Award for Young Ukrainians

The Award is responding to the challenges of today with the Stand By Me initiative

Last few years have been dramatic for the whole world. However, we have learned a great lesson: that life, as we know it, can only continue and flourish if we all join our forces, if we commit to each other and if we act as a community.

The Duke of Edinburgh International Award together with its local programs in Romania, Slovakia and Czech Republic have joined forces with UNICEF to provide community engagement support in response to the situation in Ukraine.

Stand by Me is a two-year special project within the Award, aimed at connecting young people in the three countries with Ukrainian youth who have been displaced or impacted by the war in Ukraine.

Through the framework of the Award, Ukrainian displaced young people aged between 14 – 24 will be able to team up with a Czech, Romanian or Slovakian buddy and together to set goals, to regularly get active, volunteer in their community, develop skills and plan and undertake an adventurous journey in the local countryside.

Through regular activity, young participants will see increased mental and physical wellbeing, confidence, problem solving and teamwork, while lifelong friendships can be built.


Safeguarding children and youth

Working in collaboration with UNICEF, the Stand By Me initiative will leverage the Award’s framework for non-formal education and learning as a tool for community cohesion. It will enable displaced young Ukrainians to continue their studies and prepare for work and for life, whilst also offering crucial moral and peer support via a young Czech, Slovak or Romanian buddy over a two-year period.

How it works

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award encompasses a highly adaptable concept, allowing the “Stand By Me” initiative to offer a diverse range of activities. These activities include the development of new skills, engagement in physical pursuits, voluntary service, and the exploration of local nature through thrilling expeditions with friends.

As a participant

Within the program, young individuals form “buddy pairs” and collaborate on mini-projects based on their respective interests. In this context, a Romanian “buddy” assumes the role of a guide for a new participant from Ukraine, with a strong emphasis on fostering an equal partnership. Through this approach, both participants work together on a section that can be credited towards earning a DofE bronze award. Subsequently, upon completing the Stand By Me program, they can transition to the traditional DofE program to further their studies.

As a leader

Inclusion of Romanian Leaders in the Award, who can serve as mentors for Ukrainian participants. These Leaders can be existing mentors or new individuals who undergo training and enlist in the program to undertake this role.
Integration of new Leaders from the Ukrainian community residing in Romania. These individuals, aged 24 and above, would share a common sympathy towards the Award’s ideals and work alongside their fellow countrymen. The program warmly welcomes anyone who believes in its mission, irrespective of the duration of their residence in Romania.

Buddy up

Project Benefits and Impact

Standing for each other

  • Receiving moral support to manage difficult feelings
  • Getting increased confidence
  • Obtaining transferable skills
  • Building resilience and determination
  • Developing planning and problem-solving skills
  • Personal and social wellbeing

How is your institution benefiting from being part of this special initiative?

  • Partnering within one of the most prestigious non formal learning programs in the world delivering to young people
  • International recognition and cooperation
  • Added social value through volunteering within the local community
  • Leadership trainings
  • Extended professional networking
quote for stand by me

The additional value of the project is to empower youngsters from Ukraine, Romania, Czeck Republic and Slovakia to bring their contribution within local communities where people from conflict zones are being displaced.

When registering for the Stand By Me project, leaders will receive:

The Stand By Me Team

Anca Doczi Luchian

Anca Doczi Luchian

Stand by Me: Project Manager


Phone: +40 799 782 808

Elsa Sam

Elsa Sam

Stand by Me: Outreach and Communication Specialist


Phone: +40 753 013 984

join in and become a participant of the program Stand By Me
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Sign up for the Award program today and choose to make a difference!

Join U-Report, Your voice matters

U-Report Europe is UNICEF’s digital platform to engage Ukrainian refugees moving to the rest of Europe seeking safety from the ongoing war, providing them and their families with lifesaving updated information from host countries.

U-Report is UNICEF’s flagship digital platform started in 2011, to engage young people in programme priorities, emergency response and advocacy actions. It supports adolescent, youth, and community participation; and works as a tool to share information, raise awareness, and collect quantifiable data on specific areas that impact children, including the most vulnerable.

The received responses are analysed in real-time, mapped, and displayed on a public dashboard, ensuring the young people’s feedback can be actioned by local and national decision-makers.

u report connecting Ukranians


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