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Some of our Projects

Historical Map of Kherson Kherson MapMakers Community Kherson Map of Districts Discover Kherson
We just started English version, so you will see much more information on this website soon ;)

II Kherson Regional MapUp 2016


We are launching II Kherson Regional MapUp 2016, which aims to develop the tourism potential of the Kherson region through editing of Google Maps. 

The competition is held in the period from April 15, 8:00 to 25 April 2016 20:00 during which there will be identified and marked the most active mapmakers, who performed the most amount of Google Maps detail in Kherson region.

To take part in competition - you should live in Ukraine, be 16 years old, and register: https://map-maker-events.appspot.com/SecondKsMapUp/

This is the second regional competition in the region, which is financially supported by local and regional authorities and a number of Ukrainian communities and organizations.

The event is organized by Kherson Regional Charitable Foundation "UNION" in partnership with the Ukrainian community Google MapMaker Ukraine, local Kherson community of Google MapMaker and with the support of the Kherson Regional State Administration, Kherson city council and the assistance program "Territory of Development", implemented by the Center AHALAR with financial support of Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (Michigan, USA), National Endowment For Democracy (Washington, USA) and PDCS, Partners for Democratic Change Slovakia (Bratislava, Slovakia).


Interview with founders of hyperlocal community media iPutney


iPutney - a non-profit news site of Putney city community that in Vermont, USA. We interviewed the team of publishers who for 7 years are successfully engaged in community journalism.

Tell shortly please, when did you create your community media? Did you do it alone? What is your team now?
First I will describe our community.  We are a small town of approximately 2700 people in the state of Vermont, USA.  iPutney was started by two people after hearing from members of the community that there should be a "place" to go to learn about what is happening in town.  What began as a small group of citizens gathering approximately once per month, evolved in to the online forum know as iPutney.  This was approximately twelve years ago.


Did you have some funding at the start of creation? What was the amount of it?
At first we had no sponsors or budget.  When we found that we needed a small budget to assist with technical issues, such as web hosting and troubleshooting, we looked to community non-profit organizations for help.  We have four private educational institutions in our town (unusual for such a small town) and they donated $100-150 each. They remain our only donors.

By the way here are their websites:
  • www.putneyschool.org
  • www.landmark.edu 
  • www.tgs.org
  • www.greenwood.org

Do you have salaries? Is that your only work or it is more like your hobby? 
We are a five person team of volunteers. We do not have salaries.  Again, we are a very small town. It may make sense for you to look at models that more closely match your community demographic (though we enjoy our contact with you and are happy to answer your questions).

iPutney WebSite

What is approximate amount you spent for your media in a month?
We use the Wordpress platform and pay very little. Total costs are about $100 a year for hosting. When we built the site, we spent about $150 in WordPress Theme and plugins.

What are you goals for development of your media?
Good question!  I think the iPutney organizers should get together to discuss this.  We recently changed platforms from "Geeklog" to Wordpress" and have been ironing out some wrinkles (problems) to make our site run smoothly allowing people to submit announcements and stories to the site.  Smooth operation is our current goal.  Another goal may be to update our sponsors' donations.

Does your media earn some money from advertisement or smth else?
No.  The small amount of $ we have from sponsors is put toward site development.

Can you call yourself absolutely independent media?
I believe we can.  

What are the difficulties in your work?
Since we are all volunteer, I think the distribution of workload among volunteers is an issue.  Some volunteers work more on the site than others and we do not want anyone to "burn out" or get tired and leave.  Also, sometimes technical issues arise that are beyond our abilities to manage.  In this case we look for people with more expertise to help.  Sometimes we pay these people a small fee.  Another thing that is difficult is deciding what we DO NOT publish and what our publishing parameters are.

And maybe you could give some advices for those Ukrainians who are going to create their own community media and don’t know what to start from and where to get funding from. 
My advice would be to check out other examples that closely match your own ideas.  Here is an example that is both print and online from the nearby community of Brattleboro, Vermont, USA

TheCommonsOnline - they use, primarily, advertising and independent donations to fund their media operation.  They also have some paid employees.   

