"A modern woman is not only a housewife and a mother. The modern woman has her own voice”. Conversation with Oksana Repka
Oksana Repka is the head of the financial department of the Konstantinovka village council of the Kherson region.
Every woman is a personality, and she has the right to realize her potential. By my example, I want to prove that we, women, have this right and can do a lot, despite family responsibilities. If you have purpose, potential and perseverance, you will succeed. I believe that these character traits helped me to involve the women of our Kostiantynivka community in the implementation of valuable projects.
My husband and I grow passion fruit and figs, this is our family business, but every morning at 7:30 I drive 30 km to get to the village council and fulfill my job responsibilities. I like my job because I understand that a modern woman is not only a housewife and a mother. The modern woman has a voice, knows the needs of other women, and can take part in making important decisions in her community.
The decentralization reform in Ukraine has been going on for several years. As a result, our community includes 9 settlements, different in population, social facilities and infrastructure development. All this time we have been cooperating with the UN-Women project “UN Women Project “Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment through Decentralization Reform of Ukraine”.
The knowledge we gained during the trainings from UN Women helped us to look at the processes in a new way. During this period, we changed the approach to budgeting, developed a gender profile. Now, before planning irregular expenses, we do a mini-study. We now take the gender component into account in our programs.
For this, 4 working groups were created in areas that included representatives of public organizations, people with disabilities, deputies and other categories of residents. This allowed taking into account as many opinions as possible about improving the service of various target groups. As a result, we will be able to meet their needs as much as possible and cover all areas.
The small number of students in the classroom and the absence of teachers in some subjects forced us to optimize educational institutions. So, in order to provide quality educational services, we closed two primary schools and merged three into one pivotal institution with two branches. These managerial decisions of the administration and the deputies were not easy, because in each settlement during the discussion it was necessary to convince the residents of the effectiveness of such a step.
During the pandemic, not all children had the opportunity to study online. Therefore, we studied the needs of large and low-income families, and found that not everyone has access to education due to the lack of the Internet and gadgets. This problem was solved with the help of the UNDP Project - tablets were purchased for children. And now about 90% of rural schoolchildren are provided with everything they need for online learning.
In the process of participating in the UN Women Project “Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment through Decentralization Reform of Ukraine”, we realized that we need to build a dialogue and talk about gender equality, starting from school and kindergarten. It is necessary to provide information to children and their parents so that they understand the uniqueness of each person, regardless of gender and social status.
To implement the gender component, we are introducing practical cases. And my task is to find programs and partners who will help to put them into practice. Thus, the public organization “Poruch” helped to implement methods of interactive work with various community members, contributing to the creation of such a form of cooperation as a forum-theater.
The forum-theater methodology is aimed at solving the social problems of citizens of different vulnerable groups: relations between family members, representatives of different cultures, religions, the problems of HIV-infected people, people with disabilities, etc. During the performance, where each spectator is a participant, there is a joint search solving the problem. This has proven to be an extremely effective method and an enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
Another implemented case, socially significant for the community, is the creation of the municipal institution “Center for Social Services”.
To study the needs of residents for social services and the ability of the community to provide them, we conducted a survey of providers and recipients of services.
Of the nine settlements, only five were covered by social services. Transport was necessary so that people could receive equal social services. And we managed to buy it on a partnership basis through participation in the UNDP project. Currently, the community implements social services of various directions in all villages of the community.
I want to emphasize that all these and other not mentioned initiatives were not easy to implement, because sometimes you had to neglect your personal time to achieve the goal. However, it was a joy for me, because the realization of each proposed and implemented project is a joint work of a team of specialists of our village council, led by the head of the community, Oleksiy Kilderov. We (and I personally) are not going to stop there
The material was prepared within the framework UN Women Project “Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment through Decentralization Reform of Ukraine” funded by Global Affairs of Canada.