More than 50 rural youth and teachers from the Mykolaiv and Kherson oblasts took part in the Youth Forum organized by the Young Football Volunteers programme to learn about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), healthy lifestyle and volunteering. The YFV programme was launched by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in 2012 to utilize sport and volunteering as a means to tackle health and social risks.
The Forum, filled with interactive trainings, aimed to increase the rural youths leadership potential, and to put project development skills acquired during the Forum into practice at the local level. Throughout the Forum, the participants were challenged to analyse the key aspects of various community problems and ways to address them through youth participation and volunteerism.
Youth groups from local schools were tasked to draft project proposals to tackle local development problems with the support of mini-grants. As a result, in total 16 small youth-led community development projects were drafted for further consultation with the local community. They will later be submitted for a grants competition, the winners of which will receive a small funding for the implementation of their project.
"This Forum taught us to be open-minded and to feel confident about ourselves. I was impressed to see how youth opened up very differently during the Forum and were eager to run their projects. I am sure that these seeds of leadership and participation planted during the Forum will grow into meaningful actions in our community in the future, said Pavlo Vasyutinskiy, a public school teacher.
"This kind of Forum is important as it helps young people to understand that it is the responsibility of each individual, and especially of young people, to contribute to achieving the MDGs, explained Oleksandra Okul, a Forum participant. As soon as I return to my community, together with my peers and teacher, we will finalize our project idea and apply for grant."
The Youth Forum was organized in cooperation with the regional educational departments and departments of youth and sports in the framework of the Young Football Volunteers (YFV) programme. Financed by UNV, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP), the programme was launched in 2012 in an effort to combat HIVs spread in Ukraine by leveraging the power of football to educate young people on HIVs prevention. It is implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine, the Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU), and The German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ).
UNV prepared a set of guidelines for school teachers and football coaches to train a target of 300 coaches, who in turn would train 6,000 young people on the importance of healthy lifestyles, using the Youth Development through Football methodology, developed by GIZ. So far the project has trained more than 400 teachers on Fair Play methodology, and helped more than 4,000 young people to upgrade their healthy life style knowledge and skills, including HIV prevention.