Best of luck to you!  

Interviews were conducted under the Project "Fostering Civic Journalism in Ukrainian's Regions", supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The views of the authors do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. government.

Interview with founders of hyperlocal community media iBrattleboro

Lise LePage and Christopher Grotke in Brattleboro, VT, US
Brattleboro - a cozy town in American "Green Mountain State" - Vermont, USA. Today we offer to get acquainted with its community media iBrattleboro, and interviewed their founders.

Tell shortly please, when did you create your community media? Did you do it alone? What is your team now?
Lise LePage and Christopher Grotke started iBrattleboro.com in February of 2003. We act as guides and moderators. The number of people in the community that have signed up to contribute news, events, or opinions is now close to 4,000 people. Brattleboro, Vermont, our town, has a population of 12,000.

Did you have some funding at the start of creation? What was the amount of it?
There was no funding. We customized some open-source software, and spent a small amount of money to buy the domain name.

What is the amount of funding now? Who are the donors?
There is no regular funding. Users of the site make occasional contributions to help cover the costs of running a server, and advertisers pay for advertising space sometimes.
One of the benefits of creating a community-based media site is that it can be very inexpensive to do. The primary cost is the time involved.


Do you have salaries? Is that your only work or it is more like your hobby? 
We build web sites for people as our regular jobs, so iBrattleboro.com is a bit of work and a bit of a hobby. Hobby might not be the best word. The site is more of a service that we provide, and that we like to provide, so that people who live here can share information about the place where they live. Since we live here, too, it benefits us as much as anyone else in the town.
In terms of time spent, it does take a lot of time. We check in to see how things are going throughout the day and night, every day of the year, and every year since 2003. There are submissions to approve, comments to read, new users to approve, and so on. If we want to write anything ourselves to share on iBrattleboro.com, that takes additional time, too.

What is approximate amount you spent for your media in a month?
We pay for a domain name plus server hosting and bandwidth costs. It is hardly anything, compared to running a newspaper.

What are you goals for development of your media?
We hope that people in town continue to use the site to share their news, views, events, and other community information. The more people use it, the better it can be.

Website iBrattleboro

Does your media earn some money from advertisement or smth else?
We do earn a bit from advertising. We offer our own, local ads only. No Google ads or other services that track people are allowed. We don’t allow any ads that blink or move or make sounds. We want the ads to be useful to people in our area who might see them. We like helping businesses and organizations in our area reach our audience of people interested in Brattleboro and southern Vermont.

Can you call yourself absolutely independent media?
I think we can. We receive no government funding, and income isn’t really our goal. Our goal is to help facilitate discussion in our community, and we are extremely broad in the topics and conversations we allow to occur. We are protected in the U.S. by an internet law that says operators of web sites are not responsible for the actions of their site users, and this is very important to the free flow of information. It allows us to “publish” things we might disagree with.

What are the difficulties in your work?
Some people confuse the site, iBrattleboro.com, with those using it. This leads them to take issue with the platform rather than the ideas being expressed.
There is sometimes an issue with using real names or not (we allow pseudonyms). Some people don’t trust “unsigned” work. We find that allowing nicknames has not harmed the quality of the information people provide.
It can take a lot of time, so it is helpful if other people are on the team.
Sometimes there isn’t much going on, and sometimes we can be very, very busy.

And maybe you could give some advices for those Ukrainians who are going to create their own community media and don’t know what to start from and where to get funding from. 
First, we’d say that if you are interested in starting something like this, you should do it.
Think about where you live and what makes that area unique. Try to allow people ways to discuss the things they’d talk about on the street or with friends. 
Use a light touch. Try to follow your contributors rather than lead them. Don’t tell them what to think, but focus on making sure people are well informed. If they have the information, they can make good decisions.

It’s good to have a small team that can share work responsibilities.  Try to have someone who knows how to do programming and build sites, but also have people that are good community facilitators. Share the workload.

