Reformers Without Borders (RWB) was conceived, funded and launched as a full-scale program within 5 months (January – May 2016). The program brings fellows from the United States and other countries to Ukraine to work on building a bridge of trust between local government and citizens. The initial idea came from one of the 2015 projects, Razom Odessa. Back then, two of our volunteers, Lyuba Shipovich and Natalia Shyrba spent 3 months as part of a team of reformers at the Odesa Regional (Oblast) Administration. The first RWB fellow, Hugo Spaulding, a Washington D.C analyst, was chosen from more than 20 applicants from all over the world. He successfully finished his 3 months assignment in Odesa in August 2016. After a year, the region was rated #1 in Ukraine in investment climate. The year coincided with Lyuba, Hugo and other Razom volunteers working in Odesa. We think there is a connection.
Our goal is to create a sustainable pipeline of international talent and expertise going to Ukraine and building a successful country on the ground, shoulder-to-shoulder with local activists. Throughout 2016 we have seen many examples of the very real impact of this work.