Foundation UNION self-development - community development

Kherson Regional Charitable Foundation "Union" was created in 2011 to improve relations in the community to establish a democratic civil society in Ukraine, promotion of human rights and protection from adverse effects.

Foundation in its work is focusing on the use of new media technologies that leading experts in the US and Europe use to create a platform of socially active people who are willing to change themselves and positively change the space around them.

Some of our International Partners and Friends:

The structure of the Fund consists of lawyers, IT and media specialists, linguists, journalists and students.

We believe that self-development aimed at community development is the basis of positive changes in society.

The Fund has focused its activities in three main areas:

Media Development

Our Foundation has been developing public journalism in Ukraine since 2013. In this direction, we started our work as a partner of the television company Morion and the Institute for the Development of Creative Technologies and the Media.

We created the first public media channel Ukraine Social Community in Ukraine, which broadcasted real-time video programs on the Internet. Our work at that time was innovative, and we started cooperation with Google Ukraine.

Later this cooperation led to a joint project for the development of the Kherson region with Google, the regional administration and the city administration. The project was called "Digital Transformation of the Kherson region" (see information in Open Data section).

At the end of 2013, we created the Kherson media channel TV Union, where were the weekly online program "Kherson Online" with the participation of the Kherson region residents. The goal of the program was to enable Kherson residents to learn more about interesting residents of the city, and to join in an online conversation with them. All the programs were broadcasted in real time on YouTube, Google+, Twitter, Facebook and the Foundation's website. Thus, a virtual discussion platform was created between Kherson region residents.

In 2014, during the totalitarian regime of Yanukovych's rule, in Ukraine, the parliament adopted "laws from January 16" (or "laws of dictatorship") restricting freedom of speech. According to the adopted laws, Ukrainian public organizations were equated with foreign agents, and popular Ukrainian bloggers and public information web resources needed to register as media.

These laws also limited the freedom of the Internet and infringed the right of ordinary citizens to express their views freely.

At this time, our Foundation launched a new online program on the media channel TV Union called "The Society Talks", in which public figures and activists of the Kherson region took part. The purpose of the program was to widely inform the public in the region about the activities of non-profit organizations, to convey the importance and necessity of their existence, and to defend the right to free Internet and freedom of speech with the goal of democratic development of society.

In 2014, for public figures, journalists and bloggers of the Kherson region, we conducted 7 trainings on the use of modern Internet technologies in their work.

In May 2014, small media groups for quick response were created, which consisted of three participants: a representative of a public organization, a journalist (or blogger), and a human rights defender. Several such groups in Kherson went to polling stations during the elections of the mayor and the President of Ukraine to monitor offenses and instantaneous coverage of events on the Internet.

The experience of these groups formed the basis of the online training course "Media tools of small rapid response groups" developed by our Foundation

In response to the new challenges that Ukraine faced after the annexation of the Crimea by the Russian Federation, our Foundation, together with partners from other regions, organized a number of events and trainings for public figures, journalists and bloggers in Ukraine on the subject of counterpropaganda in cyberspace.

We conducted trainings on the topics of identifying fakes on the Internet, verifying news content, configuring the security of personal data on the network, predicting human behavior through computer analysis of large data of events and sentiments in the world.

The training modules were built in such a way that the topic was clear to everyone. And in order to reach the largest possible audience in Ukraine, a special online training course "Counterpropaganda. Simply about the complex."

In 2015, we held the First School of the Hyperlocal Community Media Creation for activists from the Southern parts of Ukraine. We’ve got to this School 5 times more applications from all over Ukraine than could take.

According to the results of the School, 11 new local media were created in the South, and also developed an online course. This School was supported by the US Embassy in Ukraine.

Also in 2015, we have been working on the Kherson and Odessa regions to reduce hate speech among young people and members of the media with the support of DVV International

In 2016, we continued our work in this direction, and held the Second School of the Hyperlocal Community Media Creation, within the framework of which we conducted training for the East, Center and South of Ukraine.

Also, in the framework of this activity, we conducted a large research on the state of development of hyperlocal media in Ukraine and the United States. According to the results of the project, our graduates created 10 new local media. This time we were supported by NED

Because the East of Ukraine was not included in the School of Hyperlocal Media, in 2016 we started working with activists living in the territories of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions that are controlled by Ukraine. The main goal of this work is to raise the level of information impact of pro-Ukrainian media on the territory of Donetsk and Lugansk regions. This activity was supported by the US Embassy in Ukraine

34 new media were created in 25 cities during 3 years in our Hyperlocal Media School in Ukraine

Open Data

In 2013, we created the first online platform in Ukraine using geo-technologies, which allowed residents of Kherson to learn how much public funds were allocated for the repair of roofs, gutters, elevators, etc. specifically to their apartment building for 2011-2017.

Kherson Map of Districts

Thanks to this, we became the only organization in the country who received a license from Google to use their Google Maps Engine Pro system. Also, after this, similar resources began to appear throughout Ukraine (Kiev, Odessa, Vinnitsia, Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi etc).

Thanks to this, we became a member of the Microsoft BizSpark program, having access to the official software of Microsoft.

In the years 2014-2015 with Google Ukraine, our Foundation has launched several online resources that make government activities more transparent.

To manage municipal property of Kherson City Council a map of communal property was developed. There you can see all the objects owned by the city, which leased. On the map for each object shows its area, who rents it, at what price and so on.

City Municipal Enterprise “Vodokanal” for the first time in the city history together with our Foundation "Union" created the “Map of Emergency Work” on which now everyone can see where the repair is made, what its’ stage and when it will be completed.

Also we created Map of the investment objects in Kherson.

