USAID ERA suports Ukrzaliznytsia employees complete kaizen training to optimize production

Increasing Capabilities
Increasing Opportunities
19 June 2024

USAID, through its Economic Resilience Activity (USAID ERA) supported 22 Ukrzaliznytsia (UZ) representatives working in wagon maintenance plants complete a Kaizen Training in Kyiv aimed at optimizing and improving processes.  

Ukrzaliznytsia requested this training conducted by the Lean Institute of Ukraine and implemented by the organization International Development Foundation with the support of USAID ERA’s grant called “Workforce Development for Ukraine”. 

Before the training, participants completed a theoretical online section called the Lean Yellow Belt Basic course so that during the practical training they could dive right in. The practical training took place at the UZ repair and assembly shop where the inefficiencies were identified in real time and theories for testing more efficient processes also happened on the spot.  

Volodymyr Romanenko, Head of the repair and assembly shop shared, “Wagon repairs are time sensitive. Streamlining these processes at our site will reduce the wagon’s idle period, allowing it to transport more cargo, including grain. Some of the ideas I heard today are quite simple to implement, they will save time, and are possible.” 

Serhii Komberianov, President of the Lean Institute of Ukraine, notes, “To raise workforce productivity, we need to remove unnecessary movements and actions, this will help keep employees engaged, particularly at state-owned enterprises. We do not need more workers; we just need to be able to do more with less to solve the workforce shortage. And at the same time, we will focus on preserving employee health. When things like this are highlighted in a training, the solutions seem easy, and they don’t require investing money! Automation and additional robotics tools are very expensive, not everyone can afford it. For businesses to succeed, inefficiencies must first be removed then additional investments can be made. This is why we train our employees to be as efficient as possible, review processes, and remove excess.” 

Kaizen Trainings to optimize UZ processes and allow employees to inspect and repair wagons more efficiently will ultimately benefit Ukrainian agribusinesses move agricultural goods.  


USAID ERA wraps up year-long career guidance program in lviv

Increasing Opportunities
15 May 2024

On May 2, 2024, the Ukrainian Students League (USL) completed the fourth and final session of a career guidance program supported by the USAID Economic Resilience Activity (USAID ERA). The training was organized for students of higher education and vocational institutions in Lviv to develop their job search capabilities, improve communication skills, and assist them in securing employment. 

Started in July 2023, the project enabled 246 students to acquire leadership, teamwork, time management, and negotiation skills through training courses, mentorship opportunities and internships. Students gained firsthand experience by visiting and participating in internships with companies in the hospitality, IT, media, and marketing sectors.  

Sixty students completed their training, with another 60 soon to finish, and 24 graduates of the program are now gainfully employed.  

Kirsten Pfeiffer, USAID ERA’s Deputy Chief of Party, congratulated the participants of the program on completing the course completion. 

“When I was at a similar stage in my education and career, a professor told me, ‘Stop worrying about the next choice you’re making. Sit back and give it a try – if you do not try, you will never find out what it’s like to work in this field or for this company,’ she said. “I wish you to continue moving forward, finding solutions to new challenges, and investing in your future. As you start your internship, seize every opportunity to learn, grow, and make your contribution to the economy of Ukraine in a responsible and effective manner.”  

According to Andriy Kolodiy, a student at Ivan Franko National University of Lviv,

“The course showed me not to be afraid to try my hand at different things and to not give up. I am so motivated now and would like to thank the organizers of this course for granting students the opportunity to attend such events and motivate them to develop in right direction.” 

Anastasia Trots, a graduate of the 3rd session of the career guidance program and student at Lviv Professional College of the Kyiv National University of Technologies and Design and Lviv Polytechnic National University, said,

“It was very important for me to participate in this project. I learned valuable information regarding job search and career development, and expanded my knowledge and skills. After taking part in the project, I interned with USL team, which allowed me to apply the knowledge and skills I acquired.” 

