With 30 years of independence, Ukraine is both united and diverse, with a strong sense of national identity often threatened from foreign influence and aggression. Through programs focused on election integrity, media access, party development, political inclusion, and youth participation, IRI Ukraine assists the decentralization process, bolsters civil services, enhances the concept of Ukrainian national identity, and promotes citizen-led democratic reforms.

People Protesting On Street With Ukrainian Flag

IRI partners with political leaders, youth activists, and marginalized groups to promote democracy and political inclusivity in Ukraine. The Ukraine team works to improve the responsiveness and accountability of local governments and political parties, and to promote the participation of marginalized groups, such as women and youth, in the political process.

IRI helps the Ukrainian people better engage in politics through a series of activities. Workshops on press engagement for parties provide templates for communications strategies. Seminars for local councilors on budget development and citizen engagement help to solidify party structures from the local level out. And webinars on dialogue-building between party members and government bodies help connect local officials with Ukrainian national strategy.

IRI engages marginalized groups, including women, youth, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and ethnic minority communities, in the political process. Young Political Leadership Academies, Youth Academies, and Citizen Academies provide networks for the next generation of politically minded Ukrainians. The Ukraine chapter of the European Democracy Youth Network (EDYN) works with members of underrepresented groups, including women, LGBTQI+, and people with disabilities for greater political inclusivity.

The Women’s Democracy Network in Ukraine supports a series of consultations on female political leadership. Through organizational and communications support, IRI helps to connect IDP communities with local governments and expands political opportunities for minority ethnic groups such as the Crimean Tatar community. Developed in coordination with IRI Ukraine, the Youth Civic Education Curriculum is a Ukrainian language pamphlet that outlines strategies for youth civic engagement. It is designed for use in schools, government agencies, and youth centers.

IRI also helps the Ukrainian people strengthen some of the core tenants of the democratic process, such as election integrity and media access. In 2020, Ukraine held local elections which presented an opportunity for new and emerging parties to test their skills. IRI supported this process through the development of the iVote tool, an e-learning platform which teaches citizens how to be effective election observers as well as how to prepare for elections. IRI also developed the #WhyWeVote initiative which teaches youth about their civic responsibilities, and IRI’s ProZminy television program is broadcast by over 30 local channels in Ukraine and highlights youth engagement in the political sector.   

The IRI Ukraine program works to bridge the information gap between government and non-government-controlled areas of Ukraine. In cooperation with government stakeholders, IRI helps build public service announcement campaigns and coordinates the dissemination of media materials into occupied territories to highlight successful reforms, the benefits of Ukrainian citizenship, and accurate election information.

When appropriate, the Ukraine team fosters international parliamentary peer-to-peer consultation sessions with foreign stakeholders, including regional MPs, to share information on topics including party building, countering misinformation, and election outreach. Much of IRI Ukraine’s assistance is supplemented and informed by routine, in-depth, and qualitative and quantitative public opinion polling, research, and focus group activities.

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