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Effective Governance

READ THE STORIES: What Ukraine’s Future Entrepreneurs Need to Succeed | Community Awareness Leads to Citizen Engagement in Tanzania


What Ukraine’s Future Entrepreneurs Need to Succeed

Ukraine’s micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) employ 70% of the country’s workers and represent half of its gross domestic product. Workforce diversity and inclusive growth aren’t just modern values here; they are practical approaches to a larger, stronger, sustainable economy.

The country will have one of the world’s largest populations living with disabilities. Building a society that accommodates them and transforms veterans’ military experience into relevant job skills is essential for sustainable economic growth—in addition to women’s inclusion in the economy and export markets.

The extent to which Ukraine’s government and society can nurture private sector growth, foreign investment, and export revenue hinges on its human capital, on its ability to transform and innovate during a full-scale war, and the space and value it creates for women, veterans, and people with disabilities in its economy.

“The more people you can build up economically, the more they can participate in the way government runs, the more resilient your economy becomes,” says Leisa Gibson, Abt’s principal and head of gender, equality, disability, and social inclusion and localization. She supervises the Good Governance Fund (GGF) Program in Ukraine, funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. “Every Ukrainian I’ve talked to says that a powerful economy is another powerful weapon against the aggression of Russia.”

Understanding the needs and incentives of these groups is a top priority for Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation, Ministry of Economy, and the Entrepreneurship and Export Promotion Office. They tasked the GGF team with gathering insights from female entrepreneurs—including those who are internally displaced, veterans, or live with disabilities—to recommend policies and tools for boosting participation in an economy under siege.

“We carried out probably the most comprehensive study of women’s entrepreneurship in the country—under the conditions of a full-scale invasion,” explains Abt’s Team Lead, Dr. Nadiia Zaritska. A sociologist by training, she spearheads initiatives to advance domestic reforms and establish transparent and accountable institutions that foster open and inclusive societies.

The team surveyed and followed around 500 women operating micro-, small-, and medium-sized businesses in war-affected communities. Their findings will help the government advance supportive policies and programs to expand market access for women-owned businesses and their products and mobilize foreign investors and partners.

After releasing the report in November 2023, Abt, through the GGF project, and the Government of Ukraine launched the Women’s Business Empowerment Program “Grow” (“Zrostai”) to support female entrepreneurs from war-affected communities. They received 193 applications—signaling high demand for these opportunities—and selected 15 for mentorship and training in business innovation and practices.

Farida Takhir’s coffee shop is a case study in consumer behavior and Ukrainians’ psychological resilience. In a gleaming space, between the rubble of office towers, she sweeps crumbs from tables while espresso machines hiss in the background. The desire for normalcy and small luxuries seems to sustain Farida’s business, which she named V Momenti (or “In the Moment”). “It’s a break from the bombs and shelling that keep us awake,” she says.

Farida was one of the nearly 200 women who applied for business revitalization support through GGF’s Grow initiative. Her shop is one of over 37,000 new businesses that opened in 2023—more than Ukraine registered in 2021 before the war. Over half of these ventures were launched by women entrepreneurs, many of whom are looking to scale and sell abroad.

Expanding entrepreneurs’ access to export markets in Europe can help compensate for lagging demand at home. Abt worked with local partners to develop the Online Entrepreneurs Account, EntreComp+ Online skills assessment, and an online business plan development service. These tools streamline the processes of starting, managing, and expanding businesses and provide personalized support based on the lifecycle stage of a business and offer targeted resources for growth and development. The project also supports improvements to the Diia Business Centers and Association, a digital platform that connects citizens to government services and resources for SMEs.

“The key strength of this program is in the way that it’s building an economy and government processes that are effective, that are transparent, that are inclusive in response to the needs and requests of the government themselves,” says Abt’s Leisa Gibson.

