The Shumska Community in Ternopil Oblast Now Has Its Own Youth Space with the Support of USAID DOBRE

A modern youth space called SHUM.OK (Ukrainian for ‘hustle’) was opened within the premises of the Shumsk Public Library, which the USAID DOBRE Program helped to equip. It is the first location in the community where young people can hold their events, as well as meet for communication and leisure. 

On the occasion of the project’s launch, USAID DOBRE Chief of Party Mr. Brian Kemple, local economic development expert Mr. Vitaliy Yurkiv, community engagement specialist Ms. Halyna Skalska, and other USAID DOBRE specialists visited the Shumska community. They were met by Shumsk Mayor Mr. Vadym Boyarsky and representatives of local youth organizations, creative teams, and the Youth Council. 

Youth associations were always active here, but their opportunities were limited due to the lack of their own space. Therefore, there was a need to create a comfortable, safe, and modern area for youth leisure, training sessions, and meetings of the Youth Council. 

“These are difficult times, and the community budget is aimed at solving priority problems, as well as helping our army,” explains Mr. Vadym Boyarsky, “Therefore, the creation of the youth space became possible only thanks to the significant support from the USAID DOBRE Program, which purchased furniture and digital equipment for this project for a total of more than UAH 440 thousand. The community renovated the space on its own.”

SHUM.OK will be available not only for the youth but also for all community members who want to hold events or spend their free time there. However, the activities of youth organizations will remain a priority. 

“The importance of creating youth spaces in such a difficult time for communities is that they support local young people, who are the foundation of the future of Ukrainian society,” said Mr. Brian Kemple. “Having their location, the youth can go in for self-development and help their community. USAID DOBRE always supports such projects in partnership with the communities that want to implement them.”

Ms. Halyna Skalska noted how comfortable the youth of Shumsk felt in the new space. It is the most important thing because, according to her, such locations are created not for a pretty picture but to make young people feel at home. That’s why young community members should always voice their needs to be heard and helped to realize them. 

“We’ve always worked with young people in our library, but now they finally have their own space where they can be the real masters,” says Ms. Natalia Komandyrchyk, the administrator of the youth space. “They had no places to gather at all, so when we conducted a survey, the youth space was named one of the priority projects. Now young people will determine what they want to do in this space and generate ideas that we, the adults, will help them implement.”

On the opening day, the youth space hosted a meeting of the local economic development working group, during which young people voiced their vision of shaping the community’s business environment. 

SHUM.OK will be a place where movies will be screened, various competitions and tournaments will be held, and educational training sessions and entertainment events will be held. There will also be an English language club, a photo exhibition of young artists, and other activities. The Shumska community hopes that this youth space will become a true center of development and cohesion for children and youth from all its settlement districts and the city of Shumsk itself.

The USAID Program, “Decentralization Offering Better Results and Efficiency” (DOBRE), is a nine-year program, implemented by Global Communities and funded by the United States Agency for International Development. DOBRE has worked closely with 100 consolidated communities (CCs) in ten Oblasts of Ukraine to help them realize the benefits and meet the challenges brought by decentralization. DOBRE provides technical and material assistance to CCs to help them govern openly and accountably and meet the needs of their citizens; and supports citizens’ active engagement in decision-making and policy making. DOBRE’s support encompasses strategic planning; spatial planning; financial management; public service delivery; local economic development; capacity building; good governance practices; and gender- and youth-responsive policies.
In the period 2022 – 2025, DOBRE will be working directly with at least 60 CCs of Ukraine to help them cope with the consequences of the war, recover and rebuild, and resume their trajectory of positive, sustainable development. Partners with Global Communities in the DOBRE Program Consortium include the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center; the Foundation in Support of Local Democracy, and the Malopolska School of Public Administration at the Krakow University of Economics, Poland.