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Visualize Your Action!

Project Overview

A first-of-its-kind video competition that collected and showcased best practices in advancing civil society in Ukraine.

Identifying the Problem

Since declaring its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine has witnessed the development of a determined and passionate civil society in the country’s large cities. However, civil society members from the country’s smaller, more rural communities have had few opportunities to share their ideas and accomplishments with other activists. Furthermore, the isolation of such community leaders has made it difficult for Ukraine’s younger generation to learn of the advancements being made in rural civil society. Tamara and Iuliia found that much of this generation was either unaware of the problems that existed in rural Ukraine and the ways in in which they could be addressed through civic engagement, or simply did not care. 

Tamara and Iuliia were convinced that in addition to a general lack of awareness about the accomplishments of civil society leaders, one main reason for such pessimism and apathy was the lack of understanding of many Ukrainians about their own ability to independently solve social problems. Tamara and Iuliia believed that such apathy was responsible for the lack of interest in volunteer work or positions with non-profit organizations. They also believed that it could be reversed through education and inspiration.

Creating A Solution

Tamara and Iuliia wanted to create a platform that would contribute to building a democratic society by encouraging citizens to share their own knowledge and experience to help create, educate and inspire a Ukrainian and international network of young leaders. They were inspired by the short videos created by Humanity in Action that showcase the Action Projects developed and implemented by Humanity in Action Senior Fellows. Tamara and Iuliia, along with fellow Ukrainian activist Natalia Zhukova, decided to develop an online database of videos that shed light on what has been accomplished in Ukraine, what needs to be done and how these issues are being addressed in other democratic countries.

The team created Visualize Your Action!, which hosts a database of videos depicting the many ways that Ukrainians are turning ideas into action in their communities. In order to attract inspiring videos, the project launched with an invitation for Ukrainians to compete in a competition to find the most exciting and effective civil society projects in the country. While videos were being submitted, Tamara and Iuliia organized two webinars that provided more information about the purpose of the competition and civil society in Ukraine.

Competitors had three months to submit short videos depicting their projects, and Visualize Your Action! received over one hundred submissions. Instead of choosing the winning submission themselves, Visualize Your Action! invited the online community to vote for their favorite projects. Visualize Your Action! then awarded prizes to the top three videos.

Tamara and Iuliia were themselves very inspired by the originality of ideas, passionate energy and tireless work of the social activists who shared their work with Visualize Your Action! The project not only proved that NGOs exist across Ukraine, but that the organizations are helping to build an active civil society. Visualize Your Action! has increased the visibility of the civic leadership that exists all across Ukraine, and serves as an interactive tool and source of inspiration for those looking to become more active members of civil society.

Lessons Learned

Tamara and Iuliia found that working on an online project requires even more attention to detail, especially the distribution of tasks. They encourage others looking to become involved in online projects to ensure that at least one team member invests most of her or his time in team management as well as publicizing the project.

Get Involved!

The Visualize Your Action! database is not limited to videos of civic engagement in Ukraine. Tamara and Iuliia have created an additional section to the website that showcases similar projects being developed in other democratic countries. They encourage other social entrepreneurs from around the world to submit short videos describing how they are taking action to advance civil society.

Funding

Visualize Your Action! was funded by Humanity in Action, the United States Embassy in Ukraine, and the Department of Victims of War and Remembrance (of the Netherlands’ Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport). Grants from these three institutions totaled over three thousand dollars, which covered the cost of the domain name for the website, ensuring that the content of the website was available in Ukrainian, Russian and English, purchasing prizes for the top three videos, and conducting the two webinars.

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About This Project

HIA Program:

Germany Germany 2012

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