Reformers Without Borders (RWB) is a short-term exchange program that brings fellows from the United States and other countries to Ukraine to work on building a bridge of trust between local governing bodies and citizens. Fellows will build and maintain an open relationship between government and civil society to support reform projects.
Razom founder and president Lyuba Shipovich, as well as board member Natalia Shyrba, moved to Odessa in late August 2015 to volunteer with the regional and district administrations in implementing IT tools. After assembling a team of volunteers and assessing the situation in Odessa, the team began working on sustainable projects that promoted transparency, provided an accessible service to the citizens, and had anti-corruption components.
The implementation of the projects revealed several key themes. First, a solution to a problem often already existed and all that was needed for completion was to create a connection between a government entity and appropriate civic groups. Second, there were many citizens willing to help implement government reform projects, but did not know exactly how to go about doing so. Third, there were also many ideas and proposed solutions by representatives of civic groups that had not reached the appropriate it into government offices for various reasons.
Problem: Ukraine has a robust civil society, both showcased by civic organizations and independent activists. Since the Maidan Revolution, the government of Ukraine has undergone many changes, including re-elections and the arrival of many new faces into executive government, and vowed to implement sweeping reforms. There are many shared goals between civil society and governing bodies, however, there is also a lack of trust and communication between citizens and government. We believe that there is enormous untapped potential in increasing communication and combining the efforts of governing bodies, both local and central, and civil society. A good working relationship will promote openness, understanding, and move forward important projects to accelerate the successful implementation of reforms.
Solution: In short, our mission is to build a bridge of trust between government and civil society in Ukraine. Fellows who arrive from abroad will utilize their foreign experience to support reformers in Ukraine while enhancing an environment of individual leadership, professionalism and cooperation.
The program is designed to increase the degree of trust between citizens and local government officials. The objectives of the program are to change the awareness and the skill level among both government officials and citizens so that the level and durability of collaboration will increase.
Fellows will be:
- Supporters. By utilizing global connections and closely working with Razom, fellows will provide support to local projects leads in completing their projects and bring best practices from all over the world.
- Connectors. By maintaining relationships with government workers, civic organizations, local activists, and businesses, they will promote a working relationship between all of the parties, connect similar initiatives, and aid in information exchange.
- Promoters. By showcasing the process of how projects are implemented, they will and provide civil society with the information on how to go about working with the government.
How to Get Involved
Become a fellow
Are you ready to work alongside senior government officials to make real change? Do you want to be part of the conversations with senior-level experts who are creating real reform each day?
Reformers Without Borders Fellowship Program is your opportunity to dive into the environment where the change depends on you, and gain invaluable experience in:
- Civil society development
- Collaborating with local governments
- Reforming/nation building
- Cultural experience working abroad
- Working in an international NGO
- Project management
By helping implement and model reformed government processes and behaviors, fellows will build and maintain the open relationship between government and civil society that is needed for reforms to take root.
Duration: 3 months
Location: Odessa region, Ukraine
Program covers: travel, living plus stipend
Other ways to join
- Find the talent. Successful, dynamic fellows are the key to program success. We are looking for the best and brightest, help us find them. Share the program with your contacts. Maybe your old college friend will end up being our fellow!
- Spread the word. Make sure to follow us on facebook to hear the latest stories from the ground in Ukraine. We want to show you the process of reforms, what it takes day to day, and to bring you closer to the amazing people in Ukraine who are driving reforms forward.
- Find the resources. Developing and maintaining the program requires financial and human resources. We rely on supporters like you. Help us run this program by donating.
Organization can become a Reformers Without Borders Partner. We are looking for partners in the areas of marketing, recruitment, and fundraising. Learn more about partnership opportunities at reformerswithoutborders.org (the How to Help section).
Learn more about the initiative, like the projects that fellows will have an opportunity to work on or what phases of the program will entail at reformerswithoutborders.org.