“Youth Empowerment Seminar”

This seminar encourages leadership and inspires young refugees and IDP’s to engage more in community initiatives.

The event had an intense programme based on non-formal education methodologies that combined peer-to-peer learning, group discussions, debates and presentations.
© UNHCR

Empowering young people is built into the foundations of the Sustainable Development Goals, an ambitious global agenda to transform our world by 2030. When empowered and strong, young people can create better quality of life for themselves and their communities, and make their contribution to creating inclusive societies and a peaceful world.

However, many young people from refugee and internally displaced (IDP) backgrounds in Ukraine lack this confidence due to prevailing stereotypes and fears towards minority groups.  Lack of communication between IDPs, refugees and local communities also becomes a hindering factor towards social inclusion of youth, access to tools and information. This, combined with low awareness by IDP and refugee youth on their rights and their potential to change the current situation, are the crucial factors impeding them to succeed in their local integration and become builders of a more diverse, inclusive and tolerant society.

On August 28-31, UNHCR Ukraine and the Council of Europe jointly conducted a training seminar on “Youth Empowerment Seminar” : Building Community Initiatives” to enhance the skills set of IDP and refugee youth so that they can be active participants in their local communities across Ukraine, thus contributing to a more cohesive society. The seminar aimed at creating a common platform and linking minority youth with young people from local hosting communities.

The event held in the Kyiv region brought together 46 young participants aged 16-25 from all over Ukraine, and included IDP and refugee youth that spoke 25 different languages, and represented nine nationalities, as well as different religions and cultural backgrounds.

While welcoming participants, UNHCR and Council of Europe officials shared inspiring stories on how youth empowerment can make a big difference for young people and create a better future for them.

The event had an intense programme based on non-formal education methodologies that combined peer-to-peer learning, group discussions, debates and presentations.  This enabled the young participants to acquire knowledge on human rights and inclusion, as well as trained them on how to conduct needs analysis and develop community projects aimed at improvement of local integration.

“After the seminar, I have so many new ideas regarding my own role in my community”, said one of the participants. “I realized that no matter what city or country you are from, what colour is your skin, or which social group you belong to, the main thing is how active and inclusive you are in a society”.