With water, community life returns to Yerkivtsi

13:10, 24 May 2012
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Back in 2008-09, the 1057-soul village of Yerkivtsi, at some 70 kilometers from Kyiv, faced a paralysis because of the break-down of several parts of its water pipe network, according to KyivWeekly. A few years later, water flows again to homes and with it, community life has come back to the village, Sebastian Gobert wrote in a KW article this week.

“Due to economic shortages of the last years of USSR and first years of independent Ukraine, the infrastructure of the water distribution system was not duly maintained. That led to the current huge losses in the transmission system. The same goes for electricity, heating and hot water. Most of the settlements in Ukraine don`t have centrally-provided heating in winter. Back in the USSR, this would not have been thinkable,” Serhiy Volkov, Senior Programme Manager at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

In spring 2008, several parts of the village`s 30 year-old water pipe network break down and start leaking significantly, which left dozens of homes without water. The inhabitants of Yerkivtsi organized as a community association “Vira-2008” made of 67 volunteers, divide responsibilities and competences among themselves and apply for funding to a UNDP/EU Community-Based Approach project (CBA).

The fixing of a few water pipes has initiated a much broader dynamics and reorganized the local community life. Every new project is discussed in village gatherings. Kateryna Kondratenko considers it the most important impact: “We spend a lot of time at the community center. We do not live only for ourselves but for each other, to improve each others` lives. That is why our heart is warmer and that we trust in the future.”

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