UPSHIFT announces 6 winning teams
Soon Gyumri and Spitak will have corners designed and established by the local youth
On May 6, UNICEF and the Youth Initiative Center in Gyumri launched UPSHIFT Bootcamp at the Gyumri Technology Center. Young people from Gyumri and Spitak pitched their project ideas, which they had been working on intensively for the past month. Five out of ten programs were to be selected, with each winning team to receive 150,000 Armenian drams. The competition was fierce, the range of emotions went from excitement to impatience, laughter to tears, anxiety to admiration.
Ten teams had put their hearts and minds into their projects, turning their ideas into business plans, encompassing a problem analysis and needs assessment, budgeting and possible collaboration schemes and not to forget a pinch of innovation as well. Our 12-18-year-old participants also knew well that “packaging is everything,” so they had worked hard to put together a creative presentation, craft the layout of the projects with their own hands and structure ambitious outreach and marketing strategies.
After the presentation of all project ideas, the jury of five members had an hour to evaluate and select the winning teams. The projects were evaluated based on five key criteria: innovation, community impact, feasibility for implementation, project sustainability and scale. As one of the jury members put it - the evaluation was hard, and the selection was even more complicated.
The anticipation was in the air as UNICEF Deputy Representative Liv Elin Indreiten and the President of the Youth Initiatives Center Arthur Najarian took the stage to announce the winners.
And the winners of the first round of the UPSHIFT Armenia project are:
1. Smart Map
In a few months, if you find yourself lost in Gyumri, remember that there is a trilingual terminal on one of the central streets that will help you find your way and recommend the appropriate means of transportation.
2. Eco-friendly bags
Think twice before using a polyethylene bag in Gyumri next time. These young people will find you and give you a free of charge custom-made eco-friendly cloth-bag with an awesome Gyumri-style design to use and prevent pollution.
Clear up your schedule so you can join these young people on the Gyumri City Cleaning Day. Firstly, they will clean the river and next up is the construction of a special net that will trap all the garbage in the river. In order to raise public awareness to keep the river clean, this group has decided that once every year they will reach out and encourage Gyumri residents to come together to clean the river and pledge to not throw garbage in the river ever again.
4. A youth-friendly area with our own hands
This group will create a space customized for young girls and boys who can get together and use the space for work, studying and reading, hanging out or working on joint projects. The group did not have such a place when they worked on this project idea, so now all other young people will do!
5. Tree-planting and birdhouses
By the end of this summer, one of Gyumri’s parks will sport new trees and bird-houses from recycled plastic bottles. You should follow these young people as they will also organize a contest for the most creative bird house. Maybe you will have a winning idea and thereby contribute to Gyumri’s beautification.
6. Special prize
At the end of the event, the Youth Initiative Center awarded Spitak’s all-girls team with a special prize which will enable the team members to pioneer waste sorting and management near their school and perhaps in a few other public areas as well.
UPSHIFT was made possible with the joint efforts of UNICEF in Armenia and in Argentina, the Armenian community of Argentina and the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund. The project is implemented together with Gyumri Youth Initiative Center and with the support of Gyumri Technological Center.