18 May 2024
Децентралізація
A USAID program helps youths begin a meaningful career in the local government
A USAID program helps youths begin a meaningful career in the local government

Since October 2023, Stepan Kuvik has worked as a database and grants writer at the Yasinya Village Council’s Department of International Cooperation and Project and Investment Activities in Zakarpattia Oblast. Stepan finds developing grant proposals and evaluating potential investments exciting and important, filling him with a sense of significance as he begins his professional journey.


Stepan is a 23-year-old master’s degree graduate of International Relations, Public Communications, and Regional Studies at Chernivtsi National University. He was a barista in a local café when Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. But everything seemed halted when Russia’s unprovoked war began, and his work ended. However, what seemed to be the end of a fun job turned out to be the beginning of a civil service career.

In March 2023, the USAID HOVERLA Activity introduced a youth internship program to expose young people to local governments' functioning, operational procedures, and instruments. The initiative is part of the Activity’s program to strengthen decentralization reform, supporting local governments to become more self-reliant, accountable to citizens, and able to provide services effectively. Stepan was among those who applied for an internship in Zakarpattia.

The 10-day program included familiarizing the interns with the local council structure, its powers and tasks, networking with community leaders, preparing local government regulations, general office work, and participating in meetings and local government sessions.

Says Stepan:

“The youth internship program at the Yasinya Village Council taught me many things and opened significant opportunities for me. I learned how local governments work, became acquainted with community leadership, and collaborated with civic organizations. The internship program changed my life. It was a profound experience and an opportunity to contribute to positive changes in the community.”

In his current role, Stepan envisions tackling a spectrum of challenges, primarily focusing on environmental concerns, youth engagement in community improvement, and harnessing Yasinya's expansive tourism potential. Emphasizing the pivotal role of youth involvement, Stepan would like to contribute to establishing a youth council and a dedicated youth center within the community. He envisions these initiatives as catalysts for heightened youth engagement and multifaceted development. “I intend to stay in this job and help my community,” declared Stepan.

"For communities, the youth internship program is an opportunity to look at their activities from a new angle of development, hear creative ideas and opinions from the outside, as well as actively communicate with the youth. Young people are not afraid of change and experiments; they embody creative ideas, as proven in our internship," says Natalia Kharbaka, head of the internship program and the head of international cooperation and project and investment activities of the Yasinia Village Council.

HOVERLA has trained 70 youths from seven oblasts, seven of whom have found permanent jobs in their local government.

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