German-Ukrainian Youth Exchange “If I Were in Your Shoes”

Every month, many antennae around the Network organise activities that are related to our Action Agenda and Strategic Plan. Some of these locals become ACTive Locals of the Month, but often there is more than one outstanding activity taking place. One of these activities is the project “If I were in your shoes” by AEGEE-Kyïv and AEGEE-Berlin, which took place last October (Kyïv) and December (Berlin) and was related to the Youth Mobility Focus Area. We spoke to Iryna Sheremeta, President of AEGEE-Kyïv and the main coordinator of the Kyïv part of the project, to find out more!


14970907_1781962832076983_1461397142_oACT: Can you tell us a little bit more about your programme and participants?
Irina: The program was connected to the main topic of the project “Participatory Democracy”. The idea was to show young and motivated people how they can participate now and be useful for society. Participants were from different cities in Ukraine and Germany, 18-25 years old, and not only AEGEEans. We mixed activities, because we wanted to balance theory and practice as well as show our participants the city. We met with representatives of different initiatives, organised workshops connected to the topic and walked around the city. The same strategy was used in Berlin. We talked about populism, German local initiatives, for example the bicycle movement. Moreover, we visited some of them and tried the practice of mediation with children, helped in a refugee camp and in a local bicycle association.


How and when did the idea to organise this project come to DSC_0007your mind?
The idea to organise a serious project appeared in the heads of our board members from the very beginning of our term. It was a logical decision after a successful year of the previous board, which organised Autumn Agora Kyïv 2015 and a series of events connected to democracy. The particular idea of this project appeared during our New Years event during a discussion about our focus and how we could link ourselves to the Focus Areas.

DSC_0117Which steps did you take to realise your idea?
We did not want to make a project following some grants requirements, but we wanted to find a grant matching our idea for it. We followed the Facebook page of the German embassy in Ukraine and saw an open call there. Then, we contacted AEGEEans from AEGEE-Berlin and developed a common vision. Both locals from Ukraine and Germany were involved, because the project Meet Up is a Ukrainian-German cooperation. Then, the waiting period started and we got an answer from the grant three months later. They asked to specify the topic and to add more group work. Actually, the confirmation from the grant was the first step to realise our idea.

How exactly did you apply for the grant?
The application for the grant was quite extensive. It consisted of a general vision of the project, a preliminary programme, a preliminary budget, documents, which proved that we are representatives of NGOs (statutes, documents signed by Presidents, etc). We needed to fill an electronic application form and also send a paper version by mail.

What was the outcome of your project? DSC09234
With this project, we wanted to motivate people to act and to be active in their own country. We wanted to show them that there are many possibilities to do that and many opportunities to develop your own personality. We made a video briefly explaining the main idea of the project and shared it on our pages in social networks. Also, the main task was to create ideas for policies which will be sent to the Kyïv City Council.

Did you have any troubles to create and realise your idea? How did you solve them?
I do not know if we can call these things troubles, but one girl from Berlin lost her purse and a boy from Cologne lost his camera. Also one participant  from Berlin had troubles on the border and we needed to send her the invitation on the day of arrival. One more participant missed the flight and did not come at all. But basically everything went well and the atmosphere was amazing and friendly.


DSC_0221Can you tell us a bit more about your local?
AEGEE-Kyïv is 21 years old, very active and motivated. During our history we organised two Agoras, and we regularly organise Summer Universities (SU) and local events. We had several Comité Directeur (CD) representatives in the history of our antenna and we are really proud of that.

Describe your local in five words.
Active, motivated, friendly, open-hearted, hospitable.


P.S. More information can be found here.
Written by Action Agenda Coordination Committee and Youth Mobility Working Group