Ukraine

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USAID/OTI aims to ensure that eastern Ukraine has greater confidence in Ukraine’s democratic reform and European integration.


WHY USAID/OTI IS IN UKRAINE

Since 2014, USAID/OTI has worked to promote citizen-driven change and support the country’s Euro-Atlantic trajectory. As skepticism about the reform process persists in Kharkiv, Odesa, and other regions, a growing - and at times violent - movement of intolerance towards minorities is emerging in Ukraine’s western regions. These dynamics are actively exploited by Russian malign influence, and have the potential to thwart the country’s progress. To address these challenges, USAID/OTI has expanded its programming beyond the Donbas region and focused on programming that promotes Ukraine’s diversity and highlights the country’s reform progress. USAID/OTI uses a variety of media platforms and civic engagement activities to demonstrate that ordinary citizens have seized opportunities to improve their communities and country.

USAID/OTI’S ROLE IN UKRAINE

USAID/OTI partners with Ukrainians to expand acceptance of a pluralistic civic identity based on common values, while prioritizing programming that promotes unity, inclusion, and democratic reform in Ukraine. The program’s objectives are:

  • To build acceptance of a diverse Ukraine;
  • To increase confidence in positive, democratic change; and,
  • To increase media narratives about unity and positive change.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

  • Recent studies have found that support for an ethnically and linguistically diverse Ukrainian identity is eroding, due in part to anxieties related to the war and a growing social distance between western and eastern Ukraine. Through creative, emotionally resonant information campaigns and media products, USAID/OTI has helped increase media narratives that promote peace in Ukraine and the reintegration of Donbas. USAID/OTI works with government, civil society, and broadcasters to create popular programs, such as the scripted-drama, Routes of Destiny and documentary profile Close East, which aim to reduce stereotypes and negative narratives about residents of Donbas. Civil society has used these programs to advocate for improved policies toward Donbas, and in 2019, national narratives about eastern Ukraine have markedly shifted toward peace and reintegration. Additionally, an ongoing study is revealing that many of the inclusive narratives introduced by these programs have been adopted by key government leaders and broadcasters.
  • USAID/OTI also partners with local groups to promote civic engagement and local government reform. For example, USAID/OTI supports the Lviv Education Foundation to expand its “Building Ukraine Together” (BUR) initiative to southern, western, and central oblasts of Ukraine. The week-long service camps bring together Ukrainians from 10 oblasts to learn how to conduct successful volunteer projects that focus on messaging a united and tolerant Ukraine. An external evaluation of past programming in the East determined that USAID/OTI has aided the facilitation of an identity shift through supporting local initiatives like BUR in eastern Ukraine; and recent surveys by IRI, NDI, and GfK found that there has been an expansion of a tolerant, western-leaning community in the East over the past three years.
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Last updated: October 16, 2019

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