EU supports decentralization in Ukraine

The problem was neither simple nor complex. Just the one that needs to be solved.
What we have: plastic bags, fabric bags, initiatives, village council and villagers.
Additional conditions: Actions take place in these days in Krynychky ATC, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.
Special conditions: responsible local entrepreneurs and initiative youth.
What needs to be found: opportunities to do important things regardless of the circumstances, different consciousness and surrounding conditions.

The 14-year-old classmates from the village school in Krynychky decided to accustom the villagers to use environmentally friendly fabric bags instead of plastic bags. School activists managed to come to an agreement on cooperation with a local entrepreneur who produces fabric products.

And the important mission began: campaigning for environment protection and environmentally responsible behavior, distributing eco-bags.

A community organization that originated in this village is called the “Root of Ecology” – it already has experience in participating in local youth festivals and youth council forums. During one of the festivals, the activists sold 500 eco-bags. Received funds have been spent for new purchases and there are plans to earn more money for implementation of other important initiatives.

Schoolchildren started cooperation with the village council, organized a communal work, during which they collected garbage, went on thematic hikes across “green places” of the village of Krynychky, took part in bikeathons.

Now a lot of time is devoted to training, but work still goes on – in the school’s youth council. It is planned to set up a youth center, where meetings, educational events, etc. will take place.

In addition, there are a lot of other plans:

  • install trash bins for waste segregation;
  • find opportunities and suggestions on waste sorting and recycling;
  • get down to public awareness raising and engage people in environmental initiatives.

The youth activism in this village transforms into a popular trend and becomes a lifestyle. Boys and girls are involved in various cultural and educational initiatives.

And they already have some achievements. For example, last year the community organization members decided to take part in a photo contest for the Student Unification Day, called “We Can Change the World!”. They sent two works and one of the photos got the 1st place.

An example of such actions definitely inspires young people. Young people began to unite and influence changes around themselves. The youth entered into a dialogue with the village council and the community, which benefits both parties – one needs helpers and new ideas, and the other one needs experience and minimal support.

It is also important that the transfer of powers to communities enabled the community leaders and residents, in addition to support/renovation of infrastructure facilities, to influence cultural and environmental life. These transformations also became possible owing to the European Union’s support for the decentralization reform in Ukraine from 2016 through the “U-LEAD with Europe” programme with a total support amount of EUR 102 million over 4 years (2016-2020). The reform allows local communities to develop and create a better life around them.

And do you know such examples of the inclusion of young people in community life and change exactly in the cultural and humanitarian areas?

Anatolii Stepanov’s photo – young activists from the village of Krynychky. Cute, aren’t they? 

By Zoia Kazanzhy