How to manage projects to benefit Ukraine

Viktoriia Hlushko has been working at the Department for Foreign Economic Activity of the Dnipro Regional State Administration for five years. She is the deputy director of the International Cooperation and Exhibition Department. The department name accurately describes its objectives.

After the start of the full-scale invasion, Viktoriia’s team began to actively communicate with other countries searching for help. The team managed to implement several small projects with their Czech colleagues. But they felt that they lacked experience:

“Our department, including me, needed training. Project management skills are crucial now, and after our victory, they will be even more valuable. So, we decided to broaden our horizons.

Photo: Viktoriia Hlushko (in the center) with partners

It was at this time that East Europe Foundation launched the Recovery and Resilience Program. Its primary purpose is to help Ukrainian civil servants acquire knowledge and develop skills in project management.

Dnipro Oblast became one of the program’s target regions. So, when the DOSA received an official invitation to enrol its employees in the training program, Viktoriia jumped at the chance without any hesitation.

As she recalls, it was an exciting, informative, and useful experience. However, it was not a walk in the park because the information was new to her. She was also short of time, as the workload in the civil service had been constantly increasing. Our heroine, however, greatly appreciated the opportunity to acquire such important knowledge.

During the first two months of the Recovery and Resilience training program, participants were provided with valuable insights from renowned experts in the fields of project management, fundraising, monitoring and evaluation, institutional development, and communications.

Then, they consolidated their newly acquired knowledge by putting it into practice: the civil servants and representatives of regional development agencies had to prepare grant applications. To achieve that, East Europe Foundation team engaged the PMI Ukraine Chapter mentors certified in project management and experts in the non-governmental sector and institutional development in the program.

The participants spent the next two months creating project applications from scratch under the guidance and supervision of experts.

“The mentoring support was very useful. The mentors inspired us and at the same time gave us an opportunity to find solutions and formulate ideas on our own. They pushed us in the right direction. It was not just mentoring support, but teamwork,” Viktoriia recalls admiringly.

Photo: Viktoriia and her mentor, Tetiana Druzenko (on the left)

Our heroine composed her very first application within the scope of the Recovery and Resilience Program, and that task turned out to be both responsible and moving at the same time. She stressed that it had never been done at the DOSA before:

“Drafting projects was exclusively the NGOs’ responsibility. The government acted mainly as a partner in their implementation. That’s why I decided to study. If nobody is doing it, you have to start doing it yourself.”

It did not take long to find an idea for a project. The DOSA keeps receiving letters from local organizations that ask for money for repairs or seek help in finding donor funds. It was those letters that helped Viktoriia find information about several facilities that matched her vision for the first project.

She chose the Pokrovsky Center for Vocational Training and Skill Conversion, located in the city of Pokrov, Dnipro Oblast. The Center acts both as an educational facility and a volunteer hub. Viktoriia immediately realized that the center was the ideal setting to embark on a fresh career in a new field:

“Once I saw the efforts made by that center to support numerous internally displaced persons who found shelter in Pokrov, I understood that they needed help.

Viktoriia recalls how she immediately felt that she was in tune with the center director. The training center used to have a café, which closed down due to the invasion and lack of funds. The director wanted to revive it. Viktoriia was inspired by the same idea. So, they were on the same page.

At some point, they were on the brink of abandoning their project planning effort.

“I got COVID-19 and was hospitalized for three weeks. So, my training and application were no longer a priority to me. I had to restore my health.

Once I recovered, I got swamped with work. There was a moment when I didn’t want to return to the program because I had lost time due to my illness. However, my mentors were very supportive and inspiring at that time, and I am deeply grateful to them for that. They reminded me how important it was to finish the journey I started.

Driven by her mentors, Renata Reshetnikova and Tetiana Druzenko, our heroine was able to develop a grant application and successfully present it during the program’s final event.

Thanks to the project, it will be possible to renovate more than 280 m2 of premises in a municipal educational institution and teach over 400 students using modern equipment. In addition, the volunteer hub and café are expected to have over 600 visitors every month.

“The project is now receiving final touches before we begin looking for the financial support required to ensure its implementation. I have been preparing estimates for repairs and procurement of the equipment, as well as addressing tax and security issues,” says the DOSA employee.

Viktoriia Glushko’s main goal now is to bring the project to a successful conclusion. She will have to find funding, renovate the premises, and create a space for people in Pokrov where they can study and help each other.

Viktoriia also has plans for the future. Her dream is to create a program that would teach local governments, including village councils, how to manage projects.

“I want to spread this knowledge and share it with others. I want people to know that they can improve life around them,” she concludes.


The Recovery and Resilience Program was executed by East Europe Foundation, funded by the Federal Government of Germany and supported by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

The program objective was to help public servants improve their project management competencies. The program was attended by approximately 40 representatives from regional state administrations, municipalities, and regional development agencies across Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Dnipro, Chernivtsi, and Zakarpattia Oblasts.