Mezhova Territorial Community
The Mezhova Settlement Territorial Community is located in the territory of the Synelnykove district, Dnipropetrovsk region.
The total area of the territory is 630 km².
Population: 14,646 people
The Community includes 30 population centres: 2 urban-type settlements and 28 villages. The administrative centre is located in Mezhova. The community is situated in the far east of Dnipropetrovsk region and borders the Donetsk, Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia regions.
The Mezhova Settlement Territorial Community was established in 2017.
The villages of the Community are located on the territory of ancient sites. This is confirmed by the Scythian mounds along the Vovcha River.
The Community’s territory was possessed by the free-spirited and courageous Zaporizhzhia Cossacks in the mid-16th century. The first Cossack winter villages were created here. The main occupations were farming, bee-keeping, hunting, and fishing.
There are 111 archaeological sites and 26 historical monuments registered and protected by the state on the territory of the Mezhova Territorial Community. All of them are of local importance.
Almost 9 thousand people lived in the village of Ivanivka at the end of the 18th century. The peasants were quite wealthy. There were four schools: two zemstvo and two parish schools. The community meeting decided to build another school – a college.
The villagers were engaged in auxiliary works during the construction of the school in addition to the contractor. Each family was obliged to work 5 days a year with their own equipment and tools.
In 1996, the Ivanivka school was awarded the status of the 19th-century architectural monument.
It takes more than a day to walk along the historical paths in Ivanivka. The Intercession Church is one of the places where many interesting stories are concentrated.
There are historical buildings in Ivanivka dated from the late 18th century. Unfortunately, these historical buildings are being gradually wrecked. The authorities are currently unable to raise funds to save them.
The church in Ivanivka is certainly one of the oldest in the Mezhova Community. It was built in 1840 at the expense of the villagers. The building is made of sandstone rubble. The windows’ bars were forged by local blacksmiths. The church was slightly modified in 2006, but the original composition has been preserved. The church reflects the architectural traditions of the Left-bank Ukraine of the 17th and 18th centuries. It is an example of mature classicism. The stucco moulding and painting fragments have been preserved in the interior.
The Soviet era was the most terrible period in the church’s history. The authorities organized a real terror during this period. The bell tower and the upper floor were dismantled. The church was turned into a granary, then into a mill. Considerable parts were disassembled and remelted. The reconstruction of the church began in 2002, and it became functional again in 2004. This church needs to be repaired and recognized as an architectural monument.
There is an outpatient clinic across the street from the church. Built in 1892, it is a former building of the volost government. The building also housed a library, which was deported from St. Petersburg for revolutionary activities. Various village meetings were often held in the library. That is why the population called this building “Zbornia” (meeting-room). A jail, a veterinary hospital, and a parish school were located in the same courtyard before the revolution in 1917. In 1923, the village elected a new authority – the Council of Peasants’ and Workers’ Deputies.
In 1924, the Ivanivka Inpatient Hospital was opened in this building.
Today, the building needs to be renovated and recognized as an architectural monument.
The highest mound “Vedun” is located at the entrance to Ivanivka from the direction of Havrylivka. Its height is 7 meters and its area is 0.5560 hectares. It was Nestor Makhno who named this mound. According to the legend, Makhno used to ride on his horse and admire the beauty of the surrounding nature from this high mound. It was a viewpoint and a marker of his father’s village location.
The well is another interesting historical landmark located not far from the church. Villagers called it the “church well”. It is made of sandstone rubble to a depth of 25 meters. It was dug at the time when the church was being constructed. This amazing spring is another village relic. According to the legend, when activists came to take away icons, silverware, gold and other valuable items during the collectivization period, the priest threw many ceremonial items into the well – even his large golden cross.
The water is very tasty, and its chemical composition is the best in the village. People from all over the village take water from it. It attracts tourists. The army of Budyonny, Shchuts’ and Lantsov’s troops stationed here. Also, Nestor Makhno himself stopped over here with his army to drink water from this spring. This well has been known since the 19th century. This historic building needs to be renovated and recognized as an architectural monument.
Economy and Welfare
There are about 500 business entities in the community.
Agriculture is a predominant industry here and has the following structure: crop production – 98%, animal husbandry – 2%. Agricultural land area is 55,685.4 hectares. Agricultural enterprises use 30,997 hectares of cultivated land.
Elevators with a storage capacity of 40,000 and 20,200 tons operate in the community to store grain.
Community and War
The Mezhova Territorial Community is located near the front-line. So the full-scale Russian military aggression has become a serious challenge for the neighbourhood. Development processes slowed down and triggered the crisis in many spheres.
Agriculture, municipal services, civil defence, and food security faced the most serious challenges.
Employees of the executive committee of the Settlement Council, education, culture, healthcare, and social facilities are currently working on urgent issues which include residents’ safety and security, support to the army, and assistance to people who fled the war.