USAID ERA connects educational and privat sector partners to build student skills in agri business

Increasing Opportunities
08 April 2024

With support from USAID’s Economic Resilience Activity (USAID ERA), Volodymyr Dahl East Ukrainian National University (EUNU) signed an agreement with two other USAID ERA partners, the NGO Association of the Ukrainian Agribusiness Club and Kernel, a prominent manufacturer and exporter of grain and leader in the global sunflower oil market. 

Through this cooperation, students will have access to internships and hands on training at Kernel’s facilities, in tandem with educational courses at EUNU

“We are glad that our university is collaborating with experts from the Kernel Company to explore new opportunities for the development of agriculture, engineering, construction, logistics, computer-integrated technologies, and electronics,” said Olga Porkuyan, EUNU Rector. 

“We hope to address the practical training needs of higher education seekers and jointly organize lectures, seminars, and training sessions, as well as engage in scientific, international, and grant-related activities.” Natalia Teriakhina, Head of the HR Department at Kernel Company, explained, “We aim to arrange internships and practical training opportunities for both students and university staff at our company. Additionally, we seek to launch online courses for students to develop essential soft skills, focusing specifically on communication, critical thinking, and responsibility. The combination of our research facilities and the extensive scope of agricultural production will allow students to have high-quality practical training opportunities, along with remuneration.“  

EUNU is an internally displaced university that has had to relocate twice from the Luhansk Oblast and is currently operating in Kyiv city. It has been a partner of USAID ERA’s since 2018. USAID ERA is currently establishing three modern laboratories for training future engineers at the university. After resuming operations, EUNU began re-establishing its partnerships with the business sector and is now collaborating with ten Ukrainian companies.  

Art Coworking Space Unites a Community in Dnipro through Creativity 

Increasing Opportunities
02 April 2024

With support from the USAID Economic Resilience Activity (USAID ERA), the non-governmental organization (NGO) Youth Movement Shift (NGO Shift) has been implementing a social Art Coworking project in Dnipro for over a year, helping nearly 300 youth to acquire new skills through master classes and art therapy sessions and receive training in the creation of visual content and social media management (SMM).  

The creative space, Art Coworking, began operating in 2020 in Kramatorsk, Donetsk but was forced to related to Dnipro when Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. USAID ERA helped NGO Shift equip their new space with a serger machine, two laptops, a 3D printer, a primer machine, and a coffee maker, which are helping Art Coworking expand their educational courses and workshops and host events. 

Within one year of working at the new location, NGO Shift conducted 22 master classes, 22 meetings for psychosocial support, and 22 art therapy sessions. Program participants took professional courses in sewing, fabric printing, and 3D modeling, which have helped them sustain and build their businesses in spite of the war. 

One local resident, Olha, embroiders clothing with traditional Ukrainian patterns. After participating in training and individual consultations on creating visual content and SMM, she revamped her Instagram page and began to receive more orders for her products.  

Irina, a local ceramicist, took a course in 3D modeling at the co-working space, which helped save money on mold-making. She also participated in training sessions on visual content and SMM, which helped her improve content and ultimately the performance of her social media page. As a result, Irina received new orders, gained confidence in her business, and later developed a business plan. She was awarded a grant from an international organization to purchase a kiln and continues to develop her business and participate in fairs in Dnipro City. 

Oleksandr, an Internally Displaced Person (IDP) from Kramatorsk City, lost his job during the war. In addition to gaining sewing skills at Shift, he attended psychosocial meetings and took an SMM course. With this support, he founded his own company and now oversees a team of professional seamstresses and is expanding his business. 

Both IDPs and local residents affected by the war have responded positively to the meetings dedicated to psychosocial support. These meetings, along with Art Coworking Space’s art therapy and book and conversation clubs have created a community where people can build professional and social connections.  Olena, an IDP from the Luhansk region, attended over 10 sessions of the psychosocial support group and said,

“For me, each visit to this space was very important and positive, with interesting activities and pleasant people. After these meetings, I felt like I was recovering – not just hiding or trying to escape from the war, but simply starting to live my life in a different place and a pleasant environment.” 

