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Results of the Youth Wellbeing Index in Lviw

21 July 2020

The intensification of youth policy in Lviv began after winning the contest "Youth Capital of Ukraine" three years ago. According to the head of the MoloDvizh Center Oleh Malets, it has pushed the process. After receiving the status of a candidate community within the initiative "Community Friendly for Children and Youth", Lviv joined the initiative to assess the Wellbeing Index in summer 2019. The presentation of results is now underway. 

“When the initiative Youth Wellbeing Index was launched, we realized its obvious advantage. In policy development, we lacked a database that could allow us to understand what young people need exactly. We conducted our research, but we did not have a methodology to integrate this data. Now we have a real mechanism, how to obtain a general assessment of well-being and indicators in certain areas with the results of sociological surveys of young people and municipal statistics", says Oleh Malets.

To achieve representation, Lviv needed 400 people taking the survey, but the general number of them reached 500. According to Oleh Malets, it is one of the outcomes of well-established communication. The city held a public presentation of the index, involved opinion leaders before launching the online platform that led to positive feedback from young people.

Oleh Malets believes that the indicators of subindexes are not low. According to him, some of them are mediocre, others are high, as the assessment of information and communication technologies. Such high result in this area was predictable for Malets because Lviv is recognized as the IT capital of Ukraine.

The head of the MoloDvizh Center claims that there is a lack of communication strategy in every area of life. 

Healthcare

The health indicator in Lviv made up 0,72. Although the initiative “Youth-Friendly Clinic” has been implemented in the city for several years, young people are not enough aware of it.

“We have many great projects, but only some of them reach the user. It is a huge problem. We live when there is a tremendous amount of data, and it is more and more difficult to reach people with really important information. To sponsor content through social media is bureaucratically impossible. It complicates the situation”, says Oleh Malets. 

During the evaluation of the health subindex, experts discovered that the infant mortality rate in Lviv is twice lower than in other cities of Ukraine and which means positive sign.

Oleh Malets says that the city's funds were redistributed amid the start of quarantine and a significant amount was invested in healthcare, in particular the ambulance hospital. City also plans to launch the operation of a cardiopulmonary center, and a department of pediatric cardiac surgery in it. 

Education

The subindex “Education” made up 0,76. According to Oleh Malets, the lockdown has exposed the problem of maladaptation of some specialists to distance learning. The situation in schools is satisfactory - students can study at Google classrooms. But in the system of higher education, the educational process depends on each university. 

“Universities lack a centralized system because the dynamics differ so much through various universities, departments, and faculties. Those who could adapt to new circumstances, continue doing their work as always. But there are also older teachers or those who have no experience with digital technologies and we witness knowledge gaps for about 2 months”, tells us Oleh Malets. 

As for him, it is necessary to work on adaptability, the flexibility of the educational process, and the provision of technological equipment. In general, Lviv’s aim is STEM education, development of chemistry, physics, biology - sciences that involve experiments and research. Therefore, it is planned to open a STEM educational center, that will produce video blogs on how to conduct experiments. 

"So we will not only develop the natural sciences but also provide the promotion of Ukrainian-language content. Because this scientific area lacks it and schoolchildren are forced to watch in the Russian language”, says the head of MoloDvizh Center. 

Moreover, the special program was introduced to keep science specialists in Lviv. According to it, Hr 10,000 monthly scholarship is provided to 10-20 Lviv scientists during a year. In this way, the municipality encourages them to stay and work for the benefit of Lviv.

Participation in public life

Although the city pursues an active policy to involve young people in public life, the assessment of this subindex made up 0.72. Oleh Malets says that he expected a higher result.

“We do a lot to get young people involved in city life. So I felt that this indicator would be higher. But the data reveals that we have so much work ahead. The city has launched the agenda “Lviv 2020: Focus on culture” that contains the largest ever funding to support cultural institutions and to develop new creative products”, tells us Malets.

Also, the city has initiated a rapid response to the lockdown challenges - a competition, that allows getting funds for projects' implementation during the week. Puppet theater that gives performances in the Lviv yards is among the winners.

Security

Even though authorities installed a video surveillance system around the city a long time ago, the indicator of security and order in Lviv is 0,56. Oleh Malets sees an improvement of the Lviv environment as a possible solution. 

"If to make friendly yards, parks, squares, equip them with beautiful furniture, it can assist to increase the feeling of security in the city. There is a tendency that the more beautiful space is, the less attractive it is for marginalized groups”, says the head of the MoloDvizh Center.

Economic opportunities

The indicator of this subindex is 0,66. It contains employment and youth unemployment rates, entrepreneurial involvement, employment opportunities, labor migration, and housing policy. In Oleh Mallets' view, housing policy more related to national politics that needs to be reformed. While the support of small and medium-sized businesses is within municipal policy. 

“Lviv has for centuries been a manufactory, craft city. It is hard to imagine a sharp turn towards large industries. So the city’s task is to develop small and medium businesses. Our youth is very creative. But young and ambitious people often lack the knowledge and skills to implement their ideas. Therefore, the right solution to it is to teach. To train people so that they can explode with their cool projects”, Oleh Malets says.

The Center for Entrepreneurship Support was established in Lviv last year and the position of the Ombudsman for Business Development was also introduced. 

Malets is convinced that the more developed the business will be, the smaller staff outflow will be to other cities and abroad.

Lviv afterwards

The city authorities have been implementing the program “Lviv afterwards”, that provides a plan to overcome the crisis. According to Oleh Malets, it relies on the data of the Youth Wellbeing Index.

“In order not to lose cool initiatives amid the information flow, we want to create some kind of bank of ideas, which gonna be filled with projects for implementation," says Oleg Malets.

According to him, Lviv plans to evaluate the index once a year to monitor the dynamics of development. In his opinion, in a year we would see a "completely different world," in light of the fact how things have changed over the months of the pandemic.

“Our task is to respond to challenges in time”, says Oleh Malets.