Winners of Civic Initiative prizes
The winners of the national Civic Initiative prize have been announced in Moscow.
The 13 Laureates of the 2017 national Civic Initiative prize received the Golden Sprout trophy and a financial reward of 200,000 roubles. Approximately 2700 social projects and initiatives from 75 regions of Russia took part in the competition, and 78 of these were shortlisted – six projects for each of the 13 prize categories. The Moscow ceremony came after the regional stages of the competition, which took place in the town of Satka (Chelyabinsk Oblast), Khanty-Mansi, Murmansk and Ulyanovsk.
“We came up with this prize because we wanted people to know more about activists who, often despite adverse circumstances, want to help other people,” says Aleksey Kudrin, the Chair of the Committee for Civic Initiatives: “Generally speaking they do not expect any kind of award. But we want their experiences to be made public.” Since its inception 5 years ago, the Civic Initiative prize has evolved into a real movement, he added, 21 regional competitions have been conducted, and 3 million people have taken part in the voting process. “I would like civil society in our country to grow. Without initiatives expecting action from the government, we will not be able to build an interesting society, we will not change it. There has to be movement from below, and we are working from this starting point,” Kudrin explained.
“Each civic initiative has its own separate story with a unique plot, and human lives behind it. Unfortunately, on the whole, we only know about those who live and work within the Garden Ring [the Ring Road around central Moscow]. The aim of our competition is to be loud about the passionate people all over Russia. And we are very pleased that the prize is growing in geographic scope, and attracts more bright, strong and meaningful initiatives. I’ve noticed that almost all this year’s Laureates have travelled to Moscow from faraway regions,” says Yulia Gusman, Civic Initiative’s Artistic Director and member of the Committee for Civic Initiatives.
The public self-administration for the territory of “Mostovaya Sloboda” from Ulyanovsk Oblast won the Golden Sprout category. Since 2013, activists from the organisation have been tackling illegitimate dumping, improving the area, and organising cultural and sporting events: 3 million inhabitants working to improve 300 hectares of land.
The St Petersburg Charity Marathon, which is organised by the Bright Life and AdVita charitable funds, was nominated for the Healthy Nation category. The project aims to help children with serious illnesses, popularise a healthy way of life, active pastimes and family values. The marathon will take place in St Petersburg for the third time in summer 2018.
The Outstretched Hand category was won by the Search for Lost Children project from Surgut. A group of volunteers, created a few years ago, took part in dozens of search operations, returning many children and adults to their homes.
Emerald House from Krasnoyarsk Kray was the winner in the Family of the Future category. The cultural and educational projects for those living in rural Siberia aims to change young people’s attitude towards “the aesthetics and ecology of rural populations”.
Doomed to Die in Captivity, a volunteer movement to help seriously ill prisoners, from Chelyabinsk Oblast was the winner of the Civic Initiative prize in the category “There’s no such thing as someone else’s misery”. “It just so happens that our movement is connected with Dr Liza [Elizabeth Glinka, the Executive Director of Fair Assistance, known as Dr Liza, who died in 2016 when Ministry of Defence humanitarian aid plane RF Tu-154 crashed en route to Syria. – Ed. Asi]. In 2013, we visited a penal colony in Belgorod Oblast with her and helped one of the inmates. You know how difficult it is to help people, stereotypes about whom push society to hate, condemn, tyrannise, because they have done something bad. The fact that we have been recognised means a lot to me. I hope that the hatred in our hearts will be overcome by budding love and compassion,” says Oksana Trufanova, the project’s director, according to Federal Press.
The Baikal Rights Centre “Peaceful Legacy” project was honoured in the “Spiritual Legacy” category. The project ages to protect against crime and antisocial behaviour amongst young people.
The “Russia is home to all of us” category was won by a regional resource centre for welfare NGOs, which addresses the problems of migrants from Ukraine and other countries. The Vera Centre for Social Initiatives trains staff from social NGOs, creates a cohesive informational resource for NGOs from 12 regions of Russia, summarises and disseminates best practice and guidance materials on the integration of migrants.
The “Music for Children” project from Bashkortostan was recognised in the “Save a life” category. The project aims to organise music therapy in the oncology departments in the Republic’s Children’s Clinical Hospital. Teachers from the Virtuoso musical school have held music lessons in medical facilities since 2013.
The “Map of Nizhny Novgorod’s Green Areas” project by activists from the Dront Ecological Centre won in the Green Planet category. The activists are evaluating the state of Nizhny Novgorod’s green areas, and are encouraging the city’s residents to study these areas.
Club Delostar’s project from Ulyanovsk Oblast, “Integrating elderly people in modern society” won the Memory prize. Club Delostar runs business training for older people as well as providing them with psychological support.
The School of the Public Defender, a joint project between Sitting Rus and the Sakharov Centre, won the “Air of freedom”. The rights project was designed for those who want to know about their rights and learn how to protect themselves and their nearest and dearest in court in criminal and administrative cases, as well as from unlawful actions by law enforcement authorities when in police stations. “So far the “air of freedom in Russia” is only a category, but we will continue to do everything possible so more and more people can breathe in freedom,” explained the project’s creator.
Boomerang of Kindness – a rehabilitation centre for children with health problems and disabled young people – was recognised in the “Pushing the limits of the possible” category. The Project was created in the buildings of one of the school’s in Snezhinsk (Chelyabinsk Oblast).
A team of independent journalists from Perm Kray called Fourth Sector won the “New Word” category.
The Civic Initiative Prize was founded in 2013 by the Committee for Civic Initiatives.