For funding, you can find investors, but they may want you to give up some independence. You can apply for grants, but that takes additional time and effort. You can ask individuals for support, find advertisers or sponsors, sell subscriptions, or sell other merchandise related to your media outlet. A gift from a foundation might be a great way to get a project started, but it is important for long-term success to find ways to make it work without relying on outside funds.

It’s best if money isn’t an issue. Try to use free, open-source software and keep your costs down. Try to use volunteers.

Live in the place you are doing this. Don’t try to develop a community media site for a community you don’t live in.

Interviews were conducted under the Project "Fostering Civic Journalism in Ukrainian's Regions", supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The views of the authors do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. government.

What is the financial stability of your media?


The issue of funding is acute for independent local media, so we conduct a survey among media experts of the USA, Europe and Ukraine: how their local media "survive". Let's try to learn from the USA and Europe experience of receiving funding in the context of the Ukrainian realities.

This 3-minute anonymous questionnaire will allow us to understand better the situation of the existence of local media in the US and EU.

A similar questionnaire also pass local media from Ukraine.

Your answers and the answers of your colleagues from Ukraine will help us make a manual on building the financial stability of the hyperlocal media existence in Ukraine.

The survey is conducted by the Fund "Union" within the project "Fostering Civic Journalism in Ukrainian's Regions" with the financial support of NED.

Interview with Stefanie Pearl - Executive Director of Happy Hudson Valley

Stefanie Pearl

Happy Hudson Valley is a community media devoted to the life of Hudson Valley, New York. As Stefanie mentions, its goal was and always will be to shine a light on community – in some ways in response to the negative portrayal traditional media has cast.

Could you please briefly tell when did you create your community media? Did you do it alone? 
I am thrilled that I have been offered this opportunity. I have been wanting since the beginning of this project to share the intel I used to create it with a team somewhere else who can put it to good use! I started the project in 2011 as a basic wordpress site whereby I was the single contributing author. I spent an entire year doing extensive legwork creating partnerships with as many organizations as I could, and covering local stories on a weekly rotating basis that filled my five categories of preferred topics. Kids - LOL (now LOVE - Food - News and Deals. In 2013 I had the site rebuilt with drupal technology so that community members were able to log in and post themselves to the event calendar and even the news category. It was been very successful!


Who is in your team now? 
Still just me and a few intermittent contributors. I also have a social media intern.

Did you have any funding at the start of creation? What was the amount of it?  
There was no start up money for this project at all. The original site was built by friends as a favor. The rebuild costed in the ballpark of 6,500 and I own the IP for the model. It is also available for resale for much less.

What is the amount of funding now? Who are the donors? 
There are no donors -- this is a paid project that was funded via a loan. It has been paid for in advertising dollars and sponsorship.

Hudson River

Do you have salaries? Is that your only work or it is more like your hobby?
There is no salary at this time as it remains a one man show. We were offered a car sponsorship however, so our ride around town has been funded by a generous local business who believes in the positive message we're sharing.

What is an approximate amount you spend for your media in a month? 
Cost per month to operate after the initial build ~ $100/month

What are you goals for development of your media? 
I would love to see the platform adopted across the country, and even internationally. I have a website already parked called HappinessIsTrending.com where I would share all of those sites in the hopes of making this project bigger and largely recognized.

Does your media earn any money from advertisement or smth else?
Yes, money coming in is advertising dollars. You can see there are banner blocks built into the template. That is part of the product as a whole.

Can you call yourself an independent media? 
Yes, independent in content and funding.

What are the difficulties in your work?
The site is largely self-sustaining now that the back end has enabled user content. We screen the information, but more than half is now provided to us in the form of press releases and private contributions.

Interviews were conducted under the Project "Fostering Civic Journalism in Ukrainian's Regions", supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The views of the authors do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. government.

