“Community reBuilding” project by Cedos and Western NIS Enterprise Fund, which aims to create 10 community building centers in hromadas won at the New European Bauhaus Prizes 2024.

Photo: NEB Prizes 2024

The competition is organised annually by the European Commission to find innovative ideas in the field of architecture, design and urbanism. Its goal is to identify initiatives that will be helpful for the development of local communities and society as a whole. This year, Ukraine took part in the competition for the first time. Out of more than 500 participants, 4 projects from Ukraine are on the shortlist.

The “Community reBuilding” project won the “Rising Stars” nomination in the category “Prioritizing places and people that need it the most” among projects from all countries of the European Union and the Western Balkans. This is evidence that Ukrainian ideas can be the best at the European level. Ukrainians can not only learn from the process of European integration, but also be those who share their experience.

Two more Ukrainian projects, “Nad Dzherelom” and “Leo States”, won in this year’s special category “Special Recognition to Ukraine’s Reconstruction and Recovery Effort prize”. All the winners were announced on 12 April at the New European Bauhaus Fest in Brussels.

“Community reBuilding” is a project to develop community building centers in 10 Ukrainian hromadas with a population of up to 100,000. As part of the project, hromadas received grants of UAH 1,000,000 each from the Western NIS Enterprise Fund and Cedos, as well as mentoring support from experts in various fields to create and develop such centers.

Ukraine is fighting for freedom and democracy. We have set a course for fundamental changes, so we must make sure that no one is left behind. To do this, we need a strong civil society that will express the interests of different social groups and have access to policymaking. Thus, we need an infrastructure that promotes social cohesion. Community centers are a great example of such infrastructure.

Maryna Bakaienko, Cedos project manager

Community building centers are accessible spaces where people from different social groups have the opportunity to come together for leisure activities, community development, cooperation and the full realisation of their human potential. The centers were created on the basis of a library, a veterans’ space, a cultural center, a 100-year-old khata-mazanka, an old pharmacy building, etc.

Our project won at the New European Bauhaus Prizes! But it’s cool even without the award. I came up with the idea to Cedos, we gathered a great team, incredible mentors, and selected 10 hromadas (out of more than 300), and then a lot of work in the hromadas with the support of the Western NIS Enterprise Fund. And now some of the community building centers are already working, others are opening in April, and there are, unfortunately, some that had to be suspended due to missile attacks. That is why even award events become a platform for calling for the support for Ukraine.

Iryna Ozymok, Western NIS Enterprise Fund Local Economic Development Director

As of today, four of the ten centers have already been officially opened and are working in the hromadas.

In particular, a community building center based on a 100-year-old khata-mazanka was opened at the Krasnokutska hromada. The purpose of the space is to engage the potential of local traditions to build social cohesion in the hromada, promote living heritage and develop initiatives important for post-war recovery.

A center for the support and reintegration of veterans was created in the Nizhynska hromada. This is a place where veterans are provided with comprehensive assistance in returning to civilian life.

In the Odeska oblast, the Dobroslavska hromada opened a community building center called “DobroHub: Space of Happy People”. It is a place where people come together for recreation, cooperation and personal development.

In the frontline Snihurivska hromada in Mykolaivska oblast, a community building center was opened in the small village of Yevhenivka to provide people from different social groups with the opportunity to meet and support each other and develop their creative potential.

In the near future, community building centers will be opened in the other seven hromadas of the project.