Fostering and support to local civic initiatives
‘Top-Kaya’ seeks to strengthen the role of civil society organizations in Ukraine and to facilitate their organizational development. Since 2010, these activities have been supported by the National Endowment of Democracy (NED), and the partner organization “People in Need” (Czech Republic). They include education (trainings, seminars and consulting for civil society organizations and NGOs on project design, organizational management, team building, volunteerism), methodological support (literature, films, consultations), organizing Crimean fair of local community initiatives (two-day event for 60 representatives of local Crimean NGOs and 40 participants from other regions of Ukraine to exchange ideas and success stories), maintenance of a space for dialogue and new partnerships www.ngocrimea.org (creation and continuous administration of the website).
Policy development in cooperation with local authorities
The main focus of the Center is to support regional development, in particular by assisting local authorities in strategic planning and development of economically and socially important sectors, such as for instance tourism (major income and job generating sector in Crimea). Examples include: participation in the development of the Strategic Plan for the Bakhchisaray district and Crimea’s Development Strategy (in cooperation with UNDP), expert advice on economic development issues, project proposal writing and facilitation of work groups, delivering a training program “Methods of public participation in decision-making” to students and NGOs in order to build their skills of cooperation with local authorities and influencing local policies.
Cultural and educational activities
The Center supported school and youth groups and worked closely with teachers to disseminate dynamic teaching methods. High school students were taught to create Euro-clubs, film clubs and debate clubs in their schools, and to actively participate in social activities.
Another priority of “Top-Kaya” was the cultural development of Crimea. The Center initiated and implemented a variety of cultural activities and events in Bakhchysaray and other cities. Among other things, a crafts workshop was founded in Bakhchysaray, special courses in “Folk Art”, national painting techniques and Easter egg painting were offered in local schools.
The development of intercultural dialogue based on tolerance
The organization is recognized as a leader in the field of non-formal education, intercultural dialogue and tolerance promotion in Crimea. “Top-Kaya” was a regional partner in the nationwide campaign “Tolerance as a Way to Europe”. In autumn of 2008 the Center arranged a series of flash mobs for young people with a focus on religious and ethnic tolerance, coexistence of different cultures, and problems of young drug addicts. In spring 2009, the organization implemented, with the support of the German Marshall Fund’s Board of Trustees, the International Camp of Tolerance ‘Unique culture – United Europe’ in Bakhchysaray where it welcomed guests from Georgia, Azerbaijan, Romania and Poland.
Developing cooperation and networking with Ukrainian NGOs
Since 2008, the Center ‘Top-Kaya’ represents the all-Ukrainian network “Civil Initiatives of Ukraine” (ngonetwork.org.ua) in Crimea, and actively participates in developing the network’s strategy and implementing its activities. In 2013, the Center organized a study visit to Simferopol and Bakhchisaray for members of NGOs from the Eastern Ukraine. Top-Kaya’s representatives were actively involved into the preparation and carrying out the national forum “From Idea to Success”.