CYLA (Cohesion through Youth-Led Action)

CYLA (Cohesion through Youth-Led Action)


The CYLA (Cohesion through Youth-Led Action) program will empower Ukraine's youth to reduce the vulnerability of internally displaced persons’ (IDPs) to exploitation, advance conflict resolution at the local level, and foster integration to prevent further fractures in society.

The program will connect youth with the tools, networks, and platforms to further integrate the displaced population, and engage youth and authorities to inform a locally driven and implemented IDP integration plan.

Quick Facts

  • Primary audience of this program: Youth (ages 18-29) both IDPs and non-IDPs—the drivers of change in 15 communities across five oblasts of Eastern Ukraine. They will lead to sustainable integration and increased stabilization. 

  • This program will support over 300 youth; train 20 youth center staff; strengthen the work of 5 regional IDP Councils, of which youth will become members; and provide grant support to local organizations for activities that will reach and benefit thousands of Ukrainian citizens. 

  • This program will work on convening youth and their receiving communities in workshops and concrete activities that build confidence skills in local dispute resolution, recognizing and rejecting malign influence, and advocacy. 

  • CYLA’s youth ambassadors have successfully established IDP Councils in Kamianske and Kryvyi Rih. CYLA is working to establish additional IDP Councils in Melitopol, Berdiansk, Sievierodonestsk, Mariupol, and Bakhmut.


  • Build the social capital of young people to foster greater community cohesion and connect them to vital resources.  

  • Contribute to locally driven IDP integration plans, resulting in more inclusive, active, and resilient Ukrainian communities representing diverse interests and united against destabilizing forces and conflict. 

  • Support youth centers to connect IDPs and other youth with relevant resources. 

  • Build a network of youth leaders across the country.  

  • Boost capacity of local and regional authorities to provide sustainable, long-term solutions for IDP integration.

  • Raise public awareness of legislative and policy changes to reduce barriers to integration. 

Project Activities

  • Activate youth community leaders to become agents of change through advocacy training and engagement with local decision makers. 

  • Support youth centers to connect youth to the community and provide relevant training and resources for integration, including in civic participation and in the workforce. 

  • Hold joint Ideation Workshops to surface issues, facilitate dialogue, and brainstorm solutions.  

  • Launch national communications campaign and contest for youth to articulate a post-conflict vision of Ukraine.  

  • Co-host youth summits to build a network of youth leaders across the country. 

  • Boost capacity and will of local and regional authorities to provide sustainable, long-term solutions for youth integration that are needs-based, informed by consultation with youth, and conflict- and gender-sensitive.   

  • Develop and adapt regional action plans associated with the 2021-2023 National Integration Strategy to discuss at the oblast level and present to regional authorities and national stakeholders.  

  • Assist local and regional authorities, youth centers and youth Councils to raise public awareness of legislative and policy changes to reduce barriers to integration in a conflict-sensitive manner that improves relations between IDPs and host communities and between communities and government.

Photo of youth sitting on bean bags reading some papers in a discussion group


IREX works together with local partners, and with the support of the U.S. Department of State.