In support of US foreign policy, OTI seizes emerging windows of opportunity in the political landscape to promote stability, peace, and democracy by catalyzing local initiatives through adaptive and agile programming.


It has been more than two years since Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity brought about a government oriented toward a political model based on European liberal democracy. While some reforms have been implemented, Russia continues its illegal occupation of Crimea, the conflict in Donetsk and Luhansk continues unabated, and Ukrainians at all levels are losing confidence in the reform process due to its slow pace.

Mistrust of Ukraine’s current trajectory among citizens in the East presents one of the most significant threats to the country’s democratic transition. These communities, which are already vulnerable to Russian influence and manipulation, could turn increasingly toward Russia, 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, a window of opportunity exists to change these long-standing perceptions. Today, more Eastern Ukrainians indicate they are willing to accept an inclusive civic identity, and reformers in the East are pushing for real improvements in local communities.


USAID/OTI’s goal is to enable vulnerable Eastern communities 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:

  • Increase support for and participation in the development of an inclusive Ukrainian identity; and
  • Increase citizen confidence and engagement in the reform process at the local level.


  • USAID/OTI helps local reformers implement positive governance changes (such as e-procurement and one-stop Administrative Service Centers) that also link Ukrainians in the East to their government in constructive ways.
  • By supporting local organizations that assist and advocate for people displaced by the war, USAID/OTI has helped nearly 71,000 displaced Ukrainians build relationships, overcome trauma and develop skills needed to integrate. Research shows less tension in regions where USAID/OTI supported integration than in parts of the country without USAID/OTI support.
  • USAID/OTI activities in the large, front-line city of Mariupol build optimism, reduce tensions and create support for reform. Citizens are more confident in reform and a new Ukrainian identity, citing specific USAID/OTI programming such as cultural festivals and improvement in government services.