By Brian Russell
The program offers rural Ukrainians the opportunity to apply for a grant of up to $25,000 to help them develop a program that provides educational opportunities, community empowerment, or small business development.
Julia Tiroshko, coordinator of the program, said the goal is to award funds to the best projects, which will make use of the most effective use of the grant funds and will meet the requirements of sustainability.
“The program has been very well received so far,” Tiroshko said. “We received 573 initial applications, which are now reviewed in the first stage, and in the second stage preselected applications will be judged by a panel of regional Monsanto leaders and outside experts, including representatives of Ukrainian agrarian holding, CSR NGO and Ministry of agrarian policy.”
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), charity funds and socially active citizens were eligible to apply for the program. The winning applications will be declared in Feb., with fund allocation beginning in March.
Projects that applied to receive the grant included social problem such as: repairs in schools, kindergartens, libraries, hospitals; bringing computers into schools; installation of playgrounds, football fields, and sports grounds. Also, leadership development programs, legal education, and training to start a small business programs also applied.
“We want to push villagers to think about their community, and to start feeling that they can improve their situation themselves as opposed to waiting for a handout,” Tiroshko said. “We want to empower these people to take control of their situation and find a way to make things better. We want them to be able to improve their lives.”