Iryna set up and leads the Save Dnipro initiative, a small organization consisting of concerned engineers, IT workers, writers, businessmen and politicians dedicated to protecting the ecological rights of the citizens of the Ukrainian city of Dnipro. Determined to fight the industrial powers responsible for so much pollution in the area, she went about teaching herself the complex environmental legislation in all its immense detail. Equipped with this impressive knowledge, she and Save Dnipro were able to mount a successful campaign against the city’s main polluter, the Prydniprovska Thermal Electric Station, who eventually agreed to modernize their machinery and reduce its environmental impact. This is particularly impressive given that the plant’s owner, one of Ukraine’s richest and most powerful oligarchs: they were the first Ukrainian group to successfully challenge one of his businesses. She was also instrumental in developing the first ecological chat-bot in the Ukraine, @SaveEcoBot, which helps other activists find useful information about the pollutants, and has been used by the Minister of Ecology himself, hailing it as “best ecological assistant”. She is now considered an expert in the field, and has debated with the Minister of Ecology and other experts in the field.
She is now keen to replicate Save Dnipro’s successes in other Ukrainian cities. In order to support her in this objective, Iryna intends to use the JWHI grant to develop her English skills, which will not only make her more effective at international meetings, but will also enhance her ability to fundraise from international donors.