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Filed under: Development 2.0 Governance Social inclusion Social innovation

Graphic image of a city in Ukraine

Earlier this year, we worked with about 45 representatives of our partner cities on:

  1. How they can benefit from using social media
  2. What kind of social innovation projects can strengthen the relationship between local governments and communities

For us – people promoting social media as an effective tool – it was surprising to see that many people often do not even understand the term “social media.” We assumed that if we enjoy the great benefits of using social media, then everybody must probably do the same.

But it seems that if people do not work in a big city (and 80 percent of Ukrainian cities are small towns with less than 50,000 people), in a progressive public organization or media agency, chances are high that they have never seen videos like this and do not understand the great opportunities of socializing their professional communication.

During our training we discussed the following issues:

  • The Internet as a source of inspiration
  • Social media as a modern communication tool
  • How to get the maximum benefit from using social media
  • Models of using the social media for raising transparency and anticorruption

More details can be found in my presentation (pdf, in Ukrainian).

We discussed the ideas of the projects to help solve urgent social problems at the local level, like improving the management of the multi-apartment houses, environmental protection, human rights protection, even promoting proper parking.

When we presented key findings of a report on Social media for anticorruption, people were amazed to see how many post-Soviet countries have good experiences of such projects.

And we decided to give them a chance to do the same. Inspired by the experience of the Social Innovation Camp in Armenia, we found a good partner here in Ukraine – the Internews Network – which organized the Innovation Lab in Ukraine, where we helped select the five best ideas. UNDP is supporting Economisto, a web-platform for citizens to monitor the environment within their city and promote an environmentally-friendly attitude towards waste. Update coming soon.

Do you have examples of how local governments are using social media to connect with their citizens?

What are the ingredients that make these initiatives succeed (or flop)?

*Olena Ursu (Check out her blog) is a governance and sustainable development specialist with UNDP in Ukraine.

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