On November 16-20, 2021, representatives of the youth centres that are partners of the Council of Europe project “Youth for Democracy in Ukraine” took part in a meeting of partner centres’ teams in Kyiv to develop competencies through the study and analysis of experience obtained while participating in the Council of Europe project “Youth for Democracy in Ukraine”.
Head of the Council of Europe Office in Ukraine and Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on the Coordination of Cooperation Programmes of the Council of Europe Steen Nørlov and Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports of Ukraine Maryna Popatenko took part in summing up almost a year of cooperation with fourteen community centre teams in the framework of the Council of Europe project “Youth for Democracy in Ukraine”. Steen Nørlov thanked the representatives of the youth centres for their contribution to the partnership for strengthening civic activity and youth participation in daily work with young people at the national, oblast and local levels in Ukraine. The Head of the Council of Europe Office in Ukraine stressed that as a result of a successful revision of approaches by the partner youth centres, young people in these communities benefit from youth work based on youth participation to enable them to exercise their human rights and freedoms and promote meaningful participation and democratic citizenship. Steen Nørlov thanked Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports of Ukraine Maryna Popatenko and the entire team of the Ministry for 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 three levels of youth centres in Ukraine. In particular, she thanked the youth centre teams and stressed the importance of the analysis done by the centres concerning the state of youth work and non-formal education programmes in centres involving young people with an emphasis on civic activism, which is positively identified with youth policy priorities in Ukraine.
The meeting of the centre teams took place within the framework of the final fifth stage of the Revitalising Youth Centres and Youth Work component of the Council of Europe project “Youth for Democracy in Ukraine”. In the previous stages, the teams of youth centres, with the expert research support of the project, analysed the state of youth work in centres and non-formal education programmes with the participation of young people, with a focus on civic activity and opportunities for young people. In June 2021, the centre teams took part in the long-term team training. From July 2021, the youth centre teams began, with the mentoring support by experts of the Council of Europe, to develop and implement local projects to strengthen youth participation.
The developed methodology of research and training programmes for youth centre 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 training team composed of Nazar Boiarsky, Aliona Hlazkova, Olha Donets, Yulia Yelfimova, it was possible to create space for competence development of the representatives of fourteen youth centres that were partners of the Council of Europe project “Youth for Democracy in Ukraine” in the areas of strengthening youth participation and civic activity, engaging diverse young people and creating a safe and inclusive space in the youth centre.
On the first day of the meeting, youth centres’ representatives visited the Museum of Darkness “The Third Hour after Midnight”, where they explored first-hand, in complete darkness, the accessibility of street, nature, and art gallery spaces. An objective of the centre team meeting was to investigate the impact of the Council of Europe project “Youth for Democracy in Ukraine” on the work of the youth centre in the community, in particular on expanding the target audience of young people benefitting from the youth centre’s services.
To explore the international experience of youth centres in implementing inclusive, non-discriminatory and gender-sensitive approaches, the participants met with Mante Surgautaite, a youth worker and team lead at the Vilnius Open Youth Centre MES (Lithuania) and Teemu Liimatainen, director of the PaNoKe Open Youth Centre at the city of Paikuse (Estonia).
On the third day, the youth centre representatives explored stereotypes and prejudices in the Living Library. The Living Library became part of the Council of Europe’s programmes in 2003 and the driving force behind its inclusion was the realisation that human rights cannot be defended and promoted by legal texts alone. The Council of Europe project “Youth for Democracy in Ukraine” has translated into Ukrainian the Living Library organiser’s guide “Don’t judge a book by its cover!” The Ukrainian-language guide will help improve the competencies of youth workers in the organisation of Living Libraries in their youth centres and communities.
It should be emphasised that one of the essential elements of the Revitalising Youth Centres and Youth Work component, within which the meeting was held, is to ensure the prerequisites for mutual learning and networking between youth centres of city, oblast and national levels from different oblasts of Ukraine. As part of the collaboration, the youth centre 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 envisaged spaces for the exchange of youth work practices to strengthen the participation of young people and their public activity.
Project Manager of the Lviv Oblast Council Municipal Institution “Lviv Oblast Youth Centre” Ivan Sapsa presented a simulation game, developed in cooperation with the Council of Europe Project “Youth for Democracy in Ukraine” Project and aimed to create a youth centre in the fictional Red Lines community.
Director of the Novomoskovsk City Cultural and Educational Children’s and Youth Centre Anastasia Stroilo conducted a workshop on legal issues concerning the provision of paid services by the youth centre.
Head of the Innovation and International Partnership Promotion Department of the Kyiv Youth Centre Aliona Popova shared her experience of establishing cooperation with libraries, universities and private spaces to create youth spaces in Kyiv within the Youth Full project.
Anastasia Holovchenko and Yaroslav Melnyk, representing the All-Ukrainian Youth Centre (AUYC) State Institution, presented the work of the AUYC and conducted, together with the meeting’s participants, a SWOT analysis of the idea of a three-level system of youth centres, created in accordance with the Law of Ukraine “On Basic Principles of Youth Policy in Ukraine“.
Let us recall that the following institutions have become partner youth centres of the Council of Europe project “Youth for Democracy in Ukraine”:
- State Institution “All-Ukrainian Youth Centre”
- Oblast Municipal Institution “Volyn Oblast Youth Centre”
- Donetsk Oblast Children and Youth Centre
- Municipal Institution of the Lviv Oblast Council “Lviv Oblast Youth Centre”
- Vinnytsia Oblast Youth Centre “Kvadrat”
- Lviv City Youth Centre
- Novohrad-Volynskyi City Youth Centre
- Novomoskovsk City Cultural and Educational Centre for Children and Youth
- Municipal Institution of the Kyiv City Council Executive Body (Kyiv City State Administration) “Kyiv Youth Centre”
- Non-Governmental Organisation “Okhtyrka Youth Centre”
- Leisure Centre of the Department for Culture and Tourism of the Varash City Council Executive Committee
- Municipal Institution of the Nizhyn City Council in Chernihiv Oblast “Nizhyn City Youth Centre”
- Municipal Institution of the Sumy City Council “Sumy City Youth Leisure Centre”
- Novohrad-Volynskyi City Youth Centre
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.