On November 25-26, 2021, representatives of the ten community teams who are partners of the Council of Europe project “Youth for Democracy in Ukraine” took part in the meeting “A Journey through the Country of Democracy”. The meeting aimed to develop the competencies of its participants from the partner community teams of the Council of Europe “Youth for Democracy in Ukraine” project to evaluate, analyse and further plan activities to strengthen the participation of young people.
Deputy Head of the Council of Europe Office in Ukraine Vahagn Muradyan and Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports of Ukraine Maryna Popatenko took part in summing up almost a year of cooperation with teams from ten communities within the Council of Europe “Youth for Democracy in Ukraine” project. Vahagn Muradyan expressed his gratitude to the representatives of the communities for their partnership in strengthening civic engagement and youth participation and thanked Maryna Popatenko, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports of Ukraine, and the Ministry team for the fruitful cooperation.
In turn, Maryna Popatenko thanked the Council of Europe for the opportunity to be a partner and beneficiary in the Council of Europe “Youth for Democracy in Ukraine” project and the important work done within the Project at the local level. The Deputy Minister thanked the partner community teams and invited them to share with other communities the experience gained in strengthening youth participation in the framework of the Council of Europe project “Youth for Democracy in Ukraine”.
The meeting of the community teams took place within the final, fifth stage of the Young People, Full Citizens component, which was aimed to support meaningful youth participation at the local level by reviewing youth policy and implementing the necessary measures based on the Council of Europe standards.
The developed methodology of research and training programmes for community teams is based on the standards of the Council of Europe in the youth field, and primarily on the Recommendations of the Committee of Ministers concerning:
- the access of young people from disadvantaged neighbourhoods to social rights, CM/Rec(2015)3;
- young people’s access to rights, CM/Rec(2016)7;
- youth work, CM/Rec(2017)4;
- participation of young people in local and regional life, Rec (2004)13.
Thanks to the professional work of the project’s training and mentoring team – Viktoria Bezsmertna, Iryna Bodnar, Aliona Hlazkova, Tetiana Horokhova, Diana Dubynska, Yulia Yelfimova, Liudmyla Kindrat, Ihor Nosach, Oleksandr Fomichov, Maria Yasenovska – we were able to create a space for competence development, exchange of opinions, and networking to strengthen youth participation in the partner communities of the Council of Europe “Youth for Democracy in Ukraine” project.
It should be emphasised that one of the essential elements of the component Young People, Full Citizens, within which the meeting took place, is to provide prerequisites for mutual learning and networking between community teams from different oblasts of Ukraine. As part of the collaboration, the community teams also received and researched the content of the manual “Council of Europe Quality Label for Youth Centres” and updated edition of the Compass Manual for Human Rights Education with Young People, which were translated into Ukrainian as part of the project.
The methodology of the meeting provided spaces for the exchange of experience in the implementation of projects to strengthen youth participation and civic activity. For example, the Prysyvashshia community team (Kherson Oblast) shared the experience of training young people to create a youth council and developing a study to determine the needs of young people in the community.
The Velyki Kopani community team (Kherson Oblast) presented its experience of conducting a three-day training with young people on the establishment of the youth council “Youth Council Step by Step”.
The Uzhhorod community team (Zakarpattia Oblast) shared the results of a three-day training on civic activism and youth participation for young people, in particular for their subsequent involvement in the work of a youth council.
The Novoukrainka community team (Kirovohrad Oblast) presented the experience of organising a three-day training “Civic Education as a Method of Strengthening Youth Participation in the Community for Youth Workers” which involved in equal numbers young people and youth workers and was held using the Compass Manual for Human Rights Education with Young People.
The Kuialnyk community team (Odesa Oblast) revealed their experience of conducting a three-day online training for students and teachers of two schools in the community to develop community participation competencies.
The Vasylkiv community team (Kyiv Oblast) shared the experience of developing a youth centre project and defining the roles and responsibilities for creating a youth centre in the city that would meet the needs of young people.
The Khoroshiv community team (Zhytomyr Oblast) presented the results of a two-day training on civic activism and youth participation for young people, which aimed, in particular, to create a youth space and discuss the involvement of young people in setting up and operating the youth space.
The Kurne community team (Zhytomyr Oblast) shared the experience of organising two one-day trainings to explore the role of young people in the community, community problems and youth involvement in solving these problems, understanding the concepts of “participation”, “democracy”, “youth council” and functions and powers of the youth council.
The Pryshyb community team (Poltava Oblast) revealed the experience of a two-day training to strengthen young people’s capacity to participate in community life and meet the needs of young people in accordance with an assessment of their needs held by the team.
The Opishnia community team (Poltava Oblast) revealed the experience of preparing and conducting an analysis of the needs of young people in the community to establish a youth hub that would operate as a youth centre.
We would like to note here that all community activities were planned to be held offline. The activity format switched to online in line with the introduction of lockdown measures in communities to combat the spread of COVID-19.
The ten community teams managed to implement local projects to strengthen youth participation and civic activity due to the expert mentorship of the Council of Europe project “Youth for Democracy in Ukraine”.
It will be recalled that the implementation of projects by community teams was preceded by trainings held in July and September 2021 and community studies conducted with the participation of young people in February-March 2021. The study results enabled community teams to explore the relevance of projects proposed by them in the context of cooperation with the Council of Europe Project “Youth for Democracy in Ukraine” and to analyse these project ideas using the RMSOS approach (Right-Means-Space-Opportunities-Support) compliant with the Revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life.
The subsequent activity of the partner community teams envisages the continued implementation of local projects to strengthen the youth participation and civic activity and sharing this experience with representatives of other communities across Ukraine.
Partner communities of the Council of Europe Project “Youth for Democracy in Ukraine”
- Vasylkivka community (Kyiv oblast)
- Velyki Kopani community, Kherson Oblast
- Kurne community, Zhytomyr Oblast
- Kuialnyk community, Odesa Oblast
- Novoukrainka community, Kirovohrad Oblast
- Opishnia community, Poltava Oblast
- Prysyvashshia community, Kherson Oblast
- Pryshyb community, Poltava Oblast
- Uzhhorod community, Zakarpattia Oblast
- Khoroshiv community, Zhytomyr Oblast
The Project “Youth for Democracy in Ukraine“ is implemented within the framework of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine 2018-2022 and is based on previous experience and efficient bilateral cooperation between the Council of Europe and the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine within the Framework Programme on Cooperation between the Council of Europe and the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine in the Field of Youth Policy for 2016-2020.