Interview with Deanna Fisher - Publisher of Heights Observer community media

Deanna Fisher

The Heights Observer, a program of FutureHeights, supports an involved, informed citizenry by cultivating citizen journalists and neighborhood news. A not-for-profit, volunteer effort, the Heights Observer serves the cities of Cleveland Heights and University Heights, Ohio. Comprised of a web site and a printed newspaper, it operates independently of any other organization.

Could you please briefly tell when did you create your community media? Did you do it alone? Who is in your team now?
FutureHeights launched the Heights Observer community news project in April 2008. We became the first licensee of Lakewood Observer’s software.

Our staff consists of the following: Publisher, Editor-in-Chief, E-news Editor, 2 Graphic Designers, Business Development




Did you have any funding at the start of creation? What was the amount of it?

Yes we received grant funding from three local foundations totaling $27,500.

What is the amount of funding now? Who are the donors?
We no longer require grant funding for this program. All of its expenses are paid for through paid advertising.


Do you have salaries? Is that your only work or it is more like your hobby? 
All of the staff works part-time on the project. The publisher and e-news editor are paid staff positions. The other positions are contract positions. The business development position is paid 20% commission on advertising sales. That is his only compensation.

What is an approximate amount you spend for your media in a month? 
We spend about $8,736 per month for contractors and printing costs. This amount does not include salaries for the two paid staff positions.

What are you goals for development of your media? 
We will continue to publish 12 print issues per year. The number of pages we print depends on advertising revenue for that month. We have developed 4 advertising slots in our weekly e-news publication; this is an area for growth.


Does your media earn any money from advertisement or something else?
Yes, we earn all of our revenue from paid advertising. Our local merchants appreciate and understand that our readers are local, that the community news project is of and for the community, and that their advertising support not only supports the news project but also other projects that FutureHeights does for the community.

Can you call yourself an independent media? 
Yes

What are the difficulties in your work? 
Working with volunteer writers, editors and delivery personnel.

And maybe you could give some advice for those Ukrainians who are going to start their own community media and don’t know where to start and where to get funding from. 
You will likely need start-up funding from local foundations or individual donors, but you should create a paid advertising program and hire a business development professional to sell ads to local merchants on commission. Let ad sales dictate how many pages you print each month. Our target of ads to editorial content is 40-50%.

Stick to your mission of serving your local community. Stories must be about your local community.

We had a head start because we were an established nonprofit organization that had existing relationships with local merchants, community members (potential volunteers) and local foundations. We also had a staff (of 1.5 at the time) who could devote a portion of their time to developing and staffing the community news project.


Interviews were conducted under the Project "Fostering Civic Journalism in Ukrainian's Regions", supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The views of the authors do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. government.

Interview with Jeffrey Kerekes - Founder & Photographer at I Love New Heaven

Jeffrey Kerekes
I Love New Heaven was launched in 2012 as a collaboration between independent New Haven photographers Jeffrey Kerekes and Chris Randall who share a passion for documenting New Haven, Connecticut. The mission of I LOVE NEW HAVEN is to promote community engagement and civic pride through photographing the people, places and things of New Haven. 

Could you please briefly tell when did you create your community media? Did you do it alone? Who is in your team now?
We started I Love New Heaven in September 2012.  I started it with a neighbor and fellow photographer Chris Randall.  We now have eight active photographers and, small number of former contributors, and have had a lot of contributions from the community at large – perhaps 100+ others.



Did you have any funding at the start of creation? What was the amount of it?
We had no funding from outside sources.  We chose to keep this project as low cost as possible.  We pay for only the domain name.  We chose to host the site on Blogger (a google product) because it was free, relatively easy to use for people unfamiliar with publishing platforms and if we choose to end the project, the site can stay available without continued funding.

What is the amount of funding now? Who are the donors?
We have chosen not to get outside funding and maintain this as a volunteer project.  Pursuing funding would be a full time endeavor and we wanted to focus our efforts on creating content.


Do you have salaries? Is that your only work or it is more like your hobby? 
More of a hobby.  Some of the photographers have found jobs by being positively associated with this project.