NGO Shift invites anyone interested in utilizing the equipment at the Art Coworking Space to contact them. Due to limited space, they strongly recommend to book a time in advance from Monday to Saturday and stay updated by subscribing to their Facebook page.

If you are interested  in launching your creative startup with the help of Art Coworking Space, please send a message through Instagram.

USAID ERA donates large batch of IT equipment to relocated universities

Increasing Opportunities
25 March 2024

In 2023, the USAID Economic Resilience Activity (USAID ERA) provided support to partner universities. Five universities – Donetsk National Technical University (DonNTU), Mariupol State University (MSU), Volodymyr Dahl East Ukrainian National University (SNU), Priazovskyi State Technical University (PSTU), and Dmytro Motornyi Tavria State Agrotechnological University (TSATU) – received IT equipment to resume their educational processes.

USAID ERA provided its partners with IT and office equipment to ensure a stable Internet connection and to conduct distance-learning classes. The equipment included 64 routers, 31 printers, 5 servers, and 8 computers for IT administration, as well as 6 uninterruptible power supplies, 12 multimedia projectors, 10 tablet PCs, 150 headphones, 261 laptops, 231 computer mice, 5 Starlink kits with a one-year subscription, computer software, and other items necessary to power and operate the equipment (such as cables, plugs, and outlets).

In March and April 2022, after Russia’s full-scale invasion began, these universities were forced to move from eastern and southern Ukraine to safer regions. Volodymyr Dahl East Ukrainian National University and Mariupol State University moved to Kyiv, DonNTU found shelter in Lutsk, while PSTU and TSATU settled in Dnipro and Zaporizhzhia, respectively. USAID ERA stayed in constant contact with its partners and began delivering the equipment in November 2022. To date, all the equipment has been delivered and is being actively used by 1,151 staff and faculty members of the higher education institutions to provide education to 14,166 students, mostly online.

This equipment, along with uninterruptible power supplies, made it possible to quickly set up online learning and maintain all necessary digital services. Students, postgraduates, faculty, and administrative staff received personal devices (laptops and tablets) that helped them to stay connected even during power outages. The support provided also made it possible to quickly restore administrative processes, methodological frameworks, and teaching materials, establish the online learning process, and ensure the operation of the educational institutions’ websites to promptly inform students and teachers of various activities.

Kernel’s specialists learn modern grain storage technologies 

Increasing Capabilities
Increasing Opportunities
17 January 2024

Forty-six of Kernels quality control specialists took part in a modern grain storage training between December 4-15, 2023. The training was facilitated by the experts of National University of Food Technologies and supported by USAID Economic Resilience Activity (ERA). It was held within the framework of “Workforce Development for Ukraine”, a project implemented by the International Development Foundation. Kernel specialists learned how to use modern technologies and equipment correctly. Moreover, they learned how to properly control the quality of grain storage in an elevator.

The training consisted of theoretical and practical review of the following topics: 

  • Grain quality control and storage conditions. 
  • Important questions about quality control during grain unloading and storing. 
  • Sampling and preparation of grain samples for analysis including, sampling techniques, and understanding the differences between using the automatic and manual sampling dipsticks. 
  • Setting general quality parameters of grain and seed material. 
  • Technology of long-term grain storage. 

Special features, approaches, and temperature monitoring. Risks of grain deterioration during storage, main aspects of quality alteration. 

We are sincerely grateful for the opportunity to participate in the training for specialists of grain laboratories and elevators. The training was very important, interesting, and motivating. USAID ERA helped our employees develop existing knowledge, learn new information about modern control methods, uptodate laboratory equipment, global quality, and food safety requirements. Also, it was very useful to hear competent answers from experts of the harmonization and correlation between the state standards of Ukraine and international standards. The training motivated elevator specialists to promote food safety in Ukraine and other parts of the world.” says Maryna Tiunova, Head Quality Control Specialist of Kernel. 

In total, 2,000 employees will be trained within the framework of Workforce Development Project according to the plan by June 2024. This number includes specialists of manufacturing companies and personnel of educational institutions, who train specialists for Ukrainian economy.