On June 8, the USAID RADA Program and MPs presented their experience and practices of interaction with voters, developed within the framework of the Model District Project.
USAID RADA Program has been implementing a pilot Model District Project for several years, which aims to create the most effective model of communication and interaction of MPs with voters through both classical and innovative tools.
The objective of the project is to provide an MP and his team with a variety of support (expert, analytical, technical, organizational) to solve the urgent problems of the district.
Seven MPs from different factions and elected in both single-mandate and multi-mandate nationwide districts presented in TEDx-way the best tools and practices used during the Project implementation as well as the results of the initiative.
The USAID RADA Program offers each of the seven MPs the following tools for building dialogue and communication with their constituents:
- Trainings for MP’s team;
- Trainings, education, and awareness events for the public;
- MPs’ public reports to local councils and voters in the district;
- Town Hall Meetings and public hearings;
- Measures aimed at improving communication with deputies of local councils in the district;
- Press briefings and press conferences;
- Participation of regional media journalists in a press tour to the Verkhovna Rada;
- Support for on-site Committee meetings and Committee hearings;
- Conduct of regional colloquia for teachers and implementation of “Parliament Agora” learning game at the district’s secondary schools.
Petro Bodnar, First Deputy Head of the Secretariat of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine
Model District is an extremely important program. We spent a lot of time discussing how to establish communication with citizens. Model District Project is aimed at solving these problems, since it allows citizens to communicate with deputies. I want to express my sincere hope that communications on the example of the Model District will become mass among the deputies.
Ann Hopper, Deputy Director of USAID Office of Democracy and Government
As you all well know a key part of the accountable and democratic institution is for MPs to fulfill representative function with constituencies. Model District is signature initiative for our partnership with the Verkhovna Rada. We are pleased to be partners with 7 MPs who have demonstrated both classical and innovative ways of communicating with their constituencies, voters, mass media, local authorities and civil society.
Victor Lyakh, President of East Europe Foundation
Today we present the result of 2.5 years of work with MPs - project participants of Model District Project. We want to see interaction and communication between the parliament and the citizens. I hope that the new format will become a model for the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
Ihor Kogut, Director of the USAID RADA Program
The objective of the Model District Project was to build communication models, as well as to develop traditional communications and offer innovative. One of the conclusions for me was that MPs began to listen to others during the public reports, town hall meetings and other events within the framework of the Project. During these 2 years, we have also become observers changing the attitude of voters to MPs in our model constituencies.
Pavlo Rizanenko, MP, constituency #97, Kyiv oblast, faction of party “Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc”, Verkhovna Rada Committee on Financial Policy and Banking
My cooperation with the RADA Program within the framework of the Model District Project was mutually beneficial, interesting and cognitive. I would like to share experiences related to communications with citizens, namely, town hall meetings.
This format allows you to hear each other constructively.
I thank the RADA Program, which provided methodology and taught my team. Now I recommend to the village heads that if there is no consensus in the community - convene town city meetings.
Rizanenko also spoke about town hall meetings as chairman of the village, who initiated public gatherings.
Ihor Huz, MP, constituency #19, Volyn oblast, Faction of political party “People’s Front”, member of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Foreign Affairs
After I was selected to participate in the Model District Project, I gathered my team. We have decided to focus on decentralization. We wanted to establish a cooperation between the people's deputy and local self-government bodies and the creation of an amalgamated communities.
With the help of the RADA Program, we have carried out a series of activities that have helped to unite the amalgamated communities. After these events, we created the Association of Local Government Bodies in Prybuzhzhya. We have moved to a new format of work: every month we gather heads of amalgamated communities in another community, share experiences, provide expert help.
I believe that this is a successful story of the completion of the decentralization process in my constituency, which have been successful with the assistance of the RADA Program and the Model District Project.
Olena Sotnyk, MP, nationwide multi-mandate district, Kharkiv oblast, Faction of political party “Samopomich”, Verkhovna Rada Committee on European Integration
I had two key projects within the Model District Initiative. The first is about youth, because I believe that the youth can drastically change the country, and the second with the country's vision. I gave voters freedom to create a country's vision, which showed me that I must believe.
Thirty years ago such an event would not have been possible in Ukrainian Parliament. I do not believe that MPs could talk about communications in this way, which means that the country is changing, and we must believe in our dream and change the country for the better.
Ivan Krulko, MP, nationwide multi-mandate district, Transcarpathian oblast, faction of political party “All-Ukrainian Union “Batkivshchyna”, Verkhovna Rada Committee on Budget
Our work of parliamentarians will be evaluated not by the number of meetings held, but how we have affected the lives of each individual by our work, and this what was our Model District Project about.
Oleksandr Chernenko, MP, nationwide multi-mandate district, Chernihiv oblast, faction of party “Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc”, Verkhovna Rada Committee on Legal Policy and Justice
When I ran for the election, I traveled across Ukraine. During a meeting in Artemivsk (present-day Bakhmut) at the factory, I realized that the established communication of an MP with the voters is shameful. Instead of involving voters in decision-making, discussing draft laws, we have populist, empty promises.
Instead of frank communication and public reports, we have custom articles in the local press. Instead of the normal communication with the local deputies and the press, we have billboards and baskets for journalist's day. When there was a chance to take part in the Model District, a task for me was to change the tradition and culture of people's deputies to communicate with voters. During the participation in the project, the first step was taken very seriously. This project has given me arguments in the electoral reform to understand that the deputy elected under party lists can work efficiently with voters.
Svitlana Zalishchuk, MP, nationwide multi-mandate district, Luhansk oblast, faction of party “Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc”, Verkhovna Rada Committee on Foreign Affairs
The Model District Project was an opportunity to visit the displaced universities. As an MP, I was able to bring many MPs to the ATO zone. Similarly, I was able to bring many journalists from all over Ukraine.
The Model District has helped us pass legislation on displaced universities. After communicating with universities, we were able to help them overcome the problem of lack of material resources, debt to teachers, the risk of losing a license.
Oleksandr Kodola, MP, constituency #209, Chernihiv oblast, Faction of political party “People’s Front”, member of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Construction, Urban Development, Housing and Communal Services
My team has been involved in some of the project activities of the Model District during the last year on communication with voters.
It is important that our team tries to attract the voters who state the problem to solve it. I thank the RADA Program and I hope that this project will continue, and our team together with other MPs will be able to participate fully.