12 March, 2017 14:23

“I can!” project will help girls become successful in Ukraine

Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation together with the Coca-Cola Foundation is launching a project aimed at supporting teenage girls and establishing communication between successful women and girls dreaming of self-development and access to good education. The project will bring together well-known women that will provide schoolgirls and female students with real life examples of designing a future model and becoming successful in business, politics, art, show business, and social or charity projects. More than 15 thousand girls from 100 schools and universities from all over the country will participate in the project. Helping them find their true selves is helping the whole society become healthier and more harmonious.
“I can!” project will help girls become successful in Ukraine / Elena Pinchuk Foundation

This program will form a part of the Safe Connection project that Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation implementing together with the Coca-Cola Foundation since 2011.

The core group will comprise successful women who had started with minimal opportunities and succeeded in various professional spheres of activity. They will be supported by men who believe that women are the main and the most important driving force of any community. Using various studies of the role of women and gender problems in Ukraine, the project initiators will conduct master classes for 14-16-year-old girls on the art of presentation, informational research, networking and other skills. Each female leader will visit at least one school during 2017 to deliver speech about her success and set an inspirational example for the young audience. These speeches will be recorded and videos will be uploaded to the safeconnection.org website to reach out to the bigger audience of boys and girls from various regions of Ukraine. Speakers will make short videos talking about ways to become self-sufficient and successful. Every school will have a chance to apply and invite a selected speaker.

The project will continue into a mentorship program open to female students who are ready to take independent actions to build their careers. They will have an opportunity to participate in so called “shadow program” with a selected mentor and spend a whole day with her following all her activities and meetings.

This project will result in the creation of a team of young female trainers who will be able to continue the project work in their communities empowering girls and helping them to choose a right role model. Establishing links between the participants, improving their communication and presentation skills and development of an active group of women who are ready to work with teenagers is a model capable of forming positive motivation for future leaders to shape their destinies and become successful. In addition, it will change the society itself so that it sees women as active, equal and independent personalities who deserve respect and support.

Gender equality problems in Ukraine

It is a proven fact that women are change agents of societies. If a state can ensure them access to good education and decent jobs, prevent teenage pregnancies and domestic violence, the number of women below the poverty line and vulnerable to HIV and other socially dangerous infections decreases.

A number of gender studies found that women in Ukraine are subject to discrimination in pay, access to resources and opportunities.

55% of Ukrainians believe that big businesses have to be headed by men and only 65% believe that women can lead big companies (Institute of Sociology of Ukraine).

Men usually earn 45% more than women doing the same work (Global Gender Gap Report 2015, World Economic Forum).

69% of men in Ukraine think that taking care of a household is a way of personal fulfillment just like having a job (United Nations Fund for Population Activities in Ukraine).

Only 14% of Ukrainian women have education and qualifications required to compete with men for top positions.

76% think that it’s a man who is the head of a family (Analytical Centre RATING Pro).

59% of Ukrainians believe that it’s a female responsibility to take care of the children.

Only 22% of Ukrainian men are ready to share household chores with a woman (Project of United Nations Fund for Population Activities in Ukraine).

70% of Ukrainians believe that men should be paid better than women (Analytical Centre RATING Pro).

The History of the Safe Connection Project

Safe Connection information resource created by Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation on social media and supported by The Coca-Cola Foundation started operating back in 2011. Its aim is to help socially and sexually active young people find information on HIV/AIDS issues, safe sex, and healthy lifestyle, pose a question to the Safe Connection experts, discuss the most successful social campaigns in the media, suggest their creative ideas – all in one place.

In the framework of this project, AINTIAIDS Foundation collaborates with numerous creative teams and celebrities who create their projects specially for Safe Connection. In 2012, The Maneken band shot a music video for their song called Safe Connection. In this single, the band’s composer and lead singer Eugene Filatov raised one of the most relevant issues in the modern Ukrainian society – the issue of spreading of HIV/AIDS among youth. The idea for the song was born due to the collaboration between The Maneken and Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation.

