A fictional Ukrainian town Vyshnehrai has a lot of potential but also faces various challenges in the spheres of urban planning, accessibility, and cybersecurity. During a project ideas hackathon, interested citizens developed, pitched, and voted on projects for the town’s improvement. Participants learned how to shape their community's future through collaborative efforts and joint initiatives, as well as got familiar with the Participatory Budget program that exists in many cities and villages of Ukraine. Fun fact: our participant’s spouse, having overheard her discussion with other players on possible Vyshnehrai development ideas, assumed it was a real town and got genuinely eager to move there!
The simulation game was supposed to be conducted for a second cohort of participants on February 24. Unfortunately, the full-scale Russian invasion that morning changed the plan. All project participants are safe.
The project’s core objective was to promote and strengthen communication skills of participants needed for building stronger and more united local communities. The game and the training component around it was designed to educate participants on utilizing resources available in communities for their improvement and development, including engaging different stakeholders in one’s own initiatives. Since the simulation game was based on the existing Participatory Budget mechanism, the players got a chance to understand how it works and how it can be potentially used in the real villages and cities of the participants.
30 young people, leaders, community activists, and people without prior experience.
Participants expressed that they had a better understanding of project management concepts, stating that the simulation game format effectively enhanced their ability to apply these principles in real-life situations. Participants got acquainted with the concepts of project application, budget, letters of support, how to build partnerships and attract resources, how to communicate with different community members working in different positions, etc. They also shared their enthusiasm for community engagement, with some stating their decision to promote the establishment of youth spaces in their respective communities.