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Democracy, Human Rights and Governance

Language: English | Ukrainian

USAID helps Ukraine become more democratic by supporting participatory, transparent, and accountable governance processes.  Working with the Ukrainian parliament, USAID improves legislative processes and increases public engagement and accountability, strengthens the rule of law by improving judicial accountability and independence, builds a foundation for decentralization and local government accountability, and supports programs that prevent trafficking in persons and help victims.

Civil society is critical to sustaining democracy in Ukraine. USAID develops the capacity of non-governmental organizations to monitor the government, protect human rights, and ensure that citizens have a voice in government decision making.  By training Ukraine’s independent media, USAID enhances journalistic professionalism, ethics, and monitoring capabilities. USAID political processes programs ensure that elections are free and fair, at the same time making political parties and elected officials more accountable to their constituents.

Current programs:


Fair, Accountable, Independent and Responsible (FAIR) Justice Program
Chemonics International, Inc.
October 1, 2011 – September 30, 2016

USAID supports legislative, regulatory and institutional reform of judicial institutions to build a foundation for a more accountable and independent judiciary. The FAIR program strengthens the accountability and transparency of key judicial institutions; promotes Ukrainian legislative and regulatory compliance with international and European standards; bolsters the professionalism and effectiveness of the Ukrainian judiciary; and supports civil society organizations in advocating for and monitoring judicial reform. FAIR program activities include: support for the preparation of draft laws and regulations; analyses of current laws and procedures; assistance to High Qualification Commission of Judges to introduce a new system of judicial selection and discipline; support to the National School of Judges the design, implementation and evaluation of training programs for the judiciary; and support to working groups, conferences, and roundtables focused on judicial reform. Through the FAIR program, USAID also supports organizations engaged in court performance monitoring and evaluation, public awareness of judicial process and procedures, and advocacy on issues related to judicial reform and standardized testing for judicial reform.

Responding to Human Rights Violations and Empowering Citizens and Human Rights Defenders in Ukraine (Human Rights in Action program)
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
September 8, 2014 - September 7, 2017

The "Human Rights in Action" program is Mission's first stand-alone human rights activity to respond to human rights violations and empower human rights activists through: 1) Human rights monitoring and advocacy; 2) Strategic litigation on human rights cases; 3) Awareness raising and citizen empowerment regarding human rights; and 4) Strengthening the Chernihiv Educational Human Rights House.

Global Labor Program: Ukraine
American Center for International Labor Solidarity (Solidarity Center)
February, 2016 - January 2021

The Global Labor Program (GLP) strengthens worker organizations and other civil society advocates for workers' rights, promoting access to justice for workers, ensuring equal employment opportunities for women and vulnerable groups, and building capacity to reduce trafficking in persons and labor rights violations. The GLP works with partner Ukrainian trade unions across the country on local capacity and leadership building efforts, including anti-corruption and freedom of association initiatives for IDPs, migrants, workers, and the disabled. 

Countering Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Project
International Organization for Migration
July 20, 2004 – January 1, 2018

The purpose of this project is to reduce trafficking in persons in Ukraine by transitioning services for victims of trafficking, such as registration, referral and reintegration assistance to full Ukrainian ownership. This includes efforts to strengthen the national referral mechanism, increase government funding for counter trafficking efforts, and increase the involvement of non-governmental service providers in the national referral mechanism.


Strengthening Civil Society in Ukraine Project
October 1, 2008 – September 30, 2016

The purpose of the SCSU project, also known as UNITER - Ukraine National Initiatives to Enhance Reforms is to increase citizen support for and participation in specific civil society activities by: (1) implementing effective, broad-based monitoring and advocacy campaigns; (2) expanding CSOs’ constituencies; (3) improving CSOs media engagement and ICT usage; and (4) developing a sustainability roadmap. UNITER promotes and supports a number of broad-based civic coalitions across communities and regions, and connects local and national organizations to increase citizen engagement in issues of interest. These coalitions are comprised of civil society, media, businesses associations and other organizations and activists that work towards a common purpose. The campaigns supported by UNITER coalition partners represent citizen interests on issues such as EU integration, anti-corruption, elections, civic responsibility and participation, youth engagement, human rights and inclusiveness. The UNITER program also supports anti-corruption and constitutional reform-oriented organizations, coalitions and campaigns that seek to build constituencies, mobilize public support, and engage in effective dialogue between citizens, civil society, government, the private sector and other key stakeholders in the reform process.