What is an approximate amount you spend for your media in a month?
Zero.  We spend about $30USD/year on domain names.

What are you goals for development of your media? 
We want to continue to obtain new visitors to our site.  We additionally desire to cover more underserved areas of our city to be more holistic and inclusive.

Does your media earn any money from advertisement or smth else?
No.  We thought about doing so.  One of our photographers sells calendars, prints and a book all directly related to the project. 

Can you call yourself an independent media?
Yes.  Calling oneself a Photojournalist where we are located is perfectly legal and does not require special credentials, membership, or legal/governmental accreditation.

What are the difficulties in your work? 
We publish five days a week and this is a lot of work for a fully volunteer initiative.  We have difficulties with some photographers posting as promised and with some people being able to complete multiple steps of our publishing process – our website, social media etc…  This requires more follow up on the part of the founders.  Perhaps by having paid staff, we could have higher demands on them for completing these steps.

And maybe you could give some advice for those Ukrainians who are going to start their own community media and don’t know where to start and where to get funding from. 
People doing similar projects around where I am are trying a lot of different options.  Some are doing a print version of their work on a semi regular basis so as to sell advertising space in a printed magazine.  As I mentioned, my colleague is selling prints, calendars and a book.  I am not able to speak to how profitable those initiatives are. 


Interviews were conducted under the Project "Fostering Civic Journalism in Ukrainian's Regions", supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The views of the authors do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. government.

Interview with Kelly Gilfillan - Chief Executive Officer & Executive Editor of Home Page Media Group

Kelly Gilfillan

Home Page Media Group was launched in the fall of 2009. It provides the information on happenings in Franklin, the news, business events, information on real estate, sports and other topics and products interesting for the community. It reaches Middle Tennessee’s affluent and highly educated residents and workers of Williamson Country.


- Could you please briefly tell when did you create your community media? Did you do it alone? What is your team now?
We launched our first site in September, 2009.  I had a partner for five years and she exited the business last year and so now I am a sole owner.  Right now, I have a Managing Editor, Asst. Managing Editor, Sports Editor, Style Editor, four reporters, three sales team members, an office manager.


Home Page Media Group

- Did you have any funding at the start of creation? What was the amount of it?
No we bootstrapped but we did have a line of credit.  And we had a company credit card.  We rarely used the line of credit until this last year when we did a large expansion.


- What is the amount of funding now? Who are the donors?
I do not have any investors.  I have a loan from the bank. $60,000




- Do you have salaries? Is that your only work or it is more like your hobby? 
I do not take a salary.  I an a Limited Liability Corporation so I take a draw when there is a profit.

- What is the approximate amount you spent for your media in a month?
Monthly budget is $40000

- What are you goals for development of your media?
We have expanded to five sites.  We are trying to nail down a for-profit model that can be replicated by other journalists in other cities.

- Does your media earn some money from advertisement or smth else?
Advertisement is our main source of revenue.  We also provide marketing services including social media posting, website updates, and email marketing.  We outsource SEO, SEM, geotargeting and website design.

- Can you call yourself an independent media?
Yes we are independent.

- What are the difficulties you encounter in your work?
Keeping steady revenue and a steady staff are the biggest challenges.  Turnover in personnel is very expensive with re-training and loss of production in the editorial staff.  Sales team turnover causes an approximate 90-day slow down in revenue because it takes that long to ramp up a sales representative.  But when we started, I was the only sales person.

- And maybe you could give some advice for those Ukrainians who are going to create their own community media and don’t know what to start from and where to get funding from. 
I believe part of our success was we had a partnership of a business-educated partner and a journalism-educated partner.  It helped us move both sides of the business forward more quickly.  When it is one person trying to do it all, it can slow progress.  We always pre-sell advertising before we enter a market and get community businesses on board.  If you can offer marketing services in addition to the advertising it is a safer revenue model because not all your revenue is advertising based.


