USAID DOBRE Program Launches New Reality Show: "Hromada for a Million"

Hromada for a Million
Announcement of the Hromada for a Million TV series at UCMC, on January 25th, 2018. From left to right: Susan Fritz, USAID Mission Director; Alla Staschenko, Creative Producer and two show's hosts: Iryna Ozymok and Dmytro Ohniov.

The USAID DOBRE Program has partnered with the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center (UCMC) and the national Ukrainian TV channel 1+1 to produce a new reality show called "Hromada for a Million." Hromada means "community" and during the course of the show, five consolidated communities will compete for the main prize— UAH 1 million (approximately 35,000 USD) from the USAID Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF) to create projects that result in real change in their cities and villages.

Hromada for a Million is a reality show about the decentralization reform in Ukraine, about the ways individual people can influence changes in the country. Decentralization gives people an opportunity to manage their communities themselves and helps develop local self-governance on the grassroots level. We will see all these aspects in the series," said Susan Fritz, USAID Mission Director during the announcement at UCMC's press center on Thursday, January 25th. Five communities from different regions of Ukraine will participate in the TV project: Skala-Podilska from Ternopil oblast, Pechenizhynska from Ivano-Frankivsk oblast, Novopskovska from Luhansk oblast, Buzka from Mykolayiv oblast, and Kniahynynivska from Volyn oblast.

"We decided to use television as it's one of the most powerful mediums. Five communities participated in the TV show, but more than 600 remaining Ukrainian communities will have a chance to watch the show on TV. The role of television has shifted, and along with that it's really important to change the content to the one that will inspire people—content that will show instruments on how to change your life rather than being merely entertaining or showing obvious things," explained Iryna Ozymok, the Hromada for a Million co-host and Head of the Local Economic Development Programs at WNISEF.

"The objective of the project is to inform the communities that today every initiative made from within will be heard and will get expected results," said Dmitry Ohniov, the show's co-host, investor, businessman and head of the Merinos-West enterprise. "It is very important for communities to understand that they should not just sit and expect help. It is important to understand that communities have to become partners. In particular, partners for business."

Participants of the project also have positive things to say ab out the experience. "The project was a big challenge for us. We became a single unity after the project—we make every decision together," said Olena Tverdokhlib, head of the Kniahynynynska community in Volyn oblast. "We want to make a new Ukraine. Everyone says they want to make Ukraine based on European models—but we want to make it Ukrainian, with Ukrainian traditions, and develop the country in our own way."

The show will air weekly on Sundays mornings for seven weeks with the winning community to be announced in early March.