The USAID Program, “Decentralization Offering Better Results and Efficiency” (DOBRE), is a nine-year program, implemented by Global Communities and funded by the United States Agency for International Development.

DOBRE began its work in 2016, and since that time has been helping CCs to take advantage of the opportunities and meet the challenges presented by decentralization.  Over the first six years, DOBRE worked closely with 100 CCs; pursued two primary objectives in this work – to help the CCs govern themselves effectively, openly, and accountably; and to do so with the active and effective participation of their citizens in decision-making and community affairs.

In the fall of 2022, USAID awarded the DOBRE Program with a three-year extension and additional funding of $40 million. During these three years, DOBRE will collaborate closely with 60 Consolidated Communities (CCs) (52 of which have worked with DOBRE previously). The technical assistance is designed to help the CCs recover from the war and resume their development. The support will include strategic planning; financial management; service delivery; local economic development; crisis management; modern communications; civic engagement; and capacity building and will be augmented with material assistance. DOBRE’s partner CCs are in ten oblasts of Ukraine: Dnipropetrovsk; Chernihiv; Kharkiv; Zaporizhzhia; Kherson; Kirovohrad; Mykolayiv; Ternopil; Ivano-Frankivsk; and Chernivtsi.

At the same time, DOBRE is conducting an Emergency Response to provide 67 CCs in regions close to combat zones with material assistance to help them meet their immediate needs.  To date, DOBRE has committed over $5 million to the Emergency Response this year. 

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, DOBRE directed nearly $1million to eight partner CCs in Western Ukraine to help them cope with the large influxes of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in those communities.

The DOBRE Consortium is led by Global Communities and includes the following partner organizations:

  • The Ukraine Crisis Media Center (UCMC), which is implementing a robust communications strategy that strengthens public awareness of the benefits of decentralization, trains stakeholders in effective communications, and maximizes the dissemination of results, achieved by CCs and the DOBRE program. 
  • The Jerzy Regulsky Foundation in Support of Local Democracy (FSLD) is providing expertise and guidance to CCs in strategic planning and other issues to help CCs recover and move forward. 
  • The Malopolska School of Public Administration at the Krakow University of Economics (MSAP/UEK) is providing instruction to CCs in crisis management and effective approaches to governance in current circumstances.

(During the first six years of DOBRE’s work, the Consortium also included the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and SocialBoost. NDI elevated gender equity and promoted women’s empowerment, while providing expertise in quantitative and qualitative research design and analysis. SocialBoost promoted innovative and demand driven ICT solutions for inclusive and participatory local governance.)

DOBRE’s Technical Assistance

Strategic Planning: DOBRE’s partner, FSLD, is initially conducting nation-wide webinars on a variety of topics to help CCs recover and resume development. After each webinar, FSLD disseminates extensive written materials and provides follow-up consultations. It is expected that after completing the series of webinars, FSLD will work directly with CCs to help them revise and implement their strategic plans to reflect the CC’s current needs and priorities. 

Service Delivery Improvement: DOBRE assists CCs in identifying, in an open and inclusive manner, their top priorities for restoring and/or improving their services to citizens, and then helps each CC to develop and implement a Service Delivery Improvement Plan to meet its goals. DOBRE supports these initiatives with material assistance to help the CCs implement their SDIPs effectively.

Effective Public Administration in CCs: DOBRE’s partner, MSAP/UEK, is commencing its work under DOBRE’s extension with a series of nation-wide webinars to provide CC officials and staff with instruction on best practices in crisis management. This will be followed by a program of intensive training for CC officials in best management practices to help their CCs recover and resume development.

Local Economic Development: DOBRE will help partner CCs identify priority projects for local economic development, taking into consideration local resources, needs, and challenges.  This could include guidance on how the CC can support local entrepreneurship, accommodate relocating businesses, support cooperatives, attract outside investment, and other matters, along with material assistance to support specific projects.

