Ukraine remains the most corrupt country in Europe and one of the least transparent countries in the world. Many Ukrainians perceive corruption as immutable and, in some cases, preferable to an overbearing bureaucracy, with citizens ill-equipped to provide oversight and unaware of the corrosive effect that corruption has on their daily lives. This has made it difficult to instill in Ukrainian youth an attitude towards corruption that differs from that of their parents.
The purpose of SACCI is to reduce corruption and increase the accountability and transparency of governance in Ukraine. Under the program component focusing on the reduction of public tolerance for corrupt practices, Making Cents International leads activities that support innovative and creative approaches to youth engagement. In the spring of 2018, we conducted an assessment of the youth engagement and anti-corruption movement in five regions in Ukraine – Drogobych, Lviv, Sumy, Okhtyrka, and Trostyanets – to gather information on youth priorities and interests, examining the results by specific youth profiles.
Based on the assessment findings, Making Cents engaged in strategic action planning for increasing youth awareness of anti-corruption issues and engagement in project activities through public events, conferences, and trainings. Making Cents has also conducted both in-person and virtual positive youth development training for program staff and teachers from across Ukraine, while updating locally developed curriculum with more active learning exercises promoting pro-social norms. Making Cents developed an event planning toolkit in 2019 to support youth-led organizations in their advocacy and community engagement efforts.
In early 2020, Making Cents completed desk research on youth and citizen engagement activities at Anti-Corruption Agencies in countries that have demonstrated significant progress in countering corruption. Based on the findings, SACCI provided the National Agency on Corruption Prevention with recommendations on citizen and youth engagement rooted in international best practices and the legal framework and institutional capacity of the Agency in Ukraine. At this time, Making Cents is developing a Positive Youth Development Guide for youth workers, donors, implementing partners, and youth in Ukraine, with a goal of documenting a shared concept and language to discuss, design, implement, and evaluate youth programming effectively.