Successful IRC Civil Society Program in Russia Closes
Through Vmeste, the IRC worked with four local NGOs and 15 communities in the republics of North Ossetia, Ingushetia and Chechnya – with a total 49 projects designed and managed by community members. The program was funded by Irish Aid and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Magamed Umkhaev, the IRC’s civic recovery program manager, explained that the IRC and its partners worked with communities to identify problems and then discussed what could be done to solve them. Committees were elected to manage the projects, bringing community, government and public service representatives together.
“The strength of the program lies in what communities learn from their participation,” Umkhaev said. “We have seen poor communities with high unemployment mobilize themselves, their schools, and health clinics – even local governments – to contribute enormously to community projects.”
The town of Stari Atagi in Chechnya, for example, was able to contribute over $30,000 worth of equipment and building materials to establish a classroom serving three schools to teach wood and metal working skills.
“Communities are now able to use the skills they have developed through the program to continue to address their concerns independently of the IRC,” Magomed said. “That is the real success of Vmeste.”
According to Tamara Basaeva, a community recovery committee member living in the remote Ingush village of Muzhichi, Vmeste has left one lasting legacy.
“People have realized that they can actually achieve results if the community collaborates,” she says. “It has brought us all together.”