Paving the Path to Rebuild Ukraine: IOM and UPOL's Specialized Course Wraps Up

To empower Ukrainian nationals living in Czechia with the skills and knowledge needed for the future reconstruction and development of Ukraine, IOM Czechia and Palacký University in Olomouc (UPOL), launched a specialized course on post-conflict reconstruction. The program, held over three months, concluded recently with 28 participants receiving certificates for their completion.

Barbora Frličková, the course coordinator from the Department of Development and Environmental Studies at UPOL, described the initiative: "This course focused on post-conflict recovery and reconstruction, aimed at qualified refugees from Ukraine. These individuals are expected to contribute to Ukraine's reconstruction and development once the war ends. We conducted the course over weekends, offering different subjects each day."

The Need for the Program

Petr Karban, head of the Labor and Integration Department at IOM Czechia, explained the rationale behind the program: "We recognized that there are many Ukrainians in Czechia with education or experience relevant to post-conflict reconstruction. It seemed crucial to use this time to enhance their skills and better prepare them for roles in Ukraine's future reconstruction. Although the timeline for Ukraine’s recovery remains uncertain, we believe continuing education and engagement are vital."

The collaboration between IOM and UPOL was sparked by a shared commitment to support Ukraine. "IOM approached us due to our focus on development studies. We wanted to assist in Ukraine’s recovery, and gladly agreed to join the project," added Frličková.

Course Content and Structure

The course provided a comprehensive curriculum, integrating UPOL's academic expertise with practical insights from IOM’s experiences in similar projects worldwide during the final course run. That included also live online participation of experts of IOM Ukraine. Karban elaborated: "Our aim was to offer a broader perspective and deliver deeper insights on how such projects are managed globally. We collaborated with colleagues in Ukraine to ensure that the content was relevant and practical."

Participant Experiences

Valerii, one of the course participants, shared his motivations and reflections: "I have been involved in volunteer activities since my studies in Ukraine and continued in Czechia. One of the most useful skills and knowledge I have obtained has been the expertise to write and implement grants. This course was incredibly beneficial, more so than similar courses I took in Ukraine, particularly because it focused on EU-supported projects. I am now better equipped to contribute to my country's recovery."

Similarly, Svitlana, another participant, emphasized the course’s impact on her professional growth: "I learned about the course through a Facebook group for Ukrainians in Hradec Králové. With a background in economics and management, this course provided me with valuable insights and practical knowledge. The organization was highly professional, and the information was immensely enriching."

Outcomes and Future Prospects

The feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive. "Participants have given us very positive feedback. From the faculty’s perspective, we are also very pleased to have been involved. Teaching qualified individuals with significant experience was enriching for the instructors as well," noted Frličková.

Looking ahead, both IOM and UPOL see the potential for expanding and continuing the program. Not only there might be a possibility to equip even more people with the knowledge and skills these courses can offer, but the cooperation with participants could also continue with global projects through internships or other means.

The course on post-conflict reconstruction and development, a joint effort by UPOL and IOM Czechia, stands as a significant step towards preparing Ukrainians for the monumental task of rebuilding their homeland. The successful completion of the program by 28 participants marks a promising beginning, with aspirations for future courses and continued collaboration to further develop and utilize the skills of these dedicated individuals.