Ukraine preparing for big cleanup (Feb 24)

Ukraine had it's first pilot cleanup in Kiew in 2010, engaging few thousand volunteers. This year they have set their goals much higher - expecting 50 000 people to step up and join in, they are preparing for their big countrywide cleanup day on 16th of April 2011. Read about how are they progressing, how bumpy has the ride been and much more in the interview with national media coordinator Oksana Ilyasevych.

In the picture: Oksana, at work and wearing a national costume to celebrate a national holiday

How have you been doing, what are you working on right now?

We are working on a lot of things right now. As I’m responsible for the communications part, I’m preparing for the shooting of three commercials with ukrainian celebrities on 15th of March. We got free studio for this, which is a big help. Also we are having negotiations of tv-channels and many of them have already agreed to give us free screentime for the campaign.

When will the media campaign start?

At the end of March we will start airing commercials – the main campaign will last for two weeks before the cleanup day. We have received a lot of support – we get free posting, outdoors. National and regional newspapers are introducing the action already. Many Ukrainian celebrities – singers, sportsman, painter and an actress are supporting us in public and participating in the campaign.

How are the preparations coming on in other areas?

We are still looking for the local coordinators in some regions. Ukraine has 25 different regions and for each of them we plan to have a regional team and a coordinator. Right now we have teams for most of them, but not all.

How big is your team and how is your work organized?

The coreteam is about 10 people – there are coordinators for logistics, media, volunteers, partners, regions, advertising, state authorities. Each coordinator works together with his/her team of volunteers. We don’t have any official NGO registered for the action, we just work as a team for the Let’s Do It Ukraine!

Have you registered already some people for the cleanup?

Registration is open now, but we are not very happy with the current system, it’s not userfriendly enough. So we got some help from a digital company, to make it better. Next week we will have new system or registrations, also intergrated to social media – contacti, facebooki, twitter. So hopefully this will make it easier for people.

What support have you received from the government or local municipalities?

We have writeen to the president but so far not gotten much response. The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Tourism supports us.

Local municipalities are open to our plans, but they have not taken very active approach. Right now they just watch what we are doing, so we don’t rely on them much. We are trying to attract regional companies instead, to join the action and help on a local level.

Have you mapped the garbage – how much is there?

We have garbage map, but it’s a bit complicated right now, the digital agency is helping us to make it more user friendly. At the end of march we will publicly announce mapping, as there is at the moment too much snow to do efficient mapping. Our egional coordinators work in hand with different organizations and will be setting up mapping events at the end of march – groups of bicycle riders will go on mapping tours, also invite the media. Mapping the regions is mostly in the hands of the regional coordinators and volunteer coordinators who are engaging local communities and groups for the garbage mapping.

What will happen on the 16th of April, the cleanup day?

We will have local organizer zones, where people meet in the morning and get necessary supplies, from there people will go out to the cleanup sites. There are some locations in each city – for example in Kiev there are already fixed 88 locations. There will be special zones for kids, where they will have educational games, to make it fun and interesting. The final setup of the locations will depend also on the mapping results, so we set it no sooner than at the beginning of April. 

How many people are you expecting to participate?

Our goal is 50 000 people.

How do you feel right now and how is the team doing?

Excited and bit nervous. The time seems too short, it feels like we need one more month for the preparations. Team spirit is really high, everyone is very inspired, working late at night. We didn’t know each other before, but now we are colleagues and becoming good friends.