Ukraine Civil Society Capacity Building Project
Initiative to Support Social Action Ednannia (ISAR-Ednannia)
July 11, 2014 - July 10, 2019

The purpose of the Ukraine Civil Society Capacity Building activity is to improve organizational capacity of Ukrainian CSOs to become stronger citizen advocates and government watchdogs. To achieve this purpose, ISAR will focus on three objectives: 1) organizational development skills of CSOs improved through the NGO Marketplace (mini-grants voucher system, web-portal and regular capacity development forums); 2) NGO Capacity Building Marketplace strengthened as a tool that provides organizational development assistance to civil society; and 3) technical and organizational capacity of ISAR Ednannia increased as an Intermediary Support Organization (ISO) and the Marketplace Administrator.

Ukraine Civil Society Enabling Environment
Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research (UCIPR)
July 11, 2014 – July 10, 2019


The overall purpose of the Ukraine Civil Society Enabling Environment activity is to improve the legislative and policy environment to become more conducive to civil society needs and to reflect European standards. To achieve this, UCIPR focuses on three objectives: 1) to improve the quality of relevant civil society enabling legislation and policy; 2) to increase capacity of public officials and CSOs to ensure effective implementation of legislation and policy; and, 3) to increase technical and organizational capacity of UCIPR as a leader and driver of civil society legislative efforts. UCIPR’s unique approach will cover the full cycle of improvement of legislative and administrative environment for civil society development in its key areas. Namely, UCIPR will combine analysis of shortcomings and opportunities, monitoring of emerging challenges, development of proposals for improvement of legal acts and administrative practices, initiating and leading advocacy campaigns as well as offer awareness and training efforts, methodological support and monitoring of adopted legislation for civil society development.

Local Capacity Development Program
Peace Corps
July 18, 2013 – September 30, 2017


Through a partnership between USAID/Ukraine and Peace Corps Ukraine, the Local Capacity Development Program (LCDP) places experienced Peace Corps Volunteers and with USAID’s local NGOs for a two year period to strengthen those institutions' organizational capacity. Peace Corps volunteers will help local NGOs assess their organizational capacity, identify areas for improvement, and address capacity building needs. Local NGOs will increase their organizational capacity to implement high quality development projects with donors, including USAID. LCDP is designed to advance both Peace Corps Ukraine Community Development Project objectives and the USAID objective to directly engage local organizations in the implementation of their development work.

Participant Training Program
Implementer: World Learning/Project Harmony/Consortium for Enhancement of Ukrainian Management Education
April 3, 2013 – April 2, 2018

The Participant Training Program promotes USAID/Ukraine’s strategic vision of a stable, democratic, and prosperous Ukraine integrated into Europe. The program seeks to transfer new knowledge, skills, and attitudes to Ukrainians to improve the political, social, and economic context in Ukraine and to create a network of professionals that shares international best practices and knowledge.

The Program offers practical training opportunities and internships in the United States and Europe for entrepreneurs, local government officials, non-governmental organization leaders, education administrators, as well as medical, business, and environmental professionals. The program combines seminars, workshops, site visits and meetings with American and European professionals with hands-on practical internships.


