Empowering Ukraine’s social service system: Sweden and UNDP launch the School of Social Work

The tailored-made programme is designed to equip professionals across four Ukrainian oblasts, elevating local social services and facilitating sustainable community development

November 27, 2023
Photo: Pavlo Maliovanyi / UNDP in Ukraine

Kyiv, 27 November 2023 — The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine, with financial support from the Government of Sweden and in partnership with the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, has launched the School of Social Work. This initiative is intended to develop the capacity of community professionals responsible for administering the social service and social protection system. The comprehensive nine-month programme is designed to provide these professionals with the knowledge, skills, and tools they need to be effective social workers.

Eighteen territorial communities from Chernihiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Mykolaiv, and Sumy oblasts were selected on a competitive basis to participate in the programme. The School of Social Work’s curriculum focuses on key areas such as developing and implementing local social policy; participatory planning; and providing, evaluating, and diversifying social services. In addition, the programme emphasizes innovative methods of service delivery and the importance of involving various stakeholders in this process.

On successful completion of the School, all graduates will receive state-issued certificates that will attest to their professional growth and commitment to making a positive contribution to the development of their communities. But the support does not end there as UNDP, together with partners, is committed to continuing to work with the communities, providing the support needed to create and develop essential social services at local level.

Oksana Zholnovych, Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine, noted that the social sphere and social policy are now one of the top priorities after the defence sector, as many people feel lost and stressed. “Our segment of work, as social sector specialists, is to provide people with a service that is clear, high-quality, and human-centred,” she said. “I am grateful to the partners and participants of the School for their activity, the development of social services in communities, and building our resilience. We, in turn, are operating to ensure that social workers are always respected.”

Jaco Cilliers, UNDP Resident Representative in Ukraine, highlighted the importance of the initiative for addressing social challenges and promoting inclusive development. “Launching the School of Social Work is a significant step towards managing the complex social challenges Ukraine faces today. This initiative, supported by the Government of Sweden, will enable us to build a cadre of skilled professionals who are well-equipped to lead and innovate in the social sector,” he said. “Our aim is not only to strengthen social services, but also to foster a culture of inclusive and participatory social development across the country.”


The School of Social Work is being implemented by the Regional Centre for Advanced Training in Kyiv Oblast with assistance from UNDP in Ukraine under the Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme, with financial support from the Government of Sweden.

Media enquiries: Yuliia Samus, UNDP Ukraine Head of Communications; e-mail: yuliia.samus@undp.org