What is needed for successful and sustainable development of any territorial community? The societies that have made great progress in recent decades have found the answer to this question long time ago. Their recipe for success involves, among other things, the awareness of citizens and the right of everyone to participate in the life of the community of their native shore. As it is known, awareness is provided by access to information about the immediate needs of the community and the ways of meeting them. Today we would like to talk about one initiative that is centred on a competent and active citizen.

These days, one of the main issues of our region is environment nature degradation, since our existence depends on its condition. There is another not less issue – ignorance, social pessimism and general apathy. The citizens do not feel themselves as creators of their own future, have little interest of the local issues and are slow at taking social responsibility. “Out of nothing, nothing comes” and no one is surprised that we have had no progress for years.

Like in other corners of Bessarabia, in the Horodne Territorial Community people realize all the forsakenness of the inertial way of life of the last decades. Recently, a sociological pool of citizens was conducted here as a part of the project “Together we shall preserve the clean environment of our native shore!”. Local residents responded the questions on whether they consider environmental issues of their area a priority and indicated the topics they considered most sensitive.

For example, they are concerned about the degree of pollution and degradation of their home region, the lack of greenery and proper waste disposal. They consider environmental issues to be central, they want to receive relevant information from local managers in a timely manner, and they want to be sure that environmental protection is on the right level. It is also important that the majority of responders acknowledge their responsibility in preserving the natural environment.

By means of such a poll it became possible to clarify the list of the urgent community needs. And now it is time for real actions. By the way, the implementation of the project followed the winning at the competition of the “Support of local initiative in Ukraine” projects.

In the coming weeks, in Horodne Territorial Community the main and the practical part starts. Twenty “ambassadors” – educators who will be responsible for raising awareness among their fellow villagers on the unexpected aspects of environmental issues will go through the training. Alas, compared to other Europeans, we have not yet learned to see the consequences of our actions in the life of the natural environment.

In addition, there will be a landscaping campaign: to begin with, the project participants will plant 150 pine seedlings here. The list of planned activities includes the development of a strategy and a draft programme for the environmental protection of the Horodne community. According to the authors of the initiative, the project would be incomplete without the involvement of local citizens. It is hoped that over a hundred participants will be involved. A pilot project to restore the forest in Horodne is also being prepared. A Memorandum on the protection of the environment will be signed by the participating civil organizations.

The manager of the project “Together we shall preserve the clean environment of our native shore”, Mrs. Stoykova specified that the final goal of the initiative of the Horodne village, namely, restoration of the environment, shall be met by means of “activation”, engagement of the local people in solutions taking and via implementation of the local initiatives.

It is essential to help the local public figures, activists broaden the horizons of their environmental competence and to encourage civic and charitable organizations to address relevant issues and prepare policy and strategy documents.

“Time management” – planning and deadlines meeting – is an indispensable attribute of any serious undertaking. The project in Horodne has its own timeframe: it will be implemented by June.

It should be added that the project is coordinated by Mr. Konstantinov and implemented by the Bessarabia Development Centre Public Organization in partnership with Horodne village council.

The total budget is UAH 42,130. It includes a grant of UAH 27,940 and the organizers’ own funds of UAH 14,190. The project is implemented under the financial support of the Lion Society (Lviv, Ukraine) funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (Washington DC, USA).