More than 900 participants completed the online course “International Cooperation for Communities” by Cities4Cities United4Ukraine

The intensive online course International Cooperation for Communities, organized by the Cities4Cities United4Ukraine initiative in partnership with SALAR International, was a step forward for Ukrainian communities in understanding and implementing international cooperation. More than 900 participants completed the week-long training, and 572 of them received a certificate of successful completion.

The Cities4Cities United4Ukraine team is impressed by the large-scale engagement of Ukrainian municipal leaders.

“Every day we saw 900 names online from communities from all over Ukraine. This means one thing – Ukrainian communities are very open to international cooperation and understand its importance,” summarizes Svitlana Blinova, coordinator of the Cities4Cities United4Ukraine initiative. She adds: “The team of our initiative is ready to help Ukrainian communities follow this path, which we are already doing together. The first steps that communities should take in this direction are to create an English-language profile on our website; create their own calendar of European events for the year and present a priority project for the community. At the same time, we should not forget about our superpower, because partnership is always about bilateral cooperation. Ukrainian communities are now concentrating important experience for the world: resilience, courage, flexibility.”

On January 15-19, the online course taught the tools for developing intermunicipal partnerships: from searching to cooperation with twin cities; considered practical aspects of working with projects, learned about the possibilities of European programs, and analyzed successful examples of cooperation. 

“Usually, people talk about and show successful cases, but they don’t share the “inner workings” and don’t tell how they achieved the result. In this course, on the contrary, all the speakers share the answer to the question “how?”,” shares her impressions Lilia Skalozub, participant of the online course, manager of the Shabiv community in Odesa Oblast.

In particular, there were discussions about the peculiarities of international cooperation for communities from the occupied territories. During her lecture, Natalia Petrenko, head of the Shulhyne rural community (Luhansk Oblast), emphasized that she had already signed the first partnership agreements, and that the Cities4Cities | United4Ukraine initiative had provided significant support and self-confidence:

“When Cities4Cities United4Ukraine sent their first emails to us, I filled out an application. We had an online meeting with the team and we got so excited about forming a profile of the community and its needs that I still have this belief that everything will be fine and we will soon return home.

We are also establishing partnerships within Ukraine. This is a guarantee for the occupied communities that in the future it will be possible to quickly establish international cooperation. In particular, it is a great opportunity for both to have reinforcement and prepare joint applications for demining or energy efficiency projects, including each other as beneficiaries.”

Photo by: Roman Baluk
Photo by: Roman Baluk

Cities4Cities United4Ukraine are partnership initiatives that joined forces in September 2022. The project helps Ukrainian communities establish inter-municipal partnerships with municipalities in Europe. Cities4Cities was founded by the city of Sindelfinden (Germany) under the auspices of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. United4Ukraine was launched by SALAR International and the city of Lviv (Ukraine) with the support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). Strategic partners: Association of Ukrainian Cities, All-Ukrainian Association of Amalgamated Territorial Communities.