In 2012 games of the nationwide offline and online Safe Connection Quest, dedicated to fighting AIDS, took place in Kiev, Kharkov, Donetsk, Odessa and Lvov.

In the framework of the Safe Connection project, Elena Pinchuk AINTIAIDS Foundation developed a Safe Book mobile application, created for those willing to bring their sexual contacts in order. It was created specifically for iOS users who lead an active sexual life. Using this application, a user who has a big number of sexual contacts can better plan his sexual life and from time to time receive notifications about the necessity of protecting oneself from AIDS by using condoms.

In 2011 and 2012, Elena Pinchuk AINTIAIDS Foundation supported by the The Coca-Cola Foundation prepared a special sports and education Safe Games program for Z-Games Kazantip, the biggest sports and music festival in Eastern Europe. At the festival, the Foundation created a special zone of safe sex – Safe Connection Zone, that became one of the festival’s most popular spaces.

In 2013, led by Elena Pinchuk AINTIAIDS Foundation, star guests of Kiev’s Burn Battle School and International Breakdance Competition, MC Trix (UK/Germany), Physix (South Korea), Jaromeske (USA) recorded special videos for everyone who loves breakdancing. They urged youth to learn more about AIDS in order to protect themselves and their dear ones from the HIV infection.

In 2013, in the framework of the project a Safe Connection, internet platform (www.safeconnection.org) was launched – a communication resource that comprises information on healthy lifestyle, safe sex, and HIV/AIDS prevention. One of the most talked about articles published on the platform was a video diary of a bed-bound HIV-positive young man. He regularly recorded videos about his everyday life for Safe Connection in order to warn and prevent young people from making mistakes he had made in his life. Due to this diary, the young man found the strength within him to keep fighting the disease and started walking once again. That very same year, supported by the project, a seminar by the Society of Free Communication entitled ‘Tolerance. Freedom. Love’ took place. It brought together leaders of youth organizations from all over Ukraine and engaged them in a constructive dialogue. One of the key topics of the discussion was the problem of tolerance towards HIV-infected people in our society.

In 2014, a series of free seminars entitled ‘Opportunities of Networks Know No Limits, or Key Principles of Online Campaigns and Effective Fundraising’ started. Best Ukrainian experts were invited to participate. They talked to representatives of NGOs, charity and social projects, journalists and student activists from the regions about technology, their own experience in online communications, low or no budget internet campaigns, as well as attracting additional funds for charity projects.

In June 2015, in Kiev, due to the project, training dedicated to a healthy lifestyle and AIDS issues took place, with 108 participants of the final round of the Nationwide Children’s Leather Ball – Coca-Cola Cup football contest, children coming from Dnipro, Zaporozhye, Zakarpatye, Kirovograd, Rovno, Chernovtsy and Chernigov regions. Overall, 436 kids attended the training during the contest. It helped them shape a responsible attitude to their health and realize the conscious and practical value of such behavior.

In 2015, ICTV TV channel together with Safe Connection announced the start of the ‘I Will Make It!’ action. Every morning in the studio of Morning in the Big City on ICTV, its presenters offered viewers various tests aimed at improving their health and developing useful habits. The first test was aimed at bringing awareness about sexual safety and was led by the ‘I Use a Condom!’ motto. During the action, viewers learnt about numerous social initiatives that any Ukrainian can join in order to make a step towards a more qualitative and healthy life.

In the framework of the Safe Connection project in August 2015, an open #яцезможу (#iwillmakeit) fitness marathon took place. During the whole day, all visitors of X-Park extreme park could attend workshops and trainings held by the best clubs and instructors for free. Participants of the marathon could discover new kinds of sports, attend workshops by well-known instructors, take part in group games, attend a lecture dedicated to a healthy and active lifestyle.

