EU supports development of Kreminna town in Luhansk region

Fifty kilometers of new water pipes, reconstruction of a pumping station, a pump room with drinking water, new sidewalks and roads are the outcome of an EU grant project in Kreminna, Luhansk region. In addition, the EU and UNDP helped to purchase furniture, equipment and software for the local ASC, as well as donated a mobile ASC to promptly provide quality administrative and social services to the locals. 

Water main for 50 million

One of the largest grant projects and the pride of the local administration is the European Union’s grant “Improving the access to water in Kreminna community victimized by the armed conflict”. The project’s total cost is UAH 53,432 thousand, of which UAH 48,343 thousand is the European Union’s money and the rest was provided by the city council.

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This amount was enough to replace 49.7 km of water supply pipelines (with the maximum pipe diameter of 400 mm), repair 131 water wells, install 32 hydrants, and reconstruct a pumping station.

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They also carried out an information campaign and built a drinking water buvette.

By the way, the information campaign included not only a thematic contest of children’s pictures but also volunteer work on cleaning the banks of the rivers Krasna and Rodnichka.

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And in the places where pipes were replaced, they restored 3240 square meters of sidewalks (tiles and asphalt) and over a thousand square meters of the roadway.

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“Today, we have two pumping stations operating in normal mode. Ruptures do happen, but only in old water mains. They were laid back in the 1950s-1970s. New water mains proved themselves excellently. Thanks to new hydrants, we can shut down water supply, if necessary, only in one part of the city. We also installed a hypochlorite production plant at the pumping station, thus abolishing water chlorination. That’s safer,” Kreminna Mayor Yuri Prokopenko says.

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An ASC like in a regional center

The administrative service center (ASC) in Kreminna, built with funds from the city’s budget, was opened in 2015, when the Cabinet of Ministers transferred this authority to the bodies of local self-government. The EU and UNDP helped purchase furniture, equipment and software. The European Union provided over 1,670 thousand hryvnias. They also gifted a mobile ASC worth UAH 1,530 thousand.

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“We were some of the first in the Luhansk Oblast to start issuing both internal and international passports at an ASC. We made an agreement with Severodonetsk service center, and they are coming to us. So now, you can, for example, register your car here. We have already received the equipment to issue driver’s licenses. Our ASC is like in large cities, such as that very Severodonetsk or Kramatorsk. We were also among the first to receive a mobile ASC. Today, we decided to travel once in a week to the villages that comprise our city to provide services to their residents. In the future, we may sign agreements with other villages as well,” Yuri Prokopenko added.

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Warmth for little kids

International corporation NEFCO also allocated 5,580 thousand hryvnias for an energy saving project at Swallow kindergarten. They insulated the kindergarten’s façade (using the “wet method” of fastening external thermal insulation consisting of mineralized slabs and eco-friendly materials), installed the roofing, and reconstructed the boiler plant.

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“The heating system was bad. Children had to sleep in clothes. In cold winters, the temperature in sleeping rooms was +12. But today, the personnel and the parents cannot be happier. Recently, we again had talks with the same international grantor, and will take out about 20 million. The half of that amount is a grant, and the other half is a 3% loan. Very loyal terms. We have already passed all tender procedures, and are going to install outdoor lighting in 53 streets and insulate Katyusha kindergarten,” Mr. Prokopenko says.

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They will continue working with the grantor. They want to renovate small kindergartens that have just a few groups each.

“When all parties are interested, work goes without a hitch”

And this is just a small fraction of all grant projects. It seems that the mayor could talk about these projects endlessly, and very passionately at that. Everything has begun back in 2015, when they wanted to create an amalgamated community in the Kreminna Raion, but the villages located close to the district center did not want to unite. The administration started to look for other ways of development, and in 2016, they began actively working with international organizations.

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“When international projects just “came” to the region, they invited us to visit various trainings. We did not turn down anything. I attended many of them, ditto my deputies. Afterwards, we trained our specialists. And after that, all you needed to do is to write down a project of yours the right way and send it for review by an international commission. There, representatives of international projects communicate with each other, and they know very well what cities they can work with, cities where people can handle grant moneys without any problems. They even told me: “When we visit your city, we can see that you’re interested in getting a grant, writing a good grant application. But when we come to another city, we see that the mayor doesn’t want anything, and his deputies also; they would just assign to us some chief specialist who doesn’t have a clue about it,” Mr. Prokopenko recalls.

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The work with international grantors has its specifics. These are organization of tender procedures according to separate rules, and the subsequent audit that includes a thorough examination of documents.

“This is a very serious matter, and you have to work on it. There were even instances when international grantors would phone me and say that the fiscal year is ending but they still have some money left. Perhaps you need something? We, of course, would immediately invite them over, and they would know that we’ll be able to utilize the funds. Everything runs smoothly here. When international grantors, local civil society organizations and public authorities are interested in the outcome, everything will be fine,” Mr. Prokopenko sums up.

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By Anastasia Dashkov

Source: Eastern Variant