart energy practices. In addition, project partners will carry out energy audits of schools and run a series of trainings for teachers and employees of Cherkasy municipal institutions on energy-related topics.
Each presentation was followed by lively discussion, questions and suggestions from participants. Such a deep level of interest in the presented projects demonstrates the need for change in the energy sector — and we are delighted that LINK CSOs are catalysts for this change.