Interviews were conducted under the Project "Fostering Civic Journalism in Ukrainian's Regions", supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The views of the authors do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. government.

Fostering Civic Journalism in Ukrainian's Regions


UNION Foundation continues its work to develop and support independent media hyperlocal communities in Ukraine. In 2015 we have already carried out the First Hyperlocal community media School for the south-eastern regions of Ukraine with the financial support of the Media Development Fund of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, in which participants have been developed 6 local Internet resources in their communities.

After receiving 5 times more applications than we can take for participation in the School, we have once again affirmed in the understanding of the importance to develop and support independent media hyperlocal communities in Ukraine. In this regard, in 2015-2016, we will continue our course and expanding it to the whole of Ukraine.


The UNION Foundation will use Endowment support to foster civic journalism in Ukraine’s regions. The lack of communications skills among civic activists and the reluctance of traditional media to collaborate with civil society are among the many obstacles that hinder the development of Ukraine’s third sector. 

In 2015-16, we will utilize NED support to expand our outreach to other regions throughout Ukraine and to train bloggers, civic journalists and activists on how to launch and operate their own sustainable local community media.

The Union will develop its original training program and methodology based on data it will collect in surveys and in-depth interviews with prominent local media experts in Europe and the U.S. on their experience and best practices in launching and operating sustainable local community media. In addition, to gain a better understanding of differences between the Ukrainian and western media sectors and design a training program that is suitable for Ukraine, we will conduct additional surveys with Ukrainian local media experts. We will assess all the collected data and produce a comprehensive analytical report, which will be published, together with the conducted interviews, on our website.

Drawing on the lessons learned from the report, we will conduct two, three-day trainings and four webinars for 20 bloggers, journalists and activists on topics including launching local community media, designing development strategies, establishing contacts with local communities, producing visual and verbal news content, analyzing and processing Open Data, using social networks, and others. Following the trainings, we will launch a call for proposals for those interested in launching their own local community media initiatives. The Union will identity four of the most promising projects and support them with financial and professional assistance. We will conclude the project by convening a two- day conference of the project’s results for all participants and local partners.

The primary indicator of success will be the emergence of new blogs and local community media initiatives started by program participants and assisted by the Union. A growing number of contributors and visitors to the new sites will indicate their impact.

Our background. Established in 2011 by a group of professionals, including lawyers, IT specialists, journalists and artists, the UNION Foundation is an independent nongovernmental organization that focuses on strengthening civil society cooperation, enhancing freedom of information, and fostering human rights in Ukraine. In 2013, the Union launched its own TV channel, TV Union, which actively promotes NGO initiatives and civic activists working in the Kherson region. Since 2013, the Union has implemented several projects aiming to strengthen civic journalism, enhance the professional skills of journalists in southeastern Ukraine, and prevent cyberattacks on independent media. 

Interview with Andrew Huff, Editor and Publisher of Gapers Block community media

Andrew Huff

Gapers Block is a Chicago-centric web publication providing information on news, events and other interesting stuff around town.

Andrew Huff, Editor & Publisher
Andrew thinks Chicagoland is the best amusement park ever. A lifelong night owl, he works deep into the night at his West Ridge two-flat, writing and editing and playing with the cats. He spends more time online than probably is healthy; follow along at me3dia.com. Email him at ah@gapersblock.com.

Gapers Block's Main Page 

- Could you please briefly tell when did you create your community media? Did you do it alone? What is your team now?
Gapers Block was founded in 2003 by my partner, Naz Hamid, and me, with a volunteer staff of a dozen additional writers. We were all members of the Chicago blogging community, which at the time was a small, relatively tight-knit group. Over the years, we added contributors and at our height we had more than 100 writers. Today we have around 65-70. The entire staff is volunteer.

- Did you have any funding at the start of creation? What was the amount of it?
No, it was started as a group project, funded out of pocket for the cost of hosting.