There are three centres for the reception and distribution of humanitarian aid, two points of invincibility, and 12 heating points in the community. The Centre for Social Services is responsible for receiving, housing and providing psychological support to the internally displaced persons. Enthusiastic residents engage in volunteering.
The Community prioritizes war-related projects and issues: reconstruction of housing for people who lost their homes during the war; arrangement of civil defence facilities; supporting families of fallen heroes of the war; providing conditions for medical facilities; and expanding municipal services for a considerable number of IDPs (3,500 people).
The Community has changed the focus of its international cooperation. Ongoing dialogues are now concentrated mainly on ensuring the functioning of the critical infrastructure. They also involve attracting aid and humanitarian supplies for the armed forces, IDPs, and citizens in difficult life situations during the war.
Volodymyr Zrazhevskyi was elected as Settlement Head of Mezhova in October 2015. He was elected as Head of the Mezhova Settlement Territorial Community In October 2017 and re-elected in October 2020.
The head of the Territorial Community implemented the following projects in cooperation with the U-LEAD with Europe Programme:
- “Establishment of an Administrative Services Centre” (providing furniture, office equipment, and software);
– “Mobile Administrative Services Centre” (the mobile office to improve the administrative services quality; FORD bus with two equipped workplaces and an ID card reader);
- Development of capable educational networks in united territorial communities (implemented by the Kyiv School of Economics with the support of the U-LEAD with Europe Programme);
- Support of United Territorial Communities in the fight against the COVID-19 (Project of the International Charitable Foundation Caritas Ukraine with the support of U-LEAD with Europe. Personal protective equipment for medical facilities was received).
- “Community for People: increasing the community’s ability to develop social services” (together with the international charitable organization “Partnership “For Every Child”. The project provided opportunities to define the system of social support and social protection; to determine priorities for social services development depending on the community’s needs; to implement new methods and technologies of social work);
- “Integrated Spatial Planning” for United Territorial Communities” (with the support of CANactionc School for Urban Studies, the community developed the concept of UTC spatial development using both strategic design and integrated approach);
- “Energy Efficiency in Communities II” (the project is being implemented together with GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Within this project the energy monitoring software was purchased to control energy consumption by facilities; energy audits of 2 buildings were conducted; specialists were trained; and an energy manager equipment set was obtained);
- The community received personal protective equipment for medical facilities as part of the Humanity and Mutual Assistance project implemented by the International Renaissance Foundation, the Lithuanian Embassy, and the NGO Eleos Ukraine;
- USAID’s Agricultural and Rural Development Support Program (AGRI). The Mezhova Community was among the three leaders in the Dnipropetrovsk region and among the ten leaders in Ukraine who participated in this Program and received the project grant. A cartography multilayer database for land management needs of the Mezhova UTC was created using ArcGIS software. The following sketch-maps were developed:
а) Sketch-map of current land use in the Mezhova Community
- b) Sketch-map of prospective land use in the Mezhova Community
- c) Sketch-map of land use restrictions in the Mezhova Community
- d) Sketch-map of planned activities for the efficient land use and protection in the Mezhova Community
- e) Participative territory planning scheme of the Mezhova Community
- The Economic Profile of the Mezhova Community was developed in cooperation with the Kyiv School of Economics. A centre for social and household services was founded. It includes a sewing and shoe workshop.
- Within the framework of the memorandum between the executive committee of the Mezhova Settlement Council and the German Agency for International Cooperation GIZ GmbH, the following projects were implemented:
- “Support for Territorial Communities of Ukraine regarding the increased number of internally displaced persons” (day care unit was established in one of the municipal facilities; equipment for the medical centre and for the children and youth art centre was purchased.
- Rehabilitation equipment and bicycles for social workers were provided to a social services centre under the project “Strengthening Resources for Sustainable Development of Host Communities in Eastern Ukraine”.
- Equipment for the Mezhova Primary Health Care Centre was received under the project “Successful rehabilitation and health improvement of the population of the Mezhova Community in the physiotherapy room at the Mezhova Primary Health Care Centre”.
- The project “Strengthening the public health system towards prevention of infectious diseases in communities” is being implemented by the public association “Academy of Family Medicine of Ukraine” with the support of the Federal Government of Germany through GIZ. In its framework, the community’s primary and secondary health care facilities received cold chain equipment to implement new storage and transportation methods for immunobiological substances.
- Through participation in the Ukrainian-Swiss EGAP program, the Single Platform for Local Electronic Democracy (E-DEM) Project, the platform’s services are used providing citizens with easy and convenient access to several e-democracy tools.
- Within the project “Modernization of the Social Support System of Ukraine” of the Ministry of Social Policy and supported by the World Bank, 6 sets of equipment with operating systems and office software were received.