In the summer of 2015, the Safe Connection project organized a program dedicated to fighting AIDS at the most important jazz event of the year – Jazz Koktebel 2015 festival.

In February 2016, right before St. Valentine’s Day, Arsenal of Love and a special Safe Love Zone project were launched in Mystetskyi Arsenal. This project was initiated by Elena Pinchuk AINTIAIDS Foundation supported by The Coca-Cola Foundation. Safe Love Zone program that is part of the Safe Connection project comprised lectures, discussions, and meetings with Ukrainian trendsetters and celebrities. They helped to greatly broaden what Ukrainians knew about sex and love bordering with art, photography, film, literature, and psychology. Everyone who felt responsible for their health could join workshops on theory and practice of condoms use, as well as listen to a fashionable review of a healthy lifestyle. All those in love could testify their feelings and virtually marry in the Digital Registry Office. For four days, a point of quick and free HIV tests operated, consultations on HIV/AIDS prevention, safe sex and healthy lifestyle were held. Furthermore, all guests could get free condoms.

In May 2016, Elena Pinchuk AINTIAIDS Foundation started a project entitled ‘Kilometers of good’ aimed at advancing an active lifestyle. The project’s start coincided with the 6th Kyiv Half Marathon that took place in the capital on April 17. Ukrainian celebrities took part urging Ukrainians to come to the half marathon and contribute to charity at the website of the Ukrainian Stockmarket of Charity in order to support the work of mobile clinics for HIV-positive children.

In May 2016, the Safe Connection project opened the Garden of Earthy Pleasures at the Night Market by Kurazh Bazar at Art-Zavod Platforma. Visitors of the garden learnt about ways of making their sex safe and their safety sexy and creative. Advanced guests got answers to the most intimate questions and ‘gathered’ sexual and educational fruits from the tree of desire. During the action, workshops on using condoms took place.

In summer of 2016, Epolets band together with the Safe Connection project shared 1 000 condoms in a collector’s wrapping with their fans to protect them from AIDS. For the festival summer, the band created a special show during which, together with the confetti, hundreds of branded condoms were thrown to fan zones of Ukraine’s best festivals as an exclusive merchandise from Epolets band.

That same year, brought by Elena Pinchuk AINTIAIDS Foundation, famous Ukrainians came together in a creative photo project that helped raise charity funds for nine implants (occluders) for children with congenital heart defects. A Window View project became a photo book that comprises pictures made by Maryna Karpiy from windows of Ukrainian artists, sportsmen, journalists, businessmen, and civil activists. All texts accompanying the photos are written by the participants themselves. The books were limited edition. Pavlo Makov, a painter, offered his work Touch №4 as a cover.

In autumn of 2016, the Safe Connection project opened a Healthy Future Station at the BestKNUFest music festival that took place in the student town of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kiev. The student community is the key target audience for projects on HIV-infection prevention. It is the students who are most vulnerable to HIV infection due to their high sexual and social involvement. There was a quick HIV test point at the Healthy Future Station; consultations were given on HIV/AIDS prevention and healthy lifestyle.

On December 1, 2016, marking the World AIDS Day, the Safe Connection project together with HUB 4.0 held an informational and educational program 4 Steps to 0 AIDS. On this day, everyone could take part in four different stations – four trainings by well-known experts of safe sex and HIV/AIDS, and receive the needed knowledge and practical skills in order to diminish the risks of HIV infection to zero.

On December 11, 2016, in Kiev, supported by the project, a premiere of a documentary play Do Not Tell Anyone took place. It was based on a true story of two HIV-positive teenagers born with HIV. Today they live openly without hiding their faces and lead an active social life. Together with their peers, they created a Teenergizer youth organization that helps them fight discrimination and protect the rights of teenagers, develop and contribute to revealing their creative potential.

For detailed information, please, contact Pavel Piminov, Communications Director, Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation: +380 44 490 4805, [email protected].

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