Media Development
Internews Network
October 1, 2011 – September 30, 2016

The five-year Ukraine Media (U-Media) Project promotes the development of a free, vibrant and professional media sector in Ukraine that provides a wide range of useful news and information, serves as a watchdog in the public interest, and defends freedom of speech. The U-Media Project seeks to achieve this goal through four key objectives designed to: (1) Support and promote freedom of speech and media independence; (2) Increase the variety of news sources and improve news quality; (3) Improve the enabling environment for media and freedom of speech; and (4) Improve organizational capacity of Ukrainian media CSOs. The U-Media program has adapted to the changing context in Ukraine by focusing activities on promoting more balanced political coverage across Ukraine through local content production, exchange visits, public discussions, and webcasts with special attention to the South and East. Local media partners monitor and publicize intimidation and attacks on civic activists and journalists and government interference in independent media coverage of Ukrainian politics. Partners provide legal aid and facilitate coordinated action in response to restrictions on press freedoms and violations of civil rights. The U-Media Project has also made a concerted effort to conduct programming that reaches the conflict areas in Donbas, where events are presenting an increasing challenge for Ukraine’s political transition and democratic future. In the lead-up to the presidential and parliamentary elections, the U-Media Project has sought to harness the energy of EuroMaidan and its demands for reform to increase the integrity of the parliamentary elections and help make political processes more responsive and accountable to the people. Specific electoral activities are designed to promote balanced and objective media reporting by increasing local media content and improving journalism skills, including election coverage, as well as Get out the Vote events to help inform citizens about the snap parliamentary elections - the candidates, issues and electoral process.

Strengthening the Financial Stability of Media Outlets in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia Using the Experience of the V4 Countries
International Visegrad Fund
September 25, 2013 - September 30, 2016

The aim of the activity is to increase financial independence of media companies in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia using the experiences of countries in the Visegrad group. The project will achieve this goal through several key activities, including: mapping media companies in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova; analyzing main factors of financial instability of these media companies; identifying common challenges of financial instability; provide recommendations to address these factors with the experience of Visegrad countries; elaborate different models to increase financial independence of media companies; and assisting media companies in implementation of these models through events and exchange visits.

Accurately Reflecting the Ukraine-Europe Union Association Agreement in Ukrainian Media
Solidarity Fund PL
September 14, 2015 – March 31, 2017

Using Poland's experience as a model, this activity increases awareness and knowledge among Ukrainian media professionals to better understand and communicate facts about the European-Ukraine Union Association Agreement (EU/AA), what it accomplishes in practice, and how it affects citizens, communities, and the country. The goal of the activity is to increase citizen awareness of EU/AA opportunities and challenges and the EU/AA accession process, largely by increasing the availability of relevant balanced information. The Activity responds to Ukraine's dynamic political and social climate, in which the media has the potential to play an important role in promoting economic westernization through the EU/AA and similar means. The direct beneficiaries of the Project will be journalists, editors, managers, and media publishers in Ukraine that are interested in exploring the role of the media in teaching the Ukrainian public about the opportunities, challenges, and practical aspects of the EU/AA. The primary beneficiary of this project is Ukrainian society, which will receive objective information through news articles and broadcasts about the EU/AA, the related obligations and opportunities, and the impacts for everyday people.


Strengthening Political Processes in Ukraine Program
Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening
October 1, 2009 – December 31, 2016

The USAID Strengthening Political Processes in Ukraine program promotes political processes that lead to more representative and accountable governance on a local level. The program addresses the current needs of Ukraine’s political system by establishing stronger linkages between political parties, citizens, and civil society organizations. Through its partners, USAID trained political party activists, youth, civil society leaders, and local elected officials to improve communication between voters, civic groups, and political actors, to develop issue-based platforms, to build closer ties to citizens, and to better advocate for issues of importance to NGOs and activists. The International Republican Institute (IRI) presently implements the program.

Ukraine Responsive and Accountable Politics Program (U-RAP)
Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening
April 1, 2016 – March 31, 2020

The USAID Ukraine Responsive and Accountable Politics Program (U-RAP) promotes political processes that lead to more representative, transparent, and accountable governance.  The program emphasizes three main areas: promoting political party accountability and inclusivity at the national level, enhancing party and government officials’ representation of citizens' interests at the local level, and improving the enabling environment for political competition.  The program equitably assists a broad spectrum of democratic parties in Ukraine and maintains a geographical balance nationwide. In select regions, the program will help local elected political actors be aware of and responsive to citizens' interests and will improve political and leadership skills among youth. The program will also support multi-level dialogues within communities on national reform issues. The USAID Ukraine Responsive and Accountable Politics Program will increase civil society's role developing and implementing election-related legislation. The program will also provide technical assistance to the Central Election Commission (CEC), particularly on the training of election commissions. It will also develop voter education materials and work with the CEC to help voters understand the new rules. The program is implemented by the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the International Republican Institute (IRI), and the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES).

