The US State Department offers a grant of up to $800,000 to Ukrainian public organizations that will ‘advocate civil society and civic activism’ in Ukraine.
The US State Department offers a grant of up to $800,000 to Ukrainian nongovernmental public organizations that will ‘advocate civil society and civic activism’. According to political analysts, it’s a way to promote Kiev’s regime and keep President Petro Poroshenko in power amid his declining popularity.
“[The] goal is to enhance the accountability and responsiveness of the Ukrainian government at the local level through civil society advocacy, monitoring, and civic activism,” a funding announcement of the US State Department, published the grants.gov website this week, reads.
According to the announcement, Washington is looking for “civil society organizations,” either non-profit or for-profit (with some conditions) that will provide proposals “to perform a watchdog function and advocate for democratic governance” in Ukraine.
The program is allegedly aimed at increasing civic activism in Ukraine at a local level by creating a network of civic activists throughout the country, who should keep watch on the activities of local governments and encourage partnerships between civil society and media “to communicate important information about local reforms to the public.”
The organizations, which want to get the grant, must present a financial plan and a program for their activities by January 17, 2017. They also need to have links with “thematic or in-country partners, entities and relevant stakeholders, including private sector partners and NGOs.”
According to the announcement, “projects should have the potential to have an immediate impact leading to long-term sustainable reforms, and should have potential for sustainability beyond DRL (Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor of the State Department) resources.”
Among other criteria for the selection of candidates are “demonstrable experience in administering successful, and preferably similar, projects” and cooperation with minority groups in order to “advance the rights and uphold the dignity of the most vulnerable or at-risk populations.”
At the same time, the US State Department reserves a significant role for itself in the implementation of the program that receives the grant – for example, it is going to demand quarterly reports on the program’s spending and its progress.
According to experts, such a step is an attempt to prevent the fall of the Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, who is the favorite of Washington in the country, as his public approval ratings have plunged recently, and to maintain US-Ukraine relations as they have been since the coup in 2014. Experts also noted that in this way Obama tries to continue the current policy and prevent future president Donald Trump from building a new line of cooperation with Ukraine.