The completion of the decentralization processes and self-government reforms, along with the practical implementation of the principle of universality of local self-government will place a completely different level of responsibility on community leaders for the development of those communities. Territorial communities shall transform from an object of management to an agent and ensure their capabilities on their own. Territorial communities will be responsible for planning their development, for their economic future and well-being. Therefore, local authorities should be aware of the features of modern development, possess the necessary knowledge, information, skills and experience to ensure greater competitiveness of their communities. While citizens, for their part, should realize that they also can affect the development of their community and learn to do this on the practical level. It is the synergy of the community and the authorities that would allow for the most effective result. Thus, the All-Ukrainian Initiative “Active Community” implemented the Program “Community Development Map” in 52 amalgamated territorial communities (ATCs) and held a series of “Pre-election marathons of community development”. More details can be found below.
The “Community Development Map”. What is it and what is it for?
A community development map is a programme with clearly defined proposals that, in the opinion of the residents of this community, need to be implemented. The coordinators of the All-Ukrainian Initiative “Active Community” have collected the ideas of residents of a community and passed them, in a form of a document-proposal drawn up on their basis, over to the political parties and candidates who ran in the local elections. The latter can use it as a hint regarding the issues they should focus on and what specific problems of the community need to be addressed. As a result, a candidate or a political party whose electoral programme rests upon such proposals could count on the support of the community residents. Furthermore, residents of a community would foster the step-by-step implementation of the “Map” by the newly elected authorities till all of their proposals are implemented. Such relations allow not only to develop a successful community but also to establish communication between all stakeholders.
How is a “Community Development Map” drawn up?
The development of this document includes two stages.
The first stage provides for the wide dissemination of information and collection of proposals. Coordinators of the All-Ukrainian Initiative “Active Community” had been apprising residents of a particular community of the collection of proposals and encouraging them to express their opinions. The proposals could relate to any area of the community life: infrastructure, ecology, culture, new technologies, communication between the authorities and the community, etc.
The second stage of drawing up the document allowed for a discussion of all the submitted ideas. Everyone interested could join the discussion: both those who had already expressed their opinion and those who had not submitted proposals. Residents of a community themselves picked the highest priorities from the whole list of proposed ideas. Coordinators of the All-Ukrainian Initiative “Active Community” systematized the ideas and handed them over to candidates in 2020 local elections to ATCs. Subsequently, the coordinators, together with the communities, will keep track of their implementation.
What number of communities implement the Project “Set a Policy Line for Authorities”?
As of today, the Program “Community Development Map” program is being implemented in 52 ATCs.
Viktoriia Orysiuk, the “Set a Policy Line for Authorities” Project manager, notes that “candidates and citizens often regard electoral programmes as a mere formality.”
“Besides, we often perceive the very concept of the electoral programme very ironically, as a kind of almanac of abstract sweet promises that should not be believed. Indeed, in many cases, electoral programmes of candidates and political parties are traditionally trite and not reflecting the specific features of a community, its practical demands and problems, and a vision of its development on the part of the candidate, accompanied by a description of the real steps to implement it, so that the promises do not remain on paper by the end of the tenure. However, we believe that the strategic vision of a community in 5 years should be formed in a dialogue with its residents, that is why we have created “Community Development Maps” – the documents that citizens offer for candidates to use as their electoral programmes. It is worth noting that candidates had the opportunity to take the Maps generated by the “Active Community” as a basis, rejecting certain provisions that, in their opinion, they would not be able to fulfil. Still, it was important for us to bring the needs of citizens to candidates’ attention, focusing on the things needed to be done so that the community answers its residents’ wishes,” Viktoriia Orysiuk commented.
At least 1,000 citizens joined the campaign to collect information on community development priorities. Over 7,000 individual proposals were submitted (in February-March 2020 this was carried out through group brainstorming sessions, personal communication with residents of ATCs, and after the introduction of quarantine restrictions – through an online questionnaire, telephone surveys, social networks, etc.).
Throughout May-July, over 110 meetings were held to discuss the “Community Development Maps” (CDMs), they were attended by 1,311 citizens. The purpose of these discussions was to finalize the CDMs, to select those provisions that, in the opinion of citizens, were of the highest priority, the most important and feasible.
