The adolescents of Gavar set an all-time record for UPSHIFT in Armenia galvanizing the support of their entire community
For the first time in the history of UPSHIFT in Armenia, adolescents and young people of Gavar manage to get support for all competing projects.
On 13 October, the European Union, UNICEF, and Gyumri Youth Initiative Center NGO concluded UPSHIFT Gavar with the competing ten teams of young people. The initiative is funded by the EU through ‘Future Today: Empowering women, youth and children for deepening democracy in Armenia’ project. The teams were selected in March after the UPSHIFT bootcamp and worked till September with their coaches to turn their ideas into reality. The event was attended by Malena, Junior Eurovision 2021 winner, who inspired young people to continue their efforts to contribute to the development of Gavar.
“UPSHIFT Gavar is special to UNICEF as it sets a new record of how the community came together to support all competing teams to implement their projects. UNICEF originally supported five of the teams, Gavar municipality made the decision to support three additional teams, while a group of individual supporters of UPSHIFT supported two more,” said Christine Weigand, UNICEF Representative. “At UNICEF, we have designed UPSHIFT as a non-formal education programme that provides adolescents and young people with opportunities to strengthen their 21st century skills, which they will use throughout their life.”
“From Gyumri to Ijevan and Gavar, I have already seen many examples of how adolescents and young people take matters into their own hands and bring positive change to the community, expanding opportunities to learn, strengthen their skills and employability, and also do so in an inclusive way,” shared Bruno Montariol, International Aid/Cooperation Officer, EU Delegation to Armenia. “The European Union places great importance on education, formal or non, and we are supporting Armenia to develop quality education services for children and young people.”
The ten teams took turns in presenting their projects, which included improved outdoor sports areas in Gavar, Karmirgyugh and Sarukhan villages, enhancing eco-friendliness of public parks, starting a greenhouse at school or developing and installing an automatic school bell system in several schools. Other teams focused on non-formal learning opportunities, reusing plastic to craft jewelry and ornaments, as well as designing and installing tourist-friendly signs in Gavar.
“I was very impressed with how much each of the teams managed to accomplish with the little resources that they had and with the help of their mentors. It’s indeed our turn and time to act and I hope we can encourage more young people to become active and join us,” said Malena.
“Young people of Gavar indeed set a new record of how you can advocate to get wide support from the community. I have seen first-hand how these young people have grown through UPSHIFT and improved their skills in teamwork and leadership, entrepreneurship and advocacy, communication and much more. This is only the beginning of their journey to bring positive change to their community and I am sure that they will continue to do more,” noted Artur Najaryan, Chairman of the board of Gyumri Youth Initiative Center NGO.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.