January 29, 2019
President Hotel, Kyiv
Hi! Nobody is more excited to be in this auditorium than I am. And especially with that music. I feel like I should pump my fist up in the air, because it’s just such a thrill to be here!
All of you are actively involved in the decentralization process, with all of its many features. And there’s probably none that is as important as transparently managing public funds. This is just a critical aspect for all the reasons that you know so well and for managing communities at all levels.
And I think we all know that conversations about money are hard, whether it’s in your family, whether it is in your community, whether it is at the government level in the oblast and the rayon. And I think it’s clear that leaders that are willing to engage in this – like all of you, or else you wouldn’t be here tonight. Leaders that are willing to engage in those kinds of conversations with colleagues, with citizens, can build trust in their communities. And I think that’s the way you get real results.
Because not only are those leaders empowered, the citizens are empowered. And that back-and-forth conversation about what kinds of decisions need to be made in the community, where you’re going to spend the money, what choices need to be made – because it’s hard, there’s never enough money, and hard choices need to be made – but when we make them together, people are all in and can move that process forward. And I think the public’s confidence in all of you as their leaders grows, even though getting there can sometimes be very difficult.
And that’s why we need evenings like this, where your work is recognized for the contributions that it makes to the communities.
All of you are engaged in internationally [recognized] best practices. Practices that you probably know far better than I, about how to manage budgets and so forth. And we applaud your initiative, your creativity, your courage in doing this. Especially since some of you are doing this for the very first time. Probably all of you are doing it for the very first time, and for the first time in your communities. And I think that takes resilience and I think it takes resolve.
And so we in the U.S. – on behalf of USAID and the Embassy – we are so proud to be able to support all of you, your efforts in involving your citizens in deciding how government resources are spent.
So I think that it’s probably time now to announce the winner here. So if you’ll bear with me, I’m going to say – дава́йте ж дізна́ємось хто́ перемо́жець!
So do I get more music while I open the envelope?
Well, this may not be a surprise, because it is ‘Bashtanska Hromada’!