- In 2021, the community was selected for the project “Acting for Health”, launched in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. Its goal is to implement a school-wide health promotion approach according to the objectives of the National Strategy for Building Health and Safe Environment in the New Ukrainian School.
- Supported by the Charles Stewart Mott International Foundation, the Community received expert assistance in developing the local Safety Passport Programme. It is the first step to a comfortable life in the Community not only in terms of law and order, but also in quality healthcare, legal protection, eco-friendly surroundings, illuminated streets, etc. In addition, a vehicle for a community policeman was obtained.
The NGO “Krok U Svit” has focused its work on helping everyone affected by the war, including IDPs, people with disabilities, people in difficult life situations, and families with children. The majority of the organization’s members are teachers and students. Their message today: “There are no somebody else’s children for us, and now there are no somebody else’s problems.”
Hanna Pidpalok, Technical Director of “OptimusAgro Trade” Company, organized an operative shop baking patties for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This initiative is supported by the community residents and businessmen: brothers Ihor and Oleksandr Sorokas, Inna and Oleksii Belyaievs. Farmers supply flour, oil, fruits, vegetables, and sugar. Caring people donate money. 1,000-1,500 patty cakes are sent to our defenders every day! Also, the volunteers baked 800 Easter cakes for them!
A charity fair in support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine organized by young volunteers is a real attraction in Mezhova on weekends. The children’s voices can be heard from far away: “Buy goodies – save the defenders!” “Buy beautiful things – save the defenders!” The kids make everything themselves. Their goal is to help Ukrainian soldiers. They have raised over 23,000 UAH so far, but they will not stop. Incredible Ukrainian children! Sometimes it seems that they are more eager than adults in bringing the Victory closer!
Petro Lyakhovych is the Head of the Association of Farmers of the Mezhova Community. He has supported the 108th brigade of the Territorial Defence Forces since its creation. Farmers, businessmen and active citizens jointly purchased and donated them a vehicle and ensured its further maintenance (spare parts, tires if necessary). Trips to “his guys” (as the volunteer calls them) have become a regular part of Petro’s life. He also transferred donations from three charity concerts organized by the Community’s amateur artists (over UAH 30 thousand) to the brigade. Young volunteers transfer their earnings from “Saturday fairs” (over UAH 23 thousand) and women send various handmade goodies to the defenders.
Lyudmyla Varyukha, Lyudmyla Ishchenko and Svetlana Danilova are the hostesses of the “social wardrobe”. It was organized at the Culture and Recreation Centre of the Mezhova Settlement Council in March 2022. It is a very clean place with a nice atmosphere. Thousands of humanitarian kits have already been distributed! They include shoes, clothes, hygiene products, and underwear. People can also get psychological support here.
Zoya Rybalka from Mezhova started volunteering in spring. She makes trench candles. She has first-hand knowledge of the soldiers’ needs as her husband is currently in the field… So Zoya began to make burners (trench candles) at home with her children. This simple device allows generating light and heat for several hours. These candles are very important for the defenders in cold weather. Autumn is quite wet and rainy this year, thus the demand for them is very high. The volunteer posted a request for help with materials for their manufacture on social media and many people responded. Moreover, there were people ready to help not only with materials. This is how a small production workshop of librarians of Mezhova was launched. They call Zoya their inspiration.
The Community is currently working in the following areas:
- Green energy development.
SOLAR FIELD GROUP Company implements the project for the building of an industrial solar power plant with a capacity of more than 100 MW on the 257 hectares in the Mezhova community.Solar Power Plant in Mezhova with a capacity of more than 100 MW.
The first of five solar power plants was opened in December 2020. It is located on the area of 10.4645 hectares and has an inverter capacity of 5.25 MW.
2. The development of competitive and sustainable agricultural production through the creation of multifunctional cooperatives. Their purpose is the production, processing, storage and distribution of agricultural products.
Work with farmers and individual entrepreneurs to unite efforts for the creation of agricultural cooperatives has begun. This way they become more attractive for traders due to scale effect.
List of Sources
- The strategy
- Implemented projects
- Digital services
- Community’s presentation
- The Mezhova Settlement Council website
- Facebook page of the Mezhova Settlement Council
- Instagram page of the Mezhova Settlement Council
- YouTube channel of the Mezhova Settlement Council
- Facebook page of the settlement head
- Demurino starosta-headed district
- Vesele starosta-headed district
- Preobrazhenka starosta-headed district
- Novohryhorivka starosta-headed district
- Ivanivka starosta-headed district
- Raipole starosta-headed district
- Ukrainka starosta-headed district
- DIA (UTC profiles are closed)
- Mezhivskyi Meridian website
- Facebook page of Mezhivskyi Meridian
- Educational website of the Mezhova Settlement Council
- Facebook page of the Department of Education, Youth and Sports of the Mezhova Settlement Council
- Facebook page of Primary Health Care Center
- Primary Health Care Centre website
- Central Hospital