"Our mission is to assist in the reformation of Ukraine consistent with European standards, as well as to introduce democratic values and develop civil society in Ukraine."

From the Statute of
the Center for European Initiatives

Youth Exchange “Volunteerism Citizenship in Action”, Crimea, Ukraine, 2010

Organizers: Center for European Initiatives, Sumy city NGO, Ukriane


  • Jugendhilfe und Sozialarbeit e.V. (JuSeV), Germany 
  • Research-Intellectual Club – Dialogue of Generations, Georgia 
  • INEX – Association for Voluntary Activities, Czech Republic

Date: 15-26 September 2010

Place: Boarding House “Sunny Valley”, Olenivka Village, Crimea, Ukraine

Participants: 39 youth from the four partner countries (10 each from Ukraine, Germany, Georgia and Czech Republic), aged 20-25 years

Working language: English

Exchange product: A movie promoting volunteerism among youth

The youth exchange “Volunteerism Citizenship in Action” was a result of cooperation between 4 organizations from Germany, Ukraine, Czech Republic and Georgia. The project was realized with the financial support form Youth in Action Programme of the European Union. The main goal of the youth meeting was to promote active citizenship and youth participation youth participation to combat poverty and social exclusion. Through this exchange, “Volunteerism – Citizenship in Action,” youth participants learned how participating as active community volunteers helps to create community norms of solidarity and reciprocity, and helps to build cohesive communities with a strong social ethic. This Exchange provided a space for diverse exploration and creative exchange.

10 days of the youth exchange was full of activities where the main approach was non-formal learning. First day of the exchange was focused on teambuilding and setting friendly, trustful atmosphere among participants. With the help of different intercultural activities participants learned a lot about each other’s cultures that helped understand each other in a better way. Participants shared their experience of voluntary work in their countries. Afterwards, the combination of Western and Eastern European experience, views and practices on volunteering was found highly enriching by the participants.

For better understanding of the volunteer’s role in the community and for training acting skills participants explored more physical approach the theatre of the oppressed. The Loesjes workshops were very useful for future movie creation as the participants designed striking slogans in order to motivate other youth to follow in their footsteps.

These slogans helped inspire the stories composing the movie that was shot at the end of the exchange and was the pinnacle of this very fruitful collaboration. Participants thoroughly enjoyed this experience as film writers, actors and directors.

Another popular feature was simply the beautiful setting that Crimea provided to this exchange. The excursions offered an opportunity to discover this sunny region that some participants wished they wouldn’t have to leave. The unanimous comment was the exchange should have lasted longer.

All were delighted with the national evenings, general humour and atmosphere and felt they could overcome most language/cultural barriers.

Participants’ feedback:

  • “It was very well organized, people really wanted to create something together.”
  • “We worked efficiently, shared a lot of experience and points of view and had a lot of fun.”
  • “I think the movie we made will advertise volunteerism well and the number of volunteers will increase.”
  • “It is a unique experience which every world citizen should make!”
  • “I really enjoyed meeting these people from 4 nations. It’s good for knowing the cultures and habits and knowing the countries.”
  • “Film shooting was awesome although I’m not very good as an actor ;-) But the best of the best -> national evening parties!!!”
  • “I’ll be very glad if I have the chance to participate in another project like this.”

Loesje slogans:

 “In volunteerism we trust”

“Think globally, volunteer locally”

“Do it like the sun. Do it for free.”

“Volunteerism never sleeps.”