- What is the amount of funding now? Who are the donors?
Gapers Block is a for-profit company, not a non-profit. We survive on revenue from advertising, events and merchandise (t-shirts, posters, etc.). We received a one-time grant from the Chicago Community Trust in 2009, but that money is long gone.

Chicago

- Do you have salary? Is that your only work or it is more like your hobby? 
I pay myself a little bit, but it’s mostly a hobby.

- What is the approximate amount you spent for your media in a month?
Our costs are around $300 a month, including hosting, newsletter service, and the rest.

- Does your media earn any money from advertisement or smth else?
Yes. As I said, we earn revenue from ads and events, and a little bit from t-shirts and other merchandise.

- Can you call yourself an independent media?
Yes. We are fully independent.

- What are the difficulties you encounter in your work?
An all-volunteer staff is a challenge, because you don’t have much leverage over writers who don’t make deadline, and life often interferes with availability and commitment. Also, since nobody is full-time, it’s difficult to sell ads, update software and handle other issues.

- And maybe you could give some advice for those Ukrainians who are going to create their own community media and don’t know where to start and where to get funding from. 
I don’t have a good answer for you on where to get funding, as I don’t know what options are available in Ukraine. But community journalism requires a dedicated team of contributors who are willing to work long hours and for months on end. Most sites fail not because they’re unsuccessful, but because those working on it ran out of steam.


Interviews were conducted under the Project "Fostering Civic Journalism in Ukrainian's Regions", supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The views of the authors do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. government.

Premiere of the film “Google Map Makers. Expedition to the Kherson region”


We invite Kherson residents to the premiere of "Google Map Makers. Expedition to the Kherson region" film, which will be held October 30, 2015 at 19:00 at the cinema Multiplex, at 18 Zalaegerszeg St., Kherson.

This film is about the unique natural wealth of the Kherson region, it demonstrates the impact of digital transformation on the development and improvement of the region. The film was created as part of the campaign “Digital transformation of the Kherson region.”

The campaign “Digital Transformation of the Kherson Region” was launched in October 2014. Its’ main objective is to increase tourism and investment attractiveness of the region by modern Internet technologies. The main partners of the campaign were Kherson City Council, Kherson Regional State Administration and Google Ukraine with Kherson Regional Charitable Foundation “Union.”


The film will be presented by:

Oleg Yakymchuk, Public Policy & Government Relations, Google Ukraine
Sergey Shkarupa, Deputy Director of foreign economic activities, tourism and resorts Department, KRSA
Roman Sokolan, director
Maxim Ryetivoy, Google Map Maker
Anastasiya Grishko, director of the picture


Section : ,

OPEN DATA FORUM 2015 was held in Kherson


The first regional Forum of open data was held August 26, in Kherson, which was attended by over 80 representatives of NGOs, governments, businesses, educational institutions, media and active citizens from Kherson region and other regions of Ukraine.

At the Forum were discussed such questions as: use of modern digital technology in the field of open public data to increase the investment attractiveness of the region, activity of communities in the management of their own cities and there were presented already existing projects in this field in the Kherson region.


Forum was organized by Foundation "Union" within the project "Community: opened initiative" with the financial support from ICF "Renaissance" and Kherson City Council.

At the forum were such experts:

