UNICEF and EU extend UPSHIFT Ukraine programme to support youth projects in Mariupol

UPSHIFT Ukraine empowers young people by developing their social entrepreneurial skills and providing funds for youth-driven projects.

18 September 2019
UPSHIFT Ukraine empowers young people by developing their social entrepreneurial skills and providing funds for youth-driven projects.

Mariupol, UKRAINE, 17 September 2019. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), with support from the European Union (EU), has launched the UPSHIFT innovation programme in Mariupol. UPSHIFT Ukraine empowers young people by developing their social entrepreneurial skills and providing funds for youth-driven projects.

The UPSHIFT Ukraine project invites youth teams of three to five participants between 14 and 21 years of age to submit their social innovation ideas. The selected teams will undergo professional training and receive mentorship assistance. Successful projects will receive up to UAH 60,000 for implementation. The deadline for the first round of applications is 24 September 2019. More details on the application process can be found through this link.

Commenting on the launch of UPSHIFT in Mariupol, Laura Bill, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Ukraine, stressed:n“Today, youth are the largest demographic cohort in the world. Many young people do not have proper access to education. Meanwhile, the youth unemployment rate globally is three times higher than the one for adults. UPSHIFT is tailored to support young people – especially those from vulnerable and marginalized groups – and to strengthen their opportunities in life. The Ukrainian branch of UPSHIFT has an ambitious yet realistic goal: to empower young people to lead positive changes in their local communities.”

Ambassador Matti Maasikas, Head of Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine said: “Due to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, many young people are growing up in challenging environments, lacking physical and material security. Despite everything – they dream big. The goal of our EU funded joint programme with UNICEF is to empower youth with skills, to help them make their dreams come true.” He continued: “After witnessing UPSHIFT’s success in Kharkiv and elsewhere, we decided to extend the project also to Mariupol. We are excited to see which social projects young people will bring to their communities in the Azov Sea region.”

Oleksandr Kochurin, Deputy Mayor from Mariupol City Council, voiced municipal support for the launch: “Thanks to the UPSHIFT initiative by UNICEF and EU, Mariupol youth will be able to implement their ideas. Our young people participate in many social and scientific projects. UPSHIFT Ukraine opens new horizons for youth. Training, mentorship, and financial support will unlock the potential of young people to become leaders in social innovation.”

UPSHIFT is a global innovations programme, which covers over 20 countries worldwide. In Ukraine, the program was piloted in 2018 in Kharkiv. In 2019, the project has been extended to Donetsk and Luhansk regions. UPSHIFT Ukraine is being implemented by the “Professional Development of Kharkiv” NGO with financial support from the EU and UNICEF. More information about the programme can be found on UPSHIFT Ukraine’s website and Facebook page.


Social entrepreneurship combines business activities and solutions to social issues. Although social entrepreneurs work for profit, their main focus is on social or environmental transformations.

The European Union is made up of 28 Member States who have decided to gradually link together their know-how, resources and destinies. Together, during a period of enlargement of 50 years, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development whilst maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms. The European Union is committed to sharing its achievements and its values with countries and peoples beyond its borders.

Professional Development of Kharkiv is a Ukrainian non-governmental organization that functions since 2013 and aims to raise the capacity and material well-being of the Ukrainian citizens through assisting them with employment and self-employment.

Media Contacts

Nina Sorokopud
UNICEF Ukraine
Tel: +380 50 388 2951


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