DRI Debates in Lviv: Professional Debaters do not Move on to the Next Round

Participants of DRI’s student debate tournament ‘Decide for your City’ came together on 14-15 March in Lviv to defend their projects and the right to use the participatory budget (PB) for their implementation. The five student teams from four different cities also questioned whether each other’s projects deserved funding. In the end, the teams from Brody and Ostroh and not the professional debaters from Lviv and Chernivtsi appeared to be the most convincing in terms of the relevance, innovation and budget efficiency of their project proposals.

Who presented the projects and how?

The team from Brody presented the PB project ‘Sound Barrier’, which would help people with hearing impairments get more information. The idea of the project is to launch a special application called Mimix and localize it within the area of Brody in order to facilitate communication among people with hearing impairments. According to the team, such an initiative is extremely important, considering that almost 3% of town inhabitants are people with hearing impairments.

The team from Chernivtsi proposed to implement a hackathon of public activism with the participation of schoolchildren. The idea of the hackathon is to invite students of grades 9-11 for a six-day training in order to engage them in city development projects.

Lviv-4 team chose a safe area for its PB project, which was called ‘Smart City: CCTV Monitoring’. According to the authors, the project would be implemented in stages: first, special CCTV cameras with analytical equipment would be installed. Second, the team proposed that all data from CCTV cameras be processed by a dispatcher on a special server. Finally, the information would be collected and processed from the cameras and, in the event of offences, shared with the police, or used to inform and warn citizens.

Lviv-2 team was inspired by the idea of offline training and the word that best describes the Lviv-2 team’s proposed project is ‘multidisciplinary’. The project itself would become a ‘platform-intermediary’ for those who seek to learn from both international and national specialists, as well as those who want to share knowledge and help others deepen it. The so-called OfflineHub would be an exchange platform for people willing to improve themselves and feel social responsibility for educational development. The project would initially be implemented using the existing network of libraries and informal education institutions before creating a special space for communication and education at a later stage.

The team from Ostroh presented a project aimed at building an inclusive children’s playground called ‘Childhood without Borders’. As stressed by Ostroh inhabitants, the issue of creating inclusive playgrounds for the city is extremely important. Despite having two schools for children with speech, hearing and developmental disorders in the city, there are currently no inclusive playgrounds.

The event was carried out in partnership with the Lviv city council, whose representatives expressed that the dynamics of submitting and implementing participatory budget projects in Lviv illustrates one of the most successful examples of local authorities and civil society coming together.

The jury panel for the Lviv debates consisted of: Artem Stelmashov (Kyiv city council), Natalia Lipska (author of several PB projects implemented in Lviv) and Julia Hvozdovych (a deputy from the Lviv city council).

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