UPSHIFT is an innovative program for adolescents that empowers young people to become active social innovators and entrepreneurs, created by UNICEF’s Office of Innovation. Since 2019, young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been participating in UPSHIFT workshops across the country.
UPSHIFT fosters two complementary approaches focused on skills development and social entrepreneurship. Both approaches are based on HCD (Human-Centered Design) methodology and are designed to engage marginalized young people as co-creators of solutions, not just as users of services.
Approaches in UPSHIFT can be issue-focused or youth-focused so that they can self-select the issues that most affect them and their communities. Through UPSHIFT workshops, young people learn about social innovation and, with mentoring and incubation and financial support, develop the skills and resources needed to identify problems in local communities and find solutions for them.
Football3 is a unique way to play football. It is based on the principle that core values such as fair play, gender equality, teamwork, respect and responsibility are just as important as football skills. Named after the „three halves“ – the pre-match talk, the match and the post-match talk – football3 incorporates key life lessons into every game. In mixed gender teams, girls and boys decide together on the rules that will be applied during the game itself. After the game, they review their behavior and of the other players on the field, and award points both for the goals scored and for respecting the rules agreed before the game but also for the behavior of individual players during the game. As football3 is played without a classic referee, players have to learn how to calmly resolve any conflict through discussion and agreement. Since its founding, football3 has continued to develop around the world and has turned into a comprehensive methodology for addressing the challenges of various social topics, such as gender equality, peacebuilding, respect for others, and healthy lifestyles. Football3 empowers young people to take responsibility for their own actions and treat others with respect. They learn to appreciate the values of good communication, respect and responsibility on and off the field. Regardless of where it is played and applied, the idea of the football3 methodology is always the same: to use the game of football itself to educate and empower young people.
In 2002, The One Minutes Foundation and the European Cultural Foundation established The One Minutes Jr. network. It has been supported by ECF and UNICEF as a new tool for youth empowerment and social change. Thanks to UNICEF Bosnia and Herzegovina Genesis Project adopted this methodology in 2011.
During the five-day workshops the Genesis trainers teach children about basic camera and directing skills, story-telling, teamwork and how to think creatively. Each participant develops their own story and produces a sixty-second video that is screened at the conclusion of the workshop.
The workshops result in one-minute films that offer moving glimpses into their young makers’ lives. The stories are honest and unfiltered. Creating and showing one-minute films for young people is an activity that allows children to have their opinions and ideas heard.
Writing a drama play for children requires deep thinking about the child as a viewer, and a highly developed awareness of the enormous responsibility that every creator for children bears. Remi Rostano, one of the most eminent theorists and historians of drama for children says: “…children are not immature adults but subjects with their own, specific characteristics.” According to Rostano, children should not be underestimated, as is often done, but they must be offered drama works that are not only engaging enough, but also act truthfully. Children have an infallible sense of social justice and a great need for its fulfillment, which should not be trifled with. A playwright should also be a developmental psychologist, that is, he/she should be able to determine very precisely for which age of the children’s population he/she is writing and what are the developmental needs that must be met at that age. The significance of the plays performed by Genesis theater members for children is reflected in the fact that they carry a large number of educational messages and lessons. The messages we send through our plays are about accepting others and different, reducing peer violence, gender equality, warning about the dangers of landmines, the importance of healthy lifestyle habits, hygiene and the like. Watching performances in general, including our drama performances, encourages thinking, creating a new point of view, influences the creation of critical thinking and the creation of attitudes in the audience. Watching plays allows children to look at a situation in a slightly different way, to better understand others, to accept and appreciate differences, to enrich their lives with new experiences and to gain a broader view of the world. Drama plays leave room for interaction with children, which implies that the actor must follow their emotions and understand the messages.
The puppet play stands out as the most suitable form of performance for elementary school children. The specificity of this type of play is the puppet, as a specific object of children’s interest. With a puppet involved, children better remember the contents and events shown on the scene. The children more easily accept the “attitude” of the puppet, because the puppet is an authority chosen by the children themselves, and in that way the puppet becomes a mediator between the child and their environment. Stylization of the puppet on three levels – the level of movement, voice and external appearance, which significantly determine each puppet, help the child to feel, accept and understand the symbolic situation. There are four basic qualities of a puppet play intended for children, namely:
Puppet plays strongly engage the child, both intellectually and emotionally, they contribute to the development of creative abilities, the child spontaneously and directly expresses their intimate experience of the world through the puppet. Using this method, we are able to easily interact with children. The Genesis Project opted for this method also because the content of the play is easily adapted to the age of the children, as well as because the plays bring joy into their lives, evoke positive emotions, and in this way it is possible to include a larger number of children.