In Ukraine, UNDEF funds a project to build skills among NGOs and citizens to engage in political processes and hold their local government officials accountable.
The project works in eight regions throughout East and West Ukraine to improve citizens’ advocacy; train them in accessing information from their local representatives and elected officials; find and use tools to monitor and evaluate elected officials’ work; make recommendations to local parties and coalitions on the transparent composition of party lists; and identify ways to make the elected candidates more accountable to their constituents.
The initiative, titled "Your Local Representative" and implemented by the East Europe Foundation and local partners, has created websites for each of the eight regions -- Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Luhansk, Odessa, Ternopil, Vinnytsya, Zaporizhzhia and Crimea. The project takes account of the challenges that followed the introduction of the proportional electoral system in Ukraine five years ago. Political parties remain closed and untransparent, and the connection between representatives and voters is growing weaker. Representatives have no relationship with their regional constituents, and lack incentives to work in the regions.
The project held training activities in mid-June throughout the regions. UNDEF Deputy Executive Head Annika Savill attended workshops in Kharkiv on access to information, including how to use Ukraine's new right to information legislation, and sessions in Chernihiv on advocacy and strategy.
Group exercise in Kharkiv under the watchful eye of Ukraine's national poet, Taras Shevchenko.
Participants in the Kharkiv session, with EEF Programme Manager Yuriy Piskalyuk and UNDEF's Annika Savill in front row, first and second from right
Television journalist Yuliya Ostapenko trains the Kharkiv group in extracting information from reluctant off
Participants in Chernichiv advocacy training
Chernihiv class in Internet activism
Press conference in Kharkiv, with UNDEF's Annika Savill at far right