Boom of citizen initiatives in Kyiv: participatory budget a success

One of the Kyiv beaches along the Dnipro river. Photo: gb.kyivcity.gov.ua

One of the Kyiv beaches along the Dnipro river. Photo: gb.kyivcity.gov.ua 

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The residents of Ukraine’s capital city Kyiv have become more active in taking care of their city. This became possible due to the city’s recent moves towards a citizen participation budget system. The project Public Budget, which allocates a share of the city’s budget to citizen projects, motivates citizens to create teams and submit proposals on improving living conditions in the capital. The winners, identified by a system of electronic voting, will receive funding for implementation.

This year the initiative was supported by 131,000 Kyivans – three times more than last year. The project authors had to compete for each vote, explaining the necessity of the initiative.

“It is very important that nearly two times more projects took part in the voting than last year – at least 564 against 320. Moreover, during last year, the project participants managed to involve 50,000 people. The same number of participants supported the initiatives during two incomplete weeks of this year,” said Volodymyr Prokopiv, deputy head of the Kyiv mayor.

According to the preliminary results, 42 big projects have won, with costs for their implementation running up to UAH 2 mn ($74,280) and 51 small ones with costs of up to UAH 400,000 ($14,860). It is expected that the local authorities will publish the final list soon.

Let’s take a look at the major projects which were named among the winners.

Creating an innovative education space at the Gymnasium #107

The future IT hub in the school as seen by the authors of the project. Photo: gb.kyivcity.gov.ua

The project aims to change the attitude of students to the educational space, to motivate them to study, to stimulate their creativity and to implement the principles of pedagogy of partnership. The authors emphasize that they want to stick to the principles of the new Ukrainian school. For Ukraine even such relevantly small projects make a big difference, as they present an alternative to the post-Soviet style of education with no space for creativity, total teachers’ control, and no right to make mistakes.

The project foresees that sports, cooking, art, and IT hubs will be created.

Read also: Would you volunteer teaching English to Ukrainian kids?

“For a long time, the opinion that the quality of students’ education was defined by the cognitive sphere – sensation, imagination, memory, thinking – prevailed. Psychological studies of recent years refute this traditional view. Emotions play a role that is no less, and sometimes even much larger, for cognition,” say the authors of the project.

Also, they appealed to the fact that the number of the school’s students increased by 300 over the last two years, so new premises were needed.

Underground Museum of ancient Rus culture

Archeological findings of the Poshtova Ploshcha underground excavations. Photo: gb.kyivcity.gov.ua

The aim of this project is to keep unique archeology sites in Kyiv in their authentic appearance. The authors want to do this by creating a modern museum-exposition complex.

“A European city with a 1000-year history has to have own modern interactive archaeological museum, where it will be easy to plunge into ancient times,” say the authors of the project.

During archaeological excavations on Poshtova ploshcha, a location near the bank of the Dnipro river, a unique discovery was made. It concerned the oldest pages of Kyiv history, going back to the times of the medieval international trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks down the Dnipro, the diplomatic mission of the Princess Olga to Byzantium in the X century, Baptism of Kyivan Rus in 988 etc.

Today, researchers of the Center for Archeology in Kyiv have identified the center of the settlements of the XI-XII centuries. It consists of at least 3 homesteads, a part of the main street, and 2 lanes. According to a preliminary conclusion, one of them had figured in the street called Borychiv uzviz which featured in medieval chronicles. This place had witnessed all the historic transformations of medieval Kyiv.

“The Underground Archaeological Museum will demonstrate the unique history of changes which took place in the topographical and political history of Kyiv on a proper world level,” say the authors.

A renovated hematological department to save the life of the seriously ill

Hematological department in Kyiv. Photo: gb.kyivcity.gov.ua

The project aims to overhaul the biggest hematological department in Kyiv. The institution was renovated for the last time back in the 1960s.

The authors of the project believe that the renovation will help save lives of many seriously ill patients:

“It will reduce expenditures for antibiotics, antifungal agents, and reduce the frequency with which diseases will develop complications.”

Among the leaders of the small projects, one aims to create an inclusive “health territory” and new beaches on the Rusanivska Split, another aims to improve street illumination of the Holosiivskiy District, and yet another envisages making a porch for one of Kyiv’s gymnasiums.

The deputy mayor promised also to consider the opportunity of implementing the other projects which reached the minimal threshold of 1,000 votes for large projects and 400 for small ones.

The Kyiv City Council allocated UAH 100 mn ($3.71 mn) for the implementation of public projects. Overall, 809 projects applied. After a review, 564 initiatives were admitted to the competition

Edited by: Alya Shandra

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  • Robert

    Outstanding! Maybe this model can be used in other cities in Ukraine and perhaps even in villages on a smaller scale…

    • Tony

      Thats a good idea, although in villages its probably done on a bigger scale because everyone knows each other.

      • Robert

        Yes Tony, clearly you are correct. I’ve been there (Ukraine) teaching English, music, song and dance and – as in America – everyone knows everyone else in small towns and villages. I was thinking more along the lines of financing – they may not have such huge sums of money in smaller towns and villages…

  • veth

    This will never implemented in Russia. Own initiative!

  • veth
  • zorbatheturk

    Meanwhike, RuSSian educational initiatives consist of practicing Roman salutes and shouting Heil Putin!