On 20 October, DRI held first debates within the DRI tournament ‘Decide for your City’. The participants did their best to convince the jury and audience why their projects are worthy of getting financial support from the city participatory budget. Two teams competed for the victory: one team of students from the Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University and the team representing Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University. Among other criteria, inclusiveness and innovation were given priority in the assessment.
The first team proposed to create a cultural and education centre for elderly people that will have a symbolic name ‘Forever Young’. The key problem addressed by the project is low standards of living in geriatric institutions where elderly people live and receive medical treatment, as well as the absence of government and public initiatives aimed at improving living standards of the elderly. In the opinion of the project creators, such a centre would contribute to making society more cohesive and inclusive.
The ‘Reformers’ team proposed using the participatory budget for implementation of a project called ‘Waste to Art’. In the opinion of the team, installation of interactive and conceptual artworks from waste materials in public places will help “convince citizens to carry out selective collection of waste and entrepreneurs to invest in waste recycling plants”. The project authors claimed that their project is inclusive and targets various segments of the population, including entrepreneurs.
The ‘Reformers’ won by a narrow margin, getting the highest marks from the jury and audience. At the same time, Oleksii Kovalenko, the author of numerous participatory budget projects that have been implemented, emphasized that public ideas with a social focus are a live issue, especially when it comes to elderly people. “Government institutions, which take care of elderly people, have poor and inefficient infrastructure, insufficient financing and the issue of leisure activities of such category of people is usually ignored,” said Oleksii.
Artem Stelmashov, a representative of the Kyiv city council, encouraged both teams to finalise their projects and to try and implement them. He proposed launching these projects as small initiatives.
The next rounds of the debates with teams from other higher education institutions and youth organisations will be carried out in November and December 2018.