UNICEF awarded the best youth project for positive social change

UNICEF’s UPSHIFT programme involved almost 500 young people with 124 projects in two years

17 November 2022
Pet djevojaka, dobitnica nagrade za naj UPSHIFT

Mala Subotica, 15 November 2022 – To announce World Children's Day, UNICEF Office for Croatia presented the award for the best youth project created within the UPSHIFT program in the school year 2021/2022. The award-winning project "From school to Vrba" is the idea of ​​a team of students Dina Mišić, Ana Jurčec, Lea Dodlek, Greta Sabol and Sara Camatta from Mala Subotica with mentor support. Thanks to this project, a neglected and polluted area near their elementary school Tomaš Goričanac Mala Subotica was cleaned and renovated as an educational nature trail. This is the project from Medjimurje UPSHIFT workshop, held within the EU Child Guarantee pilot-program, funded by the European Union. 

The educational trail about plant and animal life provides elementary school students with a space for socializing and learning outside the classroom about the environment in which they live and how to preserve it. The trail is also used by children from the Kindergarten Potočnica and other locals who can spend active free time in nature there. The realization of the project was supported by other pupils of elementary school Tomaš Goričanec Mala Subotica, Međimurje nature - Public Institution for Nature Protection, Ecological Association Vrba Jurčevec and the Municipality of Mala Subotica.

Dodjela nagrada za naj UPSHIFT projekt
Dodjela nagrada za naj UPSHIFT projekt

"We are very proud and grateful for the award for our project. Thanks to the UPSHIFT workshops and our mentor Lucija Dugorepec, we learned a lot. We presented our idea at the school, which was followed by a joint action to clean and renovate Vrba, a beautiful piece of nature that was neglected and polluted. We set up the boards with information about plants and animals that can be seen in Vrba and a board with rules of conduct, as well as a hotel for insects, birdhouses and a weather station. Now it is a neat place to hang out, both for us students and for all fellow residents. We are particularly pleased that we encouraged the authorities to get involved, and the plan is for Vrba to become part of the promenade which will be set up by the Municipality. We hope that the future generations will continue to take care of the environment and nature", said Dina Mišić at the award ceremony. 

UPSHIFT nagrada

The goal of the UPSHIFT program is to encourage the development of entrepreneurial skills and empower young people to create solutions to challenges in their communities. UPSHIFT is implemented within the UNICEF’s programme for adolescents and young people ZABUM - For the future of young people, with support of the Croatian Office for Creativity and Innovation. Projects of young UPSHIFT teams cover a wide range of areas - education, inclusion, peer violence, fight against discrimination, preserving mental health, intergenerational solidarity, traffic safety, environmental protection, energy efficiency and other. Best projects receive financial and mentorship support for their realization. 

Predstojnica Ureda UNICEF-a za Hrvatsku na dodjeli nagrda
Sudionici događanja ispred škole

UPSHIFT has been implemented for two years, and these are the most important information: 

  • 493 young people aged 13 to 19 from all counties participated in UPSHIFT workshops 

  • Young people created 124 projects, and 52 of these projects were provided with financial and mentorship support for further development and implementation in local communities, 

  • UNICEF invested HRK 585,000 in development of projects created by UPSHIFT teams. 

"We live in a time of great technological, economic, and social changes, and young people need new skills and creative approaches to problem solving, to become the workforce of the future and leaders of positive change. UPSHIFT provides young people with confidence and the opportunity to create solutions to problems they consider important, and at the same time, leave a permanent trace in the community in which they live. I congratulate the winning team and all UPSHIFT participants for their inspirational projects. With our partners we will continue to invest in UPSHIFT and other programs that open up new opportunities for young people", said Regina M. Castillo, Representative of the UNICEF Office in Croatia.


World Children's Day is celebrated every year on November 20th. On that day in 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted. As an international document of the United Nations, the Convention contains universal standards states must guarantee to every child. The Convention was then signed by 196 countries, making it the fastest and most widely accepted agreement in the field of international human rights in history. In this way, the world has promised that all children will be guaranteed equal rights and that they will do everything to protect and ensure their rights to survival, development, learning and development to their full potential, without discrimination.

The pilot program „Phase III: Testing the Child Guarantee,” funded by the European Union, is implemented in 7 EU countries, with the aim of ensuring that all children have access to basic services, such as healthcare, education, nutritious food, quality housing and childcare.

In Croatia, this pilot program is aimed primarily at children with disabilities, children in precarious family situations, and children of racial or national minorities. It is implemented in seven municipalities of Medjimurje County, and through the cooperation and knowledge of implementing partners, interventions are carried out in three areas: integrated child protection and family support services, early childhood intervention services, and access to quality pre-primary education.

© UNICEF, 2022 “The information and views set out in this document are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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Morana Tuškan
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