Amount of aid
Global Communities is implementing USAID’s five-year, $50 million program Decentralization Offering Better Results and Efficiency (DOBRE). DOBRE will direct most of its technical and financial assistance at the local level, specifically enabling newly formed Consolidated Communities (CCs) to better manage resources, increase the quality of public services, stimulate the local economy, and improve citizen engagement. DOBRE will help CCs thrive and prosper through stronger local governance and better conditions for development, while serving as a model and motivation to other communities seeking to amalgamate. This will help build broader public support for the overall decentralization process.
DOBRE will work in seven target Oblasts: Dnipro, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Kherson, Kirovohrad, Mykolayiv, and Ternopil. DOBRE will competitively and transparently select and provide direct assistance to 75 consolidated communities in these Oblasts. MRD, USAID and DOBRE will select the partner consolidated communities in cohorts of 25 at a time using agreed-upon criteria. Showcasing the achievements and progress of participating CCs will allow DOBRE to promote the implementation of decentralization on a national scale.
DOBRE has a two main objectives: (1) supporting the supply of good local governance by CCs; and (2) assisting citizens and civil society to constructively interact with government and demand transparency and services.
Global Communities, an international NGO with significant experience around the world improving local governance and communities, will lead the DOBRE Consortium. The remaining partners include:
Improved Strategic Planning: After selection, each CC will convene relevant stakeholders for an inclusive strategic planning process. CCs will develop and refine plans with community input that identify their current status, major challenges they face, and outline strategies to address them. The result of this process will differ in each CC, leading to tailored assistance based on the identified needs of the CC and its community for the remainder of the program.
Local Economic Development (LED): Through their strategic planning, each CC will identify local economic development needs and create plans for short-term (1-3 years) and medium-term (3-5 years) solutions. These will consider the local resources, existing industries, potential partnerships, and identify priority areas in which investment, public-private partnership, or community engagement would lead to increased production and prosperity. With Global Communities support, CCs will create local economic development (LED) projects and apply for DOBRE funds to implement them.
LED Project Fund: This special fund will finance LED projects identified by the community. Such projects could include new agriculture business that links local producers into the regional supply chain, local transportation infrastructure projects, or land-use rental plans for CCs to gain revenue by renting underutilized public lands. The actual projects will depend on local priorities and resources chosen by each CC.
Improvement of Public Services: Each CC will assess its service delivery capacity and performance, and determine their public service priorities based on local context and citizen needs. DOBRE partner CCs will inclusively develop Service Delivery Improvement Plans (SDIPs) that set clear measurements for effective performance in the targeted service, and outline concrete implementation steps for achieving those standards and improved services.
SDIP Fund: DOBRE will provide funding to CCs to help them show tangible improvements to public services. CCs will provide matching funds from their budget. DOBRE will also help CCs use their resources more effectively to improve services and help develop their capacity to access the Regional Development Fund. As examples, the SDIP Fund could purchase of new garbage bins and new garbage trucks for solid waste collection. For improving local water supply, the fund could purchase new pipes to revitalize the water treatment and transport system. Or, DOBRE could fund a new computer system for the Administrative Service Center and/or modernizing city records and permits.
Infrastructure Fund: Each partner CC can also access a special fund for Infrastructure Projects. This could contribute toward implementation of improving public services, an LED project or other community needs prioritized by the community through DOBRE’s assessment process or the strategic planning effort.
Inter-Municipal Cooperation Fund: DOBRE will also have an Inter-Municipal Services fund to encourage greater inter-municipal cooperation. This will provide a competitive selection process to access these funds. DOBRE will only start competition after selecting all 75 partner CCs and each CC finishes their strategic planning, the LED Operational Plan and their first SDIP.
Incentive Grants Fund: DOBRE will establish baselines for each partner CC after selection and monitor their progress over the life of the program. In Years 4 and 5 DOBRE will provide special grants to CCs who show the most improved performance.
Improved Local Government Operations: Based on each CC’s strategic plan, DOBRE will provide other targeted technical assistance to provide officials with the tools and skills they need to improve CC performance. These needs could cover a wide range of issues such as individual staff capacity building, improved council performance, human resource management, better permitting, planning and management systems, public relations and outreach, technology solutions, or inclusive processes to integrate the needs of vulnerable community members (such as, people with disabilities, displaced, women, or elderly).
Budgeting and Financial Management: DOBRE will help CCs develop better budgeting and financial management to build trust with citizens. It will begin with a comprehensive assessment of their systems and practices to determine any deficiencies, bottlenecks and capacity needs. This will provide a long term roadmap to make improvements. DOBRE will also help CCs generate more own source revenue to establish firm foundations for the CCs.
Citizen Participation Improvements: DOBRE will help CCs integrate different mechanisms for citizens to participate in decision making and other aspects of the CC. DOBRE will also help the community better advocate for their interests and form a partnership with their CC rather than an adversarial relationship. DOBRE will encourage innovative methods for improving participation, particularly through ICT solutions.
Youth Local Councils (YLCs): DOBRE will establish a YLC in each partner CC. A special toolkit provides practical guidance in forming and operationalizing the YLC. Just like a CC Council, the YLC can interact with their constituency and hear their concerns and priorities. They can then amplify that voice by interacting with official structures on a continuing basis and presenting what youth think and need. DOBRE will train and mentor them throughout the life of the program.
Monitoring: DOBRE will work on different anti-corruption, transparency and monitoring mechanisms to strengthen trust between CCs and their citizens, including new technology to offer some innovative solutions that allow quicker response times. DOBRE will emphasize implementation of projects, procurements and the CC budget in general.
Community Level Grants: DOBRE will provide small grants in each CC to stimulate activities under Objective #2. This will include designated funds for each YLC for activities to generate interest and enthusiasm for youth activities but also address critical youth needs in the community. The remainder of the funds DOBRE will distribute through a competitive process in each CC to CBOs/CSOs. Applications may address monitoring, anti-corruption, advocacy and special activities that contribute to overall DOBRE goals.
Public Information & Communications: DOBRE will work with CCs to provide better information to their citizens on their activities, plans and results. Citizens can only hold their local government accountable when they know what they’re doing and planning. DOBRE will also help spread the experience of CCs to other communities to encourage more consolidations. DOBRE will also work with local media to improve their coverage of decentralization and local government issues.
DOBRE will strengthen local governance, deepen democracy, build prosperity, and promote stability. DOBRE will build stronger communities through community-driven development, in which citizens work together with their local government to improve their lives. Partnerships across civil society, the private sector, and government will provide tangible results through new economic opportunities and better managed local services, as well as a foundation for future cooperation and development. The achievements of this model of governance will provide an example to other communities in Ukraine, and broaden the appeal and impact of decentralization.
In order to measure these and other results from DOBRE, and the measure the performance and real improvements of partner CCs, DOBRE will evaluate and track a variety of specific indicators, these include: