Communities Enjoy Better Access to Services Under Locally Governed Areas of Ukraine

A USAID-funded project in Ukraine is helping local governments and communities adjust to decentralization efforts by the national government. The new system has resulted in sweeping changes that affect all Ukrainians; the country’s previous system of centralized governance means that local governments, especially villages and rural settlements, have little or no experience exercising the new responsibilities given them under decentralization. Global Communities, a US-based non-profit organization, has partnered with area municipalities to more effectively manage resources and deliver better services to citizens. Decentralization Offering Better Results and Efficiency (DOBRE) is already showing great promise for underserved areas of Ukraine.

DOBRE works to enhance local governance in order to deepen democracy, promote stability and improve living conditions for communities that were largely underserved under the previous national structure. Forging positive relationships between citizenry and governments, facilitating decision making at the local level, and supporting communities as they begin to manage themselves have all resulted in stabler markets, more cohesive communities and reduced transparency and anti-corruption measures in municipalities.

In Biloberizka consolidated community (CC), of Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, the site of DOBRE’s project more than 1,960 feet above sea level, area mountaineers are making good use of the benefits of decentralization. The community is gradually improving infrastructure and developing tourism. At a recent meeting of donors and implementers, team leaders described how an ambulance and a fire brigade are now traveling the streets to help those in need. The people of Biloberizka CC have also refurbished a school and kindergarten, and they have worked with local partners to ensure critically needed medical services are provided at a full-service outpatient clinic. Now they are establishing inter-municipal cooperation with their neighbors through the river Cheremosh near the urban Ust-Putyla community of Chernivtsi Oblast. The plans are for the purchase of an excavator and the launch of a small sorting line to jointly address the issue of garbage.

Tom White, Director of the USAID Ukraine Democracy and Governance Department, said the early successes in Biloberizka CC were a testament to the power of DOBRE. "Your successes are the consequences of your decisions. It is very good that you find partners, in particular your neighbors, to solve problems together,” he said during a community meeting. “You are on the right track. The more people will be involved in your community - the more opportunities you will have.”