Budgeting and Financial Management: DOBRE is advising CCs on open and effective budget and financial management, asset management, and procurement, with a focus on challenges CCs face in operating under the limitations imposed by martial law. DOBRE is also piloting the development of a methodology for developing recovery programs for individual CCs.

Capacity Building: This component includes several initiatives:  helping CCs develop cooperation with communities outside of Ukraine; providing instruction to CCs on developing and managing projects; and helping CCs conceptualize and implement joint projects.  DOBRE is also providing a grant to the Association of Amalgamated Territorial Communities, to help it effectively support its 700+ CC-members by disseminating knowledge and learning, sharing relevant experience among its members, and advocating CCs’ interests and positions at the regional and national levels.

Citizen Engagement and Support for Youth: DOBRE is working through regional civil society organizations to foster the active participation of citizens in local decision-making and community affairs, and to foster social cohesion in the wake of the substantial demographic changes that many CCs have experienced because of the war.  DOBRE will also support a range of initiatives to help CCs identify and address the concerns and priorities of the youth in their communities and create more opportunities for them to help their CCs and pursue personal opportunities. 


Main activities of the Ukraine Crisis Media Center under the USAID DOBRE Program

Enhancing public communications: designing communication strategies, consulting on the development of communication plans, training sessions for heads, secretaries and communications professionals in the communities, expert guidance for design of logos of the CCs.

Working with journalists: press tours, round tables, training sessions, journalism contests, and expert discussions. 

Spreading best practices: briefings of community spokespersons, promotion videos, photography tours, touring photo exhibitions, the book “Success stories of partner communities of the DOBRE program”, the collection “Successful Practices of Exemplary Communities”, the postcard set “Community short stories”, articles in the leading media. 

Producing hands-on materials: handbooks (“Practicing public communications for consolidated communities”, “Powers of consolidated communities in securing children’s rights: understanding the origins”, “How communities can face challenges and act successfully in times of crisis. Communication and Crisis”, the travel guide “Across the new communities of Ukraine”), multimedia long reads.    

Large-scale projects: 

Two seasons of the TV show “Million Worth Community” and “Million Worth Community. Specialists” aired on “1+1” TV channel – a social reality show that had the consolidated communities of Ukraine compete for investment and participate in exchange of international experience. Over 15.5 million viewers saw the prospects and tools of the CCs development. Thanks to the TV project, the decentralization reform has gained a large-scale positive emotional recognition and publicity.

TV competition “Our Community,” aired on ICTV and STB channels, about the innovation, efficiency, and activism of local communities in Ukraine. 25.4 million people watched the competition between the territorial communities on television, and 2.4 million on Facebook and YouTube. A total of 466,311 viewers took part in the online voting.

Two online education courses by Anatoliy Tkachuk on Prometheus platform: “Decentralization in Ukraine – theory and practice” and “Decentralization: from paternalism to responsible development”. The courses are about local self-governance, they combine theory and practice highlighting real-life stories of innovative solutions that emerged in consolidated communities during the reform. Over 8.000 people took the online courses. It formed a discussion platform and a professional network of decentralization professionals. 

Promotion videos created in partnership with production studio DocNoteFilms present the potential, resources and cooperation in the Bashtanska, Prysyvaska, Terebovlyanska, Pechenizhynska, Nyzhnyoverbizka, Pokrovska and Voznesenska consolidated communities to investors, tourists and wider audience. Over 1.5 million viewers saw the videos.

The film “Free Communities: Success in Detail” is another impressive result of the work of the USAID DOBRE Program. This story demonstrates the achievements of the decentralization reform in different oblasts of Ukraine. Over 400,000 people have viewed the film.

Three investment hubs and a tourism hub held for representatives of the USAID DOBRE partner communities, businesses, government, civil society, international assistance projects and media. Communities were trained to plan communications, they presented investment projects that helped build business partnerships.

UCMC-DOBRE contacts:
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: @decentralizationisdobre