Business concepts of energy efficiency: how pupils change the country

GURT Resource centre has been working for almost 20 years to implement the projects aimed at developing communities and strengthening their capability. Since 2007 one of the GURT instruments is development of entrepreneurial and leadership potential of community representatives.

During 2014-2015 with the financial support of Monsanto Fund GURT has implemented a project «Development of the Small Entrepreneurship in Ukrainian Rural Communities». The project is aimed at stiring up the entrepreneurial and leadership potential of the representatives of village communities of Kirovohrad, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr and Kyiv oblasts. As a result of business plans competition held within the project, 36 participants have received the financial support for the development of their start-ups (the total amount of financial support was more than 800 thousands hryvnias).

At the beginning of September 2014 within the communities involved in the project GURT carried out the event called “Which business ideas are necessary and could be successful within our community?”. In the Verhniachka village of Cherkasy oblast among the other participants was the principal of the lyceum №1 Liudmyla Denysiuk together with her pupils Oleksandr Voiedylov, Yuliia Tkachenko and Eliza Zaparovana. The pupils have presented their business concepts on energy efficiency.

“Being the teacher of physics I have been working on the issue of energy efficiency since 2004. I worked out my own optional courses, listings of ecological problems, hold the position of scientific adviser in the Minor Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (governmental organization of extracurricular education units in research and experimental area), but people around me didn’t show much interest in  the issue. In 2001 I registered the school in the SPARE network (School Project for Application of Recourses and Energy) and found there some partners – that was the starting point of the effective work. That experience inspired me a lot and opened up new prospects for me. After some time we started to implement our own projects. Nowadays our lyceum has a physical laboratory that uses solar batteries and wind driven generator”, — said the principal of the “green” lyceum Liudmyla Denysiuk.

Unfortunately the pupils’ ideas presented on the event haven’t yet been put into shape of business plans so they did not participate in the business plan competition. Nevertheless in the future these projects have every chance to become the realizable, socially useful and profitable businesses.

But it’s not the end of the story. In June 2015 as a result of the project “Development of the Small Entrepreneurship in Ukrainian Rural Communities” GURT organized a press-tour called “Start-ups in the villages – small steps leading to the great changes”. Journalists from more than 10 editorial offices visited the targeted villages and prepared a number of the success stories about several businessmen, participated in the project, and about communities where they live and work as well. Just at that event the journalist of the editorial office of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine “Education of Ukraine” Svitlana Halata brought the attention to the unusual lyceum in Verkhniachka village and its pupils. “After having listened to the fantastic story of the entrepreneur who together with his brother established the gym in Verkhniachka village and trained there future winners of international competitions we visited the local lyceum №1. The principal of the lyceum Liudmyla Denysiuk told that Verkhniachka educational complex is a pilot educational institution within a project “SPARE” that is focused on rational use of the resources and energy”.

It turned out that in the physics laboratory lyceum works on the construction of the wind driven generator and plans to mount it on the roof and generate electricity in such a way. Teachers and pupils of this school realize that energy efficiency is not only about economy of electricity and gas, but it is also about the use of recyclable materials.

“Teachers and pupils of the lyceum #1 believe that their actions are the “butterfly effect” which means that small changes, habits and actions cause the sequence of events leading to the great changes. Frankly speaking, I haven’t seen such schools even in the capital”, — Svitlana Halata stated.

After this visit the idea to write about unusual school in the small village in Cherkasy oblast came to the journalist. It turned out that the pupils – winners of national and international competitions – joined the project  “Development of the Small Entrepreneurship in Ukrainian Rural Communities”. For example, Iulia Tkachenko at the beginning of June 2015 visited international camp near the Tian Shan in Kazakhstan. She presented her own project “Cup — time-management”, which won the second place in the competition of youth projects concerning energy efficiency “Energy and environment”. In 2014 the pupils of 11th form Eliza Zaparovana and Ivan Doroshchyk got the prize-winning place in the “Energy and environment” competition with their project “The perspectives of production and usage of biogas based on the example of local agricultural enterprises”. They not only constructed the biogas-plant but also calculated that the amount of raw materials and waste products that is left after the locale farms is enough to heat the whole village. One more schoolboy – Oleksandr Voiedylov – works on the project on the use of the sunflower stems in heating.

After having collected necessary information and preparing the material about the “energy efficient” lyceum, Svitlana Halata participated in the blog competition, dedicated to the climate change problems which was arranged by the organization before the Paris Climate Summit. There were participants from Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia. Svitlana Halata’s publicationcalled “Butterfly effect. The lyceum pupil want to change their village and the whole country” won the 3rd position. Now the material about the unusual “green” school in the small Ukrainian village is published on the resources of UN Environment Summit.

A visit to Verhniachka village organized by GURT Resource centre inspired Svitlana Halata to write three more publications: “Be afraid of us, we will win” about the ‘dzhura’ game in school #2; “Champions train in Verhniachka village” dedicated to the gym founded by the winner ofproject “Development of the Small Entrepreneurship in Ukrainian Rural Communities” Bohdan Doroshenko; and “The pavestones from Maidan” the story about how lyceum #1 pupils marked the first anniversary of Dignity Revolution.

Translated by Pavlo ShybaU

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