Kharkiv youngsters Present Successful Social Projects Supported by EU and UNICEF
On 30 May, UPSHIFT Ukraine conducted the social youth initiatives festival in Kharkiv where 30 youth teams presented innovative projects that received funding from the European Union (EU) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).
The programme was supported by the Department of Family and Youth of Kharkiv City Council. “I want to thank the organizers, the young people who took part in the Upshift programme and the City Council team who will always help development and support of social projects. I believe this is just the beginning of a great path – we see the achievements of the first wave of Upshift Ukraine, we see more and more youngsters joining their projects. New events, a lot of activities that will generate results for all residents of the city will come very soon,” highlighted Kostiantyn Loboichenko, Deputy Mayor of Kharkiv for Family, Youth and Sports.
Kharkiv became the first Ukrainian city for UNICEF to launch an international innovation programme on social entrepreneurship for children and youth, with the EU support. During the 2018-2019 academic year, six training modules were delivered to approximately 250 young entrepreneurs and community activists. The winning teams received grants of up to UAH 80,000 and benefitted from professional advice from mentors who had received special training on the UPSHIFT international methodology. The total amount of the grant funding from UNICEF and the EU for the implementation of youth projects neared UAH 3 million.
“At its core, UPSHIFT is a programme which provides young people with opportunities to realize their ambitions to become agents of social change by developing and implementing their own solutions to community problems which they have identified. It represents an important paradigm shift where we do not work alone for young people but with young people,” explained Herve Morin, UNICEF Ukraine Youth Development Specialist.
The guests of the festival talked to the project participants and learned about new opportunities and services for Kharkiv residents – free dance courses, inclusive sports sections, sign language training, etc. In addition, visitors took part in lectures on sexual education, emergency action planning, stress management practices, visited master classes on first aid, sand animation, tested electric skates, joined the dance flash mob and much more.
The UPSHIFT Ukraine programme in Kharkiv is implemented by the NGO “Professional Development of Kharkiv." “Not only the programme showed the activity of young people, but also engaged a wide Kharkiv community to the implementation of youth initiatives. We clearly saw the modern generation to take care of current social problems and be willing to take effort to improve social life. In addition, I would like to note that this project made inclusion more meaningful. Hands-on steps were taken to change people's attitudes to inclusion, including through the projects “Hear with Heart,” Total Answer Dance, Eco-School, Ariadna Sign Language Theater and others,” stressed Iryna Fomenko, Chair of Board of NGO “Professional Development of Kharkiv.”
The UPSHIFT Ukraine programme was recognized as the best practice among education, employment and entrepreneurship development programmes at the National Employment Forum in 2018. This fall, this programme will be rolled out in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Social entrepreneurship is a combination of commerce with social issues. Social entrepreneurs earn a profit, but the focus is placed on a social or environmental change made while earning that profit.
UPSHIFT is a global innovations project that covers 22 countries worldwide. It aims to develop young people’s social entrepreneurship skills. UPSHIFT Ukraineis being implemented in the framework of UNICEF’s “Strengthening the resilience and civic engagement of adolescent and youth in conflict-affected eastern Ukraine” programme me, 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.
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.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything it does. Together with its partners, UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to translate this commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
“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.
UPSHIFT Festival in Kharkiv
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.