Domestic Oversight of Political Processes in Ukraine Program
All-Ukrainian public organization "Civic Network OPORA"
January 1, 2014 – January 1, 2017

The goal of this activity is to improve Ukraine’s electoral process and its corresponding legislation to better reflect the will of the Ukrainian people. The activity will achieve this goal by improving the integrity of Ukrainian elections through domestic monitoring, supporting development and implementation of relevant legislation that is inclusive, transparent and conforms to European standards, and increasing the organizational and technical capacity of the Civic Network OPORA.


Municipal Finance Strengthening Initiative (MFSI-II) Roll-Out
Institute for Budgetary and Socio-Economic Research (IBSER)
September 30, 2011 – February 28, 2017


The purpose of the activity is to promote efficient and transparent implementation of local budgets to foster local social and economic development. MFSI-II will advance the following objectives: 1) provide legislative, methodological and organizational support to central and local government bodies to expand Performance Program Budgeting (PPB) to all local budgets in Ukraine; 2) build the capacity of 15 selected cities to develop and implement multi-year development strategies, including the introduction of financial practices that foster energy efficiency; and 3) enhance public awareness and understanding of the public budgeting process, revenues and expenditures.

Responsible, Accountable and Democratic Assembly (RADA)
Implementer: East Europe Foundation
November 25, 2013 – November 24, 2018

The RADA activity works to reinforce a more effective and independent legislature in Ukraine, and increase citizen participation into the policy-making process. Specifically, RADA will support members of parliament in building constituent relations and improving their representation function, expand citizen education and monitoring of members of parliament in order to increase their accountability, promote parliamentary independence by reinforcing the rules that govern that body.

Policy for Ukraine Local Self Governance (PULSE)
Implementer: Association of Ukrainian Cities (AUC)
December 14, 2015 – December 13, 2020

This activity strengthens local governance, deepens democracy, improves conditions for development of communities and promotes stability. The activity helps the Government of Ukraine and local governments adopt and implement sound decentralization policies, beginning with decentralization enabling legislation based on local government input and by increasing resources and capacity of institutions of local self-government.

Decentralization Offering Better Results and Efficiency (DOBRE)
Implementer: Global Communities
Project period: June 8, 2016 – June 7, 2021

DOBRE provides comprehensive assistance to local communities by making local government effective, responsive, capable of delivering tangible benefits to citizens, and able to quickly implement reforms in key sectors. DOBRE is part of a coordinated package of international donor assistance to the Government of Ukraine to implement nationwide decentralization reforms and ensure the success of newly consolidated communities.

DOBRE has two primary objectives: (1) build the capacity of consolidated communities to carry out their responsibilities and provide quality services to their constituents, and (2) increase the involvement of local residents and civil society organizations in local government decision making, while holding local officials accountable through monitoring and oversight.


Ukrainian Standardized External Testing Initiative (USETI)
American Councils for International Education
May 2013 – December 31, 2016

The USETI Alliance is building a coalition for standardized testing for university admissions, bringing together a growing circle of supporters among educators, NGOs, businesses and parents who understand the benefits of merit-based admissions to higher education institutions.

The goal is that Ukraine’s higher education system will be more transparent in selecting applicants for baccalaureate and other levels of higher education.

eGovernance Capacity Building in Ukraine (eGCB)
Implementer: eGovernance Academy of Estonia
Project Period: September 21, 2015 - September 20, 2016

The eGovernance Capacity Building in Ukraine activity will provide assistance to stakeholders in the Government of Ukraine in three key areas related to eGovernance:  1. Strategic Communications to ensure that the general public and all government entities understand the role of e-governance in supporting reforms in Ukraine; 2. Support to the Inter-Ministerial Council on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), which represents a multi-stakeholder approach to developing a strategy and implementing e-governance in Ukraine; and, 3. Development of e-services to ensure that citizens and businesses can benefit from more effective and transparent services. 

Last updated: September 02, 2016

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