UNDP Anticorruption School sets anticorruption agenda for collective action at the regional level

On 13 March 2015, the UNDP Anticorruption School kicked off close to Kyiv, bringing together 30 leading civic activists, journalists, and community movers and shakers from 15 oblasts of Ukraine to master the most practical anticorruption tools existing in Ukraine at this point of time. Anyone interested could join this meeting by watching it live online.

Themed under the global "Break corruption chain" ( campaign, this 3-day event was tailored to responding to the needs of regional activists, members of initiative groups and investigative journalists to stimulate exchange of information, skill-building and expansion of regional networks to build anticorruption collaboration across Ukraine.
In her welcome speech, Yuliya Shcherbinina, UNDP Senior Programme Manager in Ukraine, underlined hopes that the School would provide a springboard for real efforts to tackle corruption in the regions, supporting local civic leaders to set anticorruption agenda for collective action.
The participants then had an opportunity to share their interests in the field, chart expectations for the upcoming days of training (monitoring procurement, tracking down possible corruption in real estate, verifying assets declarations and engaging in lifestyle monitoring, using advocacy to promote their findings and bring about systemic change, working with the media, and accessing public information).
While the list of themes that were voiced throughout the training expectations seemed to be extremely versatile, the stellar team of mentors engaged for the training from lead Ukrainian CSOs and the Office of the Ombudsperson was able to respond to all of the needs voiced throughout the expectation stage.
Throughout day one, keynote speaker Ivan Presnyakov, Expert at Ukrainian Institute for Public Policy, described the new rules to combat corruption and the latest developments in the field of anticorruption legislation in Ukraine.
What should be the response to systemic corruption? According to Mr. Presnyakov, there are three key areas of change: prevention, prosecution of corruption, and access to public information. The National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption will form anticorruption policy, approve local programmes, and monitor lifestyle of officials. The prosecution of corruption will occur primarily through the newly established National Anticorruption Bureau. The access to information will be ensured through open registries.
The first module was about public procurement and monitoring of real estate. Vitaly Shabunin, Head of the Center for Combating Corruption, anti-corruption expert of the Reanimation Package of Reforms anti-corruption group, talked about control over property of officials and public procurement in the local community, and outlined the general model and technology of activity.
In addition to inspiring talk, the School also featured multiple practical sessions that addressed a wide spectrum of issues related to anticorruption. In particular, participants were able to apply their gained knowledge in the sphere of procurement of local authorities and government-owned or public enterprises in real cases during the sessions led by Olena Shcherban and Olha Veretilnyk.
Throughout day two, the School participants learned of the ways to analyse and monitor assets declarations, as presented by Anatoliy Stoyan of TI Ukraine. The participants got a true taste of financial investigation by analysing real declarations of higher officials and digging deeper into the essence of how lifestyle monitoring could be performed.
The session on access to public information led by Iryna Kushnir of the Office of the Ombudsperson has allowed the participants to link first-hand with the institution responsible for upholding the right to information and get to know some of the approaches that could be used to make sure that this right is indeed fulfilled.

Working on civic anticorruption risk assessment under guidance of Mykola Khavroniuk of the Centre for Political and Legal Reform, one of the most prominent advocates of this tool for flagging corruption risks in upcoming laws and regulations, as well as already adopted documents, the participants received examples of how this tool may be used and conclusions shaped.

The evening of day two held yet another surprise for the School delegates: an evening talk with Oleksa Shalaysky of Nashi Hroshi investigative journalist platform. The scheduled time for the lecture and informal communication had actually been extended by almost an hour, as the participants just did not want to let the speaker go. Ideas, schemes, disclosure tools and safeguards for personal safety – all were bubbling up in the talks and discussions.
Even better, after the evening lecture the participants decided to gather for an ad-hoc session of knowledge-sharing regarding irregularities in state procurement led by Myroslav Simka, one of the School participants. This session gave another two hours for the participants to delve deeper into the intricacies of spotting procurement irregularities and corrupt schemes.

Day three was dedicated to discussions of advocacy tools, presented by Inna Hryshchenko of Centre for Political Studies and Analysis, including the instruments available at the AdvoHub ( Convenient and fast access to public information was presented by Yaroslav Muravyov of CentreUA located at Access to the Truth portal (
The School curriculum was completed by a fantastic presentation on CSO communications for anticorruption done by Inna Borzylo also of CentreUA.

Viacheslav Golovchenko, one of the School participants, has commented the School in his blog by saying that "under the impression of the School, I was telling about it to our partners and friends all day – about how well it was organized. In all truth, I have not seen something like this in Ukraine, US or France where I had the chance to study before. Thank you once more".
UNDP will continue to build on the first results of the School, including the nascent networks, and the Facebok group for all "in-person" and "virtual" school participants with already 134 subscribers is expected to serve as an ongoing platform to nurture not only communication but also stimulate action to combat corruption at the regional level in Ukraine.