LEARN MORE: Fighting on Their Front: Ukraine’s Women Entrepreneurs Are Fueling a Wartime Economy | Building Resilience and Growth in Eastern Europe
PROJECT: Good Governance Fund Technical Assistance Facility Eastern Partnership (GGF TAF EP)
CLIENT: U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)

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Community Awareness Leads to Citizen Engagement in Tanzania

Tanzania is moving swiftly on the journey toward self-reliance. But despite tremendous economic growth and progress, many Tanzanians remain underserved by public services. The Abt-led USAID Public Sector Systems Strengthening Plus (USAID PS3+) provides technical assistance to the Government of Tanzania to strengthen public sector systems to enable them to address citizens’ needs for quality services at the local level, particularly for underserved populations. USAID PS3+ aims to improve service delivery and public sector systems—including human and public financial resources management and information systems—across the health, education, and agriculture sectors on mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar. Another key objective is to build the capacity of subnational governments to lead sustainable local development, in part by promoting citizen engagement and social accountability.

Poor access to information makes it difficult for citizens to seek out government services and participate in community decision-making processes and economic opportunities, and USAID PS3+ is working to address this critical issue across other project activities. It was an ideal combination of funding, a revamped government website, and community engagement that prompted recent progress in the Uvinza District of Tanzania's Kigoma region. The Uvinza District Council (DC) decided to invest in palm oil production and promote the strategy using the DC’s website, updated and improved through a collaboration between USAID PS3+ and the President's Office, Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG). The website played a key role in raising awareness and helping to connect citizens and investors to the business opportunity. Investment in palm oil production has the potential to lift living standards for those engaged in its farming and unlock business opportunities, fostering prosperity for others in and outside the district.

Before development of the website, Local Government Authorities (LGAs) like Uvinza DC lacked an efficient or reliable way to disseminate information to the public. Staff in Uvinza DC depended on announcements at public meetings and places of worship, loudspeakers to broadcast messages through busy streets, and posted flyers on public notice boards to communicate information. But local government staff knew this was not sufficient to widely share important information about district priorities, community engagement opportunities, and valuable business ventures.

“The development of LGA websites has revolutionized information dissemination, surpassing traditional methods and reaching a wider audience,” says Winfrida Bwire, an information officer at the Uvinza DC.

After the announcement of the palm oil investment strategy on Uvinza DC’s website, visits to the DC’s website more than tripled, from 15,000 to more than 49,000. The ability to submit forms electronically through the website—rather than in person—made expressing interest in the opportunity easy, reducing the barrier to entry for a critical economic opportunity. As investors and farm workers flocked to the area, demand for mobile money services rose, as did the number of shops and small businesses, availability of transport services, and short-term employment opportunities.

Uvinza is just one example. Across mainland Tanzania, PO-RALG and USAID PS3+ have supported regional and local government authorities to develop and maintain their websites as a way to promote citizen engagement and social accountability. To date, USAID PS3+ has provided technical support to PO-RALG information technology officers to design and develop websites for all 26 Regional Secretariats and 184 Local Government Authorities (LGAs). PO-RALG and USAID PS3+ supported LGA websites had over 8.5 million visitors by the end of September 2023. Dodoma City Council had the highest number, with more than 1.6 million viewers due to a concerted effort by the Council’s information officers, who linked the site to multiple social media platforms.

The project also partnered with PO-RALG and Internews' Boresha Habari, a USAID-funded project supporting an open and inclusive media environment in Tanzania, and started working with several LGA-run and community-run radio stations on community engagement campaigns. Messages focused on citizens’ right to participate in village district assemblies, local planning and budgeting processes, and the availability of small business loans for women, youth, and people living with disabilities. From October 2022 to September 2023, radio programs provided information to more than 13.5 million people in 22 regions, leading to increased enrollment in social programs like the Improved Community Health Fund and participation in local decision-making processes. Citizens like Joyce Lage in Ruangwa confirmed the connection between radio messaging and increased citizen participation. She said, “Through the radio programs, I was motivated to attend meetings related to income and expenditures.”

When citizens are empowered with information, they are better able to voice their opinions, exercise their rights, and hold their local leaders accountable.

USAID PS3+ and its local partners promote citizