Values through stories
What does it mean to be European?
Most Ukrainians have supported the country’s European orientation over numerous opinion polls in recent years.
The concept of "European values" is also important for Ukrainians. For the vast majority of our citizens, Europe is associated with legality, equality, and wealth. On the other hand, values like tolerance, gender diversity, and non-discrimination on the basis of race or age are "not yet fully perceived by Ukrainians, but are nonetheless integral integral parts of Europe's values."
These results are not accidental. Unfortunately, Ukrainians' perceptions of European values still contain false stereotypes, which have misled some Ukrainians into believing that they don’t make sense of Ukrainians. This has been facilitated by Russian propaganda, which for years has portrayed Europe as hostile, Western, and alien to Ukrainians’ values, while at the same time portraying Russia as traditional, conservative, and sharing in Ukrainians’ values. They have done this in order to discredit and undermine Ukraine's European integration processes.
How can we do away with these stereotypes and prejudices?
Despite the stereotypes they hear, many Ukrainians practice and spread European values in their everyday lives, as proven by stories from around the country. To show these stories, we created the Values Through Stories project, a series of multimedia materials including video reports, articles and promo videos about people and organizations for whom European values are something to be lived every day.
Our team found these stories from all over Ukraine. We created 30 thematic videos on a variety of topics, from protecting human rights and equality to initiatives for innovation and the environment. Each subject of our videos demonstrates by their own example what it means to promote European values in their community and in Ukraine in general.
The story of Rabbi Yulia Gris from Odessa is an example of promoting gender equality and demonstrates the diversity and vibrance of Ukraine’s minority communities.
The story of young people from the village of New York in Donetsk Oblast shows not only the importance of community development in Ukraine’s regions, but also reminds us of the need to protect citizens near the line of demarcation.
The story of the Poltava NGO Light of Hope is an example of Ukrainians protecting human rights and shows the importance of respect for human dignity in Ukrainian society.
As part of this project, we also published 10 articles which helped draw more attention to the stories of some videos. The materials were published in Ukrainian online outlets including Ukrainska Pravda, Channel 24, Rubryka, ShoTam, and ZMINA.info.
In addition, we launched the TikTok hashtag #beingaEuropean. In short videos on the popular social network, participants spoke about what European values mean to them. A total of 26 videos were published as part of the hashtag, including from students of the Ukrainian Leadership Academy.
Values without borders
Our communication campaigns mainly talk about the material benefits which come from Ukraine’s closer ties with the EU. While our project has shown that values are a key element of European integration. In addition, the video stories created have also become a successful example of mobile journalism. They showed that the key to quality reporting is primarily interesting characters and their stories, not professional equipment.
In total for 8 months our project was viewed 777 thousand times, of which:
- 696 thousand views of videos on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube;
- 67 thousand views of TikTok videos with our hashtag;
- 14 thousand article views.
Thanks to the excellent results of the project, Internews Ukraine received an honor from the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture and Information Policy and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration.
But a no less important achievement of the project was the approval of our audiences and positive feedback from the subjects of our videos. For many of them, participating in the project was an incentive to move forward.
"It's a great initiative. Thank you again for your participation in the coverage of Roma issues. I am glad for our cooperation, and I am always ready to join your initiatives,” — shared Roma activist Anzhelika Belova.
"It turned out great! Thank you very much for your attention,” — said Azad Safarov, co-founder of the Voices of Children charitable organization.
Our Values Through Stories project has come to an end, but anyone can continue to watch our video reports for free. The main thing to remember: European values are not tied to geographical coordinates, but are within each of us.
The Values Through Stories project was implemented by Internews Ukraine as part of the nationwide #EUkraine campaign in cooperation with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration and the project Association4U.