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Financing and infrastructure for the youth: citizens on the priorities of the Ministry of Youth and Sports for 2021-2022

Resources of the Ministry of Youth and Sports will not be sufficient to implement the youth policy mechanisms that will work in each community. Therefore, the agency engages the representatives of youth organizations and experts working with young people in that process. This was stated by the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports Maryna Popatenko during a public discussion “Priorities of the Ministry of Youth and Sports for 2021-2022: what do citizens expect?” on March 12.

Popatenko named five key priorities for the Ministry of Youth and Sports in area of youth policy:

  1. Improving the competence of young people, in particular in terms of awareness about their rights. This will be the task of non-formal education.
  2. Raising the level of volunteering culture among the youth.
  3. Involving young people in decision-making: young people need to know how to engage in the change-making within their communities. This can be achieved through the development of school and student self-governments, as well as the creation of Youth Councils in the regions.
  4. Increasing the level of social cohesion among the young people. “We have been at war for seven years. But sooner or later we will return the occupied territories. And we must bring back the consciousness of the people living on these territories to the Ukrainian identity.”
  5. Strengthening the youth NGOs and NGOs working with the youth, in particular through the mechanism of institutional support for those organizations, since “Only in dialogue and partnership with civil society will we be able to implement youth policy in Ukraine at all levels.”

The chairman of the supervisory board of “PLAST – National Scout Organization of Ukraine”, Yuriy Yuzych, emphasized two urgent needs of the youth policy: adoption of the draft law “On the basic principles of youth policy” in the second reading and the development of regional and local youth programs.

“The draft law institutionalizes the paradigm, which is already partially enshrined in bylaws. But the draft law was prepared for the second reading without the involvement of the expert community. So now we have to collect all the comments and suggestions,” states Yuzych.

He remarked the introduction of institutional support for youth organizations through the Ukrainian Youth Fund, the creation of which is also envisaged by the bill, as a substantial positive step.

The draft law “On the basic principles of youth policy” may be considered the next week in the second reading, predicts MP Olexander Sanchenko.

“The law is always the sum of compromises. At the same time, it is an opportunity to adopt a substantive document that lays down the foundations for youth participation,” explains the MP.

He listed three important aspects of the draft law:

  1. Youth engagement: “We are synchronizing with Europe, where youth policy is based on involvement.” A law envisions the creation of the Youth Council under the Cabinet of Ministers, which will consist of representatives of the Government and youth organizations in a 50/50 ratio.
  2. Youth infrastructure: creation of the Youth Centers in regions and communities.
  3. Funding: The Ukrainian Youth Foundation will provide institutional and project grants, which can also be received by informal youth associations, and thus, it will promote “positive competition of ideas.”

Roman Tychkivsky, the head of the Ukrainian Leadership Academy, also spoke about the importance of infrastructure for young people, saying that “On the part of the state, it is important to provide youth organizations with the necessary infrastructure. We know a substantial part of the infrastructure is now owned by the communities. But [through corrupt schemes of “withdrawal” of communal property into commercial] the State Property Fund made it difficult to get this property into use.”

In his turn, Yevhen Bondarenko, acting director of the All-Ukrainian Youth Center, focused on the need to monitor youth infrastructure in the regions.

“We have recently carried out corresponding monitoring in the Kherson region. A report with recommendations based on its results will be published in late March,” promises Bondarenko.

It bears reminding that public discussions of the priorities of the Ministry of Health for 2021-2022 were held on March 10.

This public discussion was organized by the Reanimation Package of Reforms Coalition together with the Institute Respublica with the assistance of the National Democratic Institute and with the generous support of the British people through the United Kingdom Good Governance Fund.