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Enabling vulnerable Eastern communities to actively participate in, benefit from and advocate for Ukraine's transition to a prosperous, unified and democratic state.


It has been more than three years since Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity brought about a government oriented toward the European model of liberal democracy. While some reforms have been implemented, the conflict in Donetsk and Luhansk continues unabated, and Ukrainians across the country are losing confidence in the reform process due to its slow pace.

Skepticism among citizens in eastern Ukraine of the country’s reform process presents one of the most significant threats to the democratic transition. These communities, already vulnerable to Russian influence and manipulation, could derail elements of the reform process, leading to greater instability in Ukraine and the region. However, while these communities have not historically embraced a Ukrainian national identity and have been skeptical that reforms will lead to tangible improvement in their lives, an opportunity does exist to change these long-standing perceptions. Today more eastern Ukrainians indicate they are willing to accept an inclusive civic identity, and reformers in eastern Ukraine are pushing for real improvements in local communities.


USAID/OTI’s goal is to enable vulnerable communities in eastern Ukraine to actively participate in, benefit from and advocate for Ukraine’s transition to a prosperous, unified and democratic state. It does this by working in the east to:

  • Expand a constituency for reform and Ukrainian identity based on tolerance and democratic values; 

  • Increase citizen confidence and engagement in the reform process at the local level; and

  • Decrease vulnerability to external manipulation and information.


  • USAID/OTI helps local government reform processes, such as e-procurement and one-stop Administrative Service Centers that link Ukrainians to their government in constructive ways. Improved, more transparent and streamlined services reduce skepticism of the transition and demonstrate the promise of democratic reforms to citizens.

  • USAID/OTI has helped establish a network of creative spaces across the east where young, reform-minded Ukrainians can participate in activities that help people affected by the conflict, develop improvements to public spaces in their cities, or foster their IT skills and incubate small businesses.

  • USAID/OTI activities in the large, front-line city of Mariupol build optimism, reduce tensions and create support for reform. Most residents and analysts agree that Mariupol has turned a corner and is transforming from a city vulnerable to Russian manipulation to one that is firmly part of the new Ukraine.

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