Making schools warmer: joint EU-UNDP project contributes to comfortable study conditions in Khmelnitsky region

Manachyn village school renovated due to EU support
Manachyn village school renovated due to EU support

Pupils of the Manachyn village school, Khmelnitsky region, have benefited from more comfortable learning conditions after they had their old school windows replaced with energy-efficient ones due to EU support. An indispensable pre-condition for warm and healthy studying in cold winter, the replacement was made a reality thanks to the EU-UNDP Community Based Approach to Local Development Programme.

“The final result surprised me,” says Roman Skeba, the village school director and the head of the local civil organisation, Obriy, which is engaged in the project. Replacing the windows made the school premises much warmer, he says, adding that the project used more expensive windows that help save more energy. Skeba admits, moreover, that thanks to new windows, the school managed to substantially decrease gas consumption and save up to UAH 35,000 (about € 3,500).

Built in 1932, the Manachyn village school badly needed new heating solutions. The new windows increased thermal isolation and warmed the school to an interior temperature of about 17°C in winter, much more comfortable than the 5-6°C the students were accustomed to.

Roman Serba, Manachyn school director, shows that new windows make classes warmer
Roman Serba, Manachyn school director, shows that new windows make classes warmer

Ihor Klepach, the coordinator of the project in Khmelnitsky region, confirms that the initiative has been highly cost-efficient. “New technologies helped us save half of the funds committed in the local budget during the first heating period,” he stressed, adding that in four or five years, the whole project value (UAH 180,000; €16,300) will be paid off in energy savings. Roman Skeba adds that the school earlier used 12,000-13,000 cubic meters of gas for heating per month, but thanks to the new windows, it decreased its consumption to between 8,000 and 9,000 cubic metres.

Residents of the village also co-financed the initiative, contributing their own money to the new windows. Even though they were sceptical at the beginning that anybody would care about their school, the 78 new windows proved that the EU-UNDP initiative was a success. It facilitated better learning conditions, making schoolrooms warmer and pupils healthier, and also contributed to substantial energy and cost savings.

Background

In total, over 1,100 Ukrainian communities and 1.2 million citizens have benefited from the EU-UNDP Community Based Approach to Local Development Programme since its launch in 2007. With a total budget of €30 million, it has rebuilt health centres, installed street lighting, provided school buses, replaced windows in schools and hospitals and ensured a supply of clean water. This has all been done with the support of organised local community groups, using social mobilisation tools to bring together local communities and local authorities for joint decision-making, cost sharing, implementation of community projects, and the establishment of sustainable and transparent mechanisms of local governance.

For more information please visit the website of the Community-based approach to local development project

Ihor Zapadenko, Khmelnytskyi-Volochysk