UNICEF and EU launch UPSHIFT innovative programme for disadvantaged youth in Kharkiv

09 August 2018
Group photo of the participants of UNICEF UPSHIFT training on social entrepreneurship
UNICEF Ukraine/August 2018

Kharkiv, 9 August 2018 – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) with the European Union’s support presented the UPSHIFT Ukraine programme to develop professional skills of adolescents and youth in Kharkiv on August 9. The programme will help to improve employment opportunities of vulnerable young people affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine and assist social businesses in solving social and environmental issues in their communities.

The one-year project in Ukraine will be launched first in Kharkiv. Then, UPSHIFT Ukraine will expand to other regions of the country. It is being implemented by the “Professional Development of Kharkiv” NGO in the framework of UNICEF’s “Strengthening the resilience and civic engagement of adolescent and youth in conflict-affected eastern Ukraine” programme funded by the EU.

“The ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine affects the lives and opportunities of young people. The aim of our joint programme with UNICEF is to mitigate the severe impact this conflict has on young people, increase their capacities to cope with conflict and encourage visionary ways to build new future in the eastern Ukraine. We are proud to support USHIFT in Ukraine and we believe that Kharkiv could become one of the centres of youth innovative projects in Ukraine,” Thomas Frellesen, Charge d’Affaires a.i. of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, noted.

Commenting on the UPSHIFT launch in Kharkiv, Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine, said: “Ukrainian youth are facing many challenges these days. It is essential to provide opportunities for young people that will help them to become agents for social change. UPSHIFT has proven its efficiency in other countries. We strongly believe that the Ukrainian chapter of UPSHIFT will facilitate projects that will fully reveal young people’s power and potential.”

The programme combines social innovation workshops with mentorship, materials and seed funding, in order to equip young people with the skills and resources they need to identify problems and challenges in their communities and find solutions to these problems. The young people build skills and resilience; while their communities benefit from the solutions they create.

The programme will be implemented in several stages. International experts have visited Kharkiv this week to share their expertise with local trainers on how to teach adolescents and youth about the basics of social entrepreneurship. Local trainers will mentor the winning teams of young people picked out by an independent selection committee. Each team will also receive up to UAH 60,000 for implementation of their projects. Before being implemented, the innovative projects go through three months of an “incubation” period, during which mentors and professionals help the participants to improve their project designs and test their ideas.

Iryna Fomenko, Head of “Professional Development of Kharkiv” NGO, which is implementing the UPSHIFT project in Ukraine, said: “UPSHIFT Ukraine will highlight not only that young people want to and can change their own social standing, but also that they are capable of changing the world around them. Luckily, young people today can receive support from recognized professionals and the financial means to make their social entrepreneur projects come to fruition.”

More information on eligibility and the application process for Kharkiv youth can be found via the link http://bit.ly/UPShiftUA_Apply . Applications for the first cohort can be submitted from August 9 until September 2, 2018.

For additional information, please contact Irina Petrushenko (“Professional Development of Kharkiv” NGO) by phone + 38 097 93 88 772 or e-mail: irinapelipko@gmail.com

Media contacts

Nina Sorokopud
Chief of Communication
UNICEF in Ukraine


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UPSHIFT is a global innovations project that covers 22 countries worldwide. It aims to develop young people’s social entrepreneurship skills. UPSHIFT Ukraine is being implemented in the framework of UNICEF’s “Strengthening the resilience and civic engagement of adolescent and youth in conflict-affected eastern Ukraine” programme, funded by the European Union (EU). The project is intended to develop young people’s social entrepreneurship skills and prepare them to become actors for social change. It is supporting young people through training, mentoring and provision of seed funding.

About the European Union

The European Union is made up of 28 Member States that 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.

About “Professional Development of Kharkiv”

“Professional Development of Kharkiv” is a Ukrainian non-governmental organization that has been operational since 2013 and has the goal of raising the capacity and material well-being of Ukrainian citizens by assisting them with employment and self-employment.