  • Forum was opened by the Mayor of Kherson Volodymyr Mykolaienko.
  • Deputy Mayor Victor Ivanushkin presented achievements of Kherson City Council in the use of digital technology to build open government in Kherson.
  • Kulchytsky Alexander, PR-manager of the Center for Political Studies and Analysis described the web-program "Open budget" that can be implemented in different cities.
  • Oleh Yakymchuk, Director of Relations with the authorities of Google company, presented a new web-project "Land Investment Map of  Kherson", which was developed within the program of "Digital transformation of Kherson region" in partnership with the Foundation "Union" and Kherson City Council.
  • Management of communal ownership of Kherson City Council presented the Map of communal property.
  • To put Ukrainian case in the broader international context, DHRP expert on Good Governance and Civil Society Diana Zubko presented the latest legal changes in Ukraine in line with the best world practices.
  • Member of the City Council Ihor Kozakov presented two projects: "Kherson Map of districts" and "Map of works of Kherson water utility"
  • Mike Waldron from UK and Vitaliy Tyhonovich from British Council in Ukraine were presented program "Active Citizens"
  • Chief Inspectorate for Control over landscaping and sanitary condition of the city of Kherson Elena Mazur presented new web-project "Public inspector"
  • Kakhovka City Council deputy Andriy Dyachenko presented online map of Kakhovka taxes
  • Veronica Grishchenko, the representative of the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS told about the educational opportunities provided by the US Embassy and American Councils for International Education in Ukraine.
  • Zhanna Ebert, project manager, opened the essence of the project "Community: opened initiative"
  • Yuriy Antoshchuk, head of Foundation "Union" gave a presentation on the development of investment attractiveness of the city using public online maps.

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Natural reserves of the Kherson region have undergone digital transformation



Within the campaign "Digital Transformation of the Kherson Region," jointly implemented by Kherson Regional State Administration, Kherson City Council and Kherson Regional Charitable Foundation "Union" with the support of Google Ukraine, actively work the site “Discover Kherson”, purpose of which is to support the protected areas and tourist “jewels” of the Kherson region. This is the first such project for the Kherson region, which is unique in the number of natural wonders on its territory*!

We are all witnesses to what changes occur in nature by human activities. Increasing number of plant and animal species in the Red Book, reduces territories of wetlands, steppe ecosystems, forests. All this is due to plowing, deforestation, drainage or dewatering of lands, building and other economic activity.

We understand that all the reserves subordinate only to the state, but as citizens who are proud of their country and see the weaknesses and problems that now exist in Protected Areas, decided to help and involve all Ukrainians who care not only to the noble cause of salvation and maintain of Ukraine’s natural resources. Those funds, which provides the state - enough only for salaries of parks and reserves’ staff, so about most of the animals patrons and caring people have to take care.

How can you make a donation: on the site “Discover Kherson” choose any reserve, at the end of the page click on "Donate" and then fill out a simple form and press "Pay."

We urge to be active citizens, preserve and develop natural wonders of Ukraine! Let it be even small, but significant contribution to the increase of investment and tourist attractiveness. Only half a year has passed since the beginning of our initiative, and we have recorded double growth in the number of tourists in the Kherson region! And that's not the end of the season.

We believe that digital transformation, that is taking place in the Kherson region, will mean much for not only residents, but will also be a good example of effective community initiatives for Ukraine.

"Digital Transformation of the Kherson Region" team

• In the Kherson region are 2 National Parks (Nizhniodniprovskiy is at the stage of creation), 2 Biosphere Reserves, more than 60 other various sights of nature and landscape art, the largest desert in Europe - Oleshkivski sands, Europe's largest artificial forest, Black and Azov Sea and unique for its healing properties Sywash Lake (also called Third sea or Dead Sea of Ukraine, which even surpasses the Dead Sea in their properties), 2 unique uninhabited islands in Europe - Dzharylhach and Biruchiy, and more - almost 400 km of beach zone.

• "Digital Transformation of the Kherson Region" lasted from October 2014 to May 2015 with the support of Google Ukraine, in partnership with the Kherson Regional State Administration, Kherson City Council and Kherson Regional Charitable Foundation "Union". 

The main purpose is to: increase investment and tourist attractiveness of the Kherson region through expert assistance of Google. All information about events on this program is available here (http://en.fundunion.org/2015/05/digital-transformation-of-kherson.html#.VdH3gbLtmko).

We also invite you to join the group on Facebook, where you can see the trailer for the first unique film about the Kherson region, Google cartographers and the beauty of the region from a bird's eye! The film will soon appear on all the screens of the country and the world. 


Contacts for more information:

+380509884726 (Anastasiya Grishko, Head of the ICT direction, Fund “Union”)
+380999428115 (Yuriy Antoshchuk, Head of the Fund “Union”)



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