Since there have been collected so many proposals, they were first selected by residents of an ATC, thus reducing the list (removing the items that were either unrealistic, or less important, or that could be easily fulfilled by residents themselves without the participation of a local council), and subsequently, they were analyzed by experts for compliance with the powers/capabilities of local councils.
As a result, 52 CDMs have been finalized containing a total of 1404 program items.
The visualized interactive map can be viewed on the official website of the “Institute Respublica”.
The campaign to collect signatures to Declarations of Responsibility
213 candidates have signed Declarations of Responsibility.
The campaign to collect signatures to the Declarations by the newly elected candidates is still ongoing. The coordinators of the All-Ukrainian Initiative “Active Community” will offer all the newly elected members of local councils and their chairmen to sign a Declaration of Responsibility for the implementation of the CDM.
What do the communities say about CDM?
“From the very beginning, as the Mayor of Novoukrainsk, I acceded to the initiative of the “Active Community” to form a Development Map for the Novoukrainsk city ATC. After all, we have a good record of cooperation with the initiative. It was cheerful that the residents of our community were actively involved in the process of submitting proposals to the Map. When I was running for the position of the Mayor on October 25th, 2020, I supported the proposals of the people and signed the “Declaration of Responsibility”, thus promising that, in case of my election and within the scope of my powers, I will implement the proposals contained in the “Community Development Map”. There is a long way ahead but we have a good practice of synergy between the local authorities and the community,” Oleksandr Korinnyi, the Mayor of Novoukrainsk, says.
The implementation of a CDM shall be monitored by the “Active Community”, the website of the “Institute Respublica” shall publish regular updates on the status of the fulfilment of the promises contained therein.
The series of “Pre-election marathons of community development”
On October 20-22, the All-Ukrainian Initiative “Active Community” held 9 “Pre-election marathons of community development”.
Another marathon was held after the elections, on October 30th (Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Ternopil regions), and yet another (Cherkasy and Vinnytsia regions) is scheduled for early November. Additionally, in November, one final event will be held, where the Initiative will present the results of activities for the entire period of the Project “Set a Policy Line for Authorities”.
The purpose of the marathons was to teach citizens to approach elections consciously. One should carefully read the candidates’ electoral programmes, study their biographies and previous political experience, if any, critically assess their promises, and be well aware of the powers of local authorities to understand whether or not a candidate would be able to fulfil them, or whether they fall outside of his/her future powers.
The participants of the marathons had an opportunity to raise their awareness of the importance of participation in elections, realize the importance of systematic participation in local policy-making and establish an open dialogue between political parties and citizens at the local level on the community development.
Within the framework of the events, the “Active Community” presented the results of its activities in the communities, summed up the campaign to draw up the “Community Development Maps” and the process of their signing by candidates.
What do the participants say about the “Marathons of community development”?
“I attended the public marathon where a “Community Development Map” was considered, namely the proposals from residents of Pervozvanivka village ATC in Kropyvnytskyi district. Having read up the “Community Development Map”, I took it up as a basis for my electoral programme as a candidate for a member of Pervozvanivka village council. It helped me, since the voters supported my candidacy, so I am grateful for the initiative and I intend to fulfil the people’s proposals at the village council of the new convocation,” Viktoria Leshchenko, the secretary of the Pervozvanivka village council, says.
Such events, promoting a close communication between the local authorities and the community, help communities become more capable, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and shape up a development strategy that will help them develop their city or ATC.
For reference. The Project “Set a Policy Line for Authorities” is implemented with the support of the National Democratic Institute (NDI).
Note. The mission of the “Active Community” is to achieve prosperity through the democratic development of Ukrainian communities. The goal for 2025 is to activate and involve at least 1% of citizens in decision-making and promotion of reforms in Ukraine on a systemic basis for the well-being of Ukrainian communities. The initiative was created through the activities of the “Institute Respublica”. We are working to increase the civil activity of citizens.
Authored by Tetiana Kavunenko, the head of the press service of the “Institute Respublica” and the All-Ukrainian Initiative “Active Community”