It was a plus that this conference was held in Zatoka (a small town on the coat of the Black Sea). But, that did not take away from the work we went there to accomplish. There were about 20 participants from around Ukraine who assembled to plan the partnership’s activities for the next 2 years. Luckily, I was invited to be a part of this process.
In the beginning of the conference it was rapidly noticeable that there would only be so much I could do to help. Nevertheless, there were opportunities which I seized in order to contribute to the strategic planning process. For instance, on the second and third day we broke out into small groups.
In this small group atmosphere I was able to work with my colleagues and contribute to the information which was being placed into the strategic plan. I even debated in Ukrainian. I surprised myself at times with the efficiency of our work even though our linguistic capabilities were limited. We were able to create a plausible strategic plan around three goals.
First, we developed a strategy for an online illustration instrument which increases transparency in local budget. Second, we created a plan which would re-manufacture our monitoring questionnaire in order to simplify the requests and increase the transparency of local budgets. Lastly, we created a plan, to finalize our strategic plan.
Time will tell whether these plans come to fruition. Most of these goals end after my last day as a volunteer. However, this new awareness of my finite time in Ukraine acted as Popeye’s Spinach in my system. I need to get working because my stint is running out quicker than I thought.
*These are the thoughts of Richard J. Roman and do not directly reflect the ideals of the Peace Corps or its affiliates.