Ukrainian Youth Bring Change Their Communities

Ukrainian Youth Bring Change Their Communities

Youth-led NGO created to support local community development 

Vasly Telep

Vasyl Telep has become a driver of change in his community and a role model for other Ukrainian youth. Last year, a youth forum helped him to put his talents to work and realize his vision for greater local prosperity.

Under USAID’s Decentralization Offering Better Results and Efficiency (DOBRE), Global Communities organized a series of DIY (Do It Yourself) youth forums in 2017 to empower youth leaders from amalgamated communities. These forums are inspiring young people like Telep to become changemakers, to take leadership positions, and to help build prosperous communities in which they would want to live and contribute.

Telep, 24, a student from Baikovetska in Ternopil oblast, was one of many young people who participated in the event. With the knowledge and experience he gained at the forum, Telep developed an idea for a series of outdoor sports facilities to be installed in each of the community’s villages. He presented his plan to the community and received support from the local government.

Then, with support from USAID, Telep and his colleagues registered as an NGO focused on community development.

“We’ve had youth initiative groups in the Baikovetska community before, but USAID DOBRE and its partner, the Western Ukrainian Resource Center, helped with developing our NGO’s vision and strategy,” said Telep.

After the forum, Telep increased his community activities: His newly created NGO organized a charitable ball and art auction that raised 30,000 Ukrainian hryvnia (approximately $1,150) to purchase medical equipment for a local laboratory.

Gradually, Telep’s energy and organizational skills transformed his civic activism from volunteerism into a career when he joined the Baikovetska economic department in January.

“Now I’m helping the community with state subsidies, taxation and the creation of a real estate database,” Telep explained. “I am a member of the local economic development working group that USAID helped create. We are working to establish a local economic development association that would help our local entrepreneurs promote their products and services beyond the local market. I will also continue my responsibilities in the NGO we have. I believe this combination can work in synergy for the benefit of our community.”

Telep is well-positioned to further help Baikovetska prosper by continuing to apply the knowledge and skills he gained at USAID-supported youth events. And USAID will continue to empower youth to become the change they want to see in their community.

USAID DOBRE, which runs from June 2016 through June 2021, helps local government more effectively deliver services to citizens, respond to their needs, and quickly implement reforms in key sectors. The program also works to increase the involvement of local residents and civil society organizations in local government decision-making, while holding local officials accountable through monitoring and oversight. DOBRE is part of a coordinated package of international donor assistance to the Government of Ukraine to implement nationwide decentralization reforms and ensure the success of newly consolidated communities.