In 2015, in partnership with the International Fund "Renaissance" our Foundation realized the project "Community: Open Initiative" to involve communities in the management of their cities through skilful use of open public data.

5 anti-corruption initiatives were implemented in Kherson

Map for monitoring illegal deforestation was developed

It designed to simplify the cooperation of police and ordinary citizens in protecting the forest.

Later it was taken for administration by Tsyurupynsk forestry.

Also we developed a map of Kherson road infrastructure repair. Later that data began to conduct officially in Kherson city council.

In the village Lyubymivka map for monitoring the lighting was developed, which allows monitoring the presence and location of lights around the village. Thanks to the map, corruption schemes in the allocation of public funds for the lighting were found, and subsequently lighting plan of settlement was redesigned.

We organized I Open Data Forum in Kherson

In 2015 during the TechForum in Kiev conducted by the US State Department, our Foundation and partners developed the concept of a unified online system of public school budgets, that can help to reduce corruption schemes of the administration of educational institutions and make accounting of charitable assistance by them more transparent.

TechForum in Kiev

In 2016 in Kherson we started working on the implementation of the system. We conducted a series of focus groups with parents of educational institutions, found out what kind of problems exists and their possible solutions. In April 2016, along with six NGOs we created the Coalition of NGOs "For parents rights to transparent charity in educational institutions", which started its work on promoting the idea of introducing online system.

In June 2016 the Coalition lobbied the decision of the Kherson City Council to create a Procedure on transparent obtain, use and registration of charitable assistance for the purposes of communal education institutions, which simplifies the creation of charitable foundations in the educational institutions and introduction of the online system.

In September 2016 we held in Kherson II OPEN DATA FORUM

presenting for 250 members and school administration developed a beta version of the online system

and received feedback from them regarding the introduction of such a system.

In 2017 in Department of education of Kherson City Council was created a working committee on the implementation the platform of transparent budgets in schools, by the decision of which 6 pilot schools in Kherson were implemented online system in which are shown donations from parents in April 2017.

For further implementation of the system in the other educational institutions, it is necessary to supplement the functionality by displaying of public funding.

Communities Building

From 2014 to 2016, we implemented a joint project with Google Ukraine, the regional state administration and city authorities. The task of the project was to increase the tourist and investment potential of the Kherson region.

1st Google Map Camp

2 Map Camps were conducted: in the city and region (in October 2014 and May 2015), where Google mapmakers from around the country detailed and newly put infrastructure, buildings, roads, digitized attractive tourist sites of the territory and put their photospheres on Google Maps. Among these objects are: Oleshkivski sands, Dzharylhach island, Ascania-Nova, Biryuchiy island, reed valleys of future Nizhniodniprovskiy National Park, the Black Sea coast (Zalizniy Port village, Lazurne, Skadovsk - resort city of the state value), Kherson city

2 round tables with representatives of the tourist business, government, Heads of National Parks, representatives of the direction of eco-tourism and other active organizations of the Kherson region were held

2 educational seminars for local governments were held, where Google specialists described how to optimize work of the authorities with their websites. These experts have offered many interesting digital initiatives, and some of them already have been reached

2 IT-seminars for small and medium businesses were held

2 seminars for representatives of Kherson education institutions were held, where about 500 students learned practical use of Google products in their work

We created "The Map of the Kherson Historic Center". All previous maps were like incarnation of our mind, and this – of our heart. The most significant historical buildings and places, by which Kherson can be proud, are marked there.

The Map of the Kherson Historic Center

Now everyone can see what was the historic building before and how it looks now, and read about its’ the most interesting facts

The result of the project also was the development of the website “Discover Kherson”, dedicated to reserved territories of the Kherson region. The site has collected many photo and video materials from the best photographers of the Kherson region, photospheres of cartographers from Google Map Maker and Panorama communities, tours for tourists on Google Maps.

Thanks to this site, tourists from Ukraine and all around the world can meet interesting places of the region

Moreover, we made a documentary film about the unique natural wealth of the Kherson region, it demonstrates the impact of digital transformation on the development and improvement of the region. We shoot the region as nobody did it before!

In 2015-2016, we developed a local community of mapmakers. We conducted 15 workshops in 9 localities. 600 people were trained how they can use online maps for the development of their cities.


2 years in a row we organized regional MapUps - competitions which aims to develop the tourism potential of the Kherson region through editing of Google Maps. All of them was financially supported by local and regional authorities and a number of Ukrainian communities and organizations.

In 2015 competiotion participants made almost 4000 amendments to Google Maps

In 2016 competiotion participants made 21 551 amendments to Google Maps

Since 2015, we have become a partner of the British Council Ukraine in the Active Citizens program. Thanks to this, we trained more than 300 people throughout the Kherson region, built partnerships at local levels between authorities and society, and helped to obtain international financing for the development of 12 settlements in the Kherson region for a total of about one million hryvnas

We organized 3 social projects' pitching in Kherson, Skadovsk and Novonikolayevka, in which the ideas of activists were funded by British Council, Skadovsky and Kherson city councils, as well as the Novonikolaevsky village council

To support the network of our alumni, we hold annual Active Citizens Forums where successful cases are presented and new partnerships are being established

Approaches in the work

Regardless of whether the Foundation have funding from international donors or not - we perform all its obligations, in order to achieve the stated purpose of the organization.

We believe that the presence or absence of personal income of the Fund’s members has no impact on the work effectiveness of the Foundation for its programs and projects.

Each year, members of the Foundation determine priority areas of work for a few years, taking into account the situation in the country, the needs of local communities, the development of modern Internet technologies, and more.

The Foundation always supports personal and professional development of its members, encouraging them to participate in local, national and international training events and conferences.





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