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Central & Eastern Europe

Map of Eastern Europe.

We have provided below a brief overview of our work in Eastern Europe over the last 20 years. The bulk of this work has been in the narrow band of countries from the Baltic to the Mediterranean, notably those shown on the map.

We don't currently have projects in the region because of the difficulty of finding funding support. However, we retain links with a number of our former partners and hope one day to return.

Over the years we have helped build or strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of over 60 non-governmental and community-based groups; we have co-organised more than 100 workshops and public meetings to raise awareness of important social and environmental issues; and we have trained over 300 school teachers on environmental issues and supported 80 hands-on student environmental projects (12 of which in Romania won national prizes).

Why we were working in Eastern Europe

Poverty affects every country and takes many forms. It troubles us that people tend to think of countries as if they were in some kind of 'league table of need', especially where these tables are based on indicators of national prosperity. Whilst economic indicators (like the UNís Human Development Index) are important they tell us virtually nothing about the circumstances or plight of those trapped in poverty, marginalised or excluded from society by their age, sex, health, education or income, or simply by virtue of where they happen to live.

Poverty in the region takes a different form from that in Africa, but it is still poverty and it blights the lives of millions. We have been particularly concerned about the plight of those living in rural areas, where poor health, depression and alcohol abuse are prevalent, and divorce and suicide have risen dramatically. Many communities like Gradenice (shown here*) are fragmenting and the young are leaving in droves to seek a better life elsewhere. If one were looking for indicators of the spiritual and physical health and wellbeing of a nation and the case for development assistance it would be difficult to find better indicators than these. (There is more about poverty under issues.)

So this is why Powerful Information worked in Central & Eastern Europe for over 20 years. We recently archived our webpages on our work in Eastern Europe and are more than happy to talk with people who have a special interest in the region.

* This is the centre of Gradenice, a small Ukrainian village on the border with Transnistria. We first went to Gradenice in Nov 2008 after learning that it was facing serious public health and environmental problems. These concerns were confirmed by the Director of Public Health, who told us that skin, lung, breast and cervical cancer were considerably above normal levels. Locals blame a power station just across the border...