“Incredible villages of Ukraine 2022”. Winners of the competition supported by NL Embassy in Ukraine
During 5 months of war the villages-finalists of the competition experienced a lot: from occupation and shelling to accommodating and creating new jobs for hundreds of refugees. Three villages from the Northern, Southern and Western part of Ukraine won the prizes from the Netherlands Embassy.
On July 28 the final hearing of the all-Ukrainian competition “Incredible villages of Ukraine 2022” took place. Representatives of the 10 finalist villages presented their business ideas to develop rural areas of Ukraine.
The expert jury evaluated the projects according to the criteria: response to actual needs or rural communities, feasibility and competitiveness, contribution to sustainable development goals. This competition is run by AgroPortal.ua and for already 4 years has been supported by the Netherlands Embassy in Ukraine. This year the partner of competition is also the NGO Institute of Partnership and Sustainable Development.
The winning team was the community of the village Troyandove from Odesa oblast (South of Ukraine). The village inhabitants grow and sell more than million rootstocks of roses a year, but they believe they can make more. The community will buy equipment for processing rose petals , will register and promote their new brand “The Rose Kingdom”.
Second prize winner, village Kvasy from Zakarpattya oblast (Western Part of Ukraine) will purchase a cooling milk tank to collect milk from the individual farmers located in the remote mountain areas of Yasinya territorial community. Milk will be tested and delivered to the small cheese factory in the village.
Third prize winner - Tupychiv community in Chernihiv oblast (Northern part of Ukraine). They will launch a small bakery to supply for the needs of the neighboring villages. Since the start of the war in the regions located near the front line, small bakeries are the only solution for ensuring food security, as big bakeries experience logistic, personnel and supply shortages.
The prize fund of the competition is not sufficient to cover all the costs of the winning projects and the villages are open for co-financing.
The NGO Institute of Partnership and Sustainable Development awarded special nomination to the community of the village Nova Sloboda of Sumy oblast producing and will purchase some of the herbal teas that they plan to produce, and will deliver them to the internally displaced persons in the village Pokrovske, Dnipropetrovsk oblast, another finalist, who work to create a training center for bee-keeping.
The other proposals of the finalists were targeted at joining forces to improve the well-being of small farmers and included setting up the freezing of berries, processing fruits and milk, and improving logistics of farm products. The video of the presentations is available online (in Ukrainian).
“I have always admired Ukrainian villages and their inhabitants. Rural areas are not just about agriculture, delicious food, beautiful nature, and beautiful tourist places that everyone should visit, the village is the core of the nation, powerful in its people and communities.
During the war, the Ukrainian village gained new significance. Ukrainian border villages were the first to meet the enemies. After the terrible occupation and destruction due to active hostilities, the villages are facing a long process of reconstruction. Unfortunately, the occupation of the southern and eastern territories continues.
In the occupied territories, the inhabitants of Ukrainian villages were and remain the only suppliers of food to the cities. Ukrainian villages in the controlled territories are constantly receiving an influx of refugees who are forced to relocate due to the dangerous situation in their region.
According to my observations, rural communities gather people and almost no one stays uninvolved . The villagers work tirelessly not only to feed themselves but also to help those in need. In the villages, people undoubtedly have a close connection with their land, it is difficult for them to leave their homes, even the elderly and women show heroic resilience and courage.
I would say that the extreme conditions in which Ukrainians now live, strengthen the sense of unity and promote cooperation. I am proud that the communities of villages that in previous years received awards from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ukraine in the competition "Incredible Villages of Ukraine" set a good example to others.
In the Netherlands, many times I heard people admire the way Ukrainians unite, take the initiative and act as one. I believe that this unity will be the driving force behind the country's reconstruction. The population of many rural communities has increased due to internally displaced persons, and this may be an impetus for the development of old and new projects.
The well-being and support of rural community initiatives is one of the main reasons for me to support the "Incredible Villages of Ukraine" contest. I believe that the Ukrainian village has a real soul, strength and preserves the culture of the Ukrainian people.”
The competition "Incredible Villages of Ukraine 2022" was held by Agroportal this year under the slogan of sustainable development. The main partner is the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ukraine, the educational partner is the NGO "Institute of Partnership and Sustainable Development".
In total, Agroportal received 120 applications before a full-scale war and 90 - after the start of hostilities on the territory of Ukraine. Before the war, the residents of Ivano-Frankivsk and Luhansk regions were the most active in submitting applications, and after the start of the war - residents of Chernihiv Oblast. The most popular theme of projects submitted to the competition was production of dried products.