On June 2, the “Participatory Budgeting. Reboot” Forum was held in Kyiv. The event was attended by 65 representatives of Ukraine’s communities.
Participatory budgeting first appeared in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre 34 years ago. The tool was created to combat social inequality. In Ukraine, this tool appeared in 2015. The project was piloted in Chernihiv, Cherkasy, and Poltava, subsequently joined by other Ukrainian cities. Over the years, participatory budgeting has become very polarizing, sometimes causing as much stir among the public as presidential elections!
The implementation of participatory budgeting was suspended following the outbreak of the great war. Therefore, only 13 competitions were held across Ukrainian communities in 2022. For reference, there were 134 of them in the previous year, including 12 participatory school budgeting (“PSB”) competitions.
Communities have adapted to present-day conditions by now, with 40 localities willing to continue implementation of the tool on the ground.
During the Forum, best PB and PSB practices were presented, and the main challenges on the way to rebooting them were discussed.
“Our mission is to transform Ukraine into a state that serves and protects people. To this end, we create tools for citizens to influence government decisions. Among the most popular is participatory budgeting on the e-DEM platform, created under the EGAP Program. Not only the Forum allowed us to present the most exciting practices from various regions of Ukraine, but also to exchange useful experience that will help us rebuild Ukraine step by step,” says Viktor Liakh, President of East Europe Foundation.
“The main difference between participatory budgeting and other participatory tools is the ability to see the result of any initiative. A few years ago, the public could be heard complaining that while they pay taxes, the authorities do nothing. The development of the PB offered everyone an opportunity to ask themselves: ‘What have I done to make my community better?’ From now on, every Ukrainian is responsible for improving their homes and can monitor this process independently,” says Oleksandra Radchenko, Coordinator of the E-Democracy component of the EGAP Program.
Participatory budgeting changes mindsets and builds a strong civil society. Soon, Ukrainians will have the opportunity to join the change-making process again! Follow the news!
The Forum was held under the Swiss-Ukrainian EGAP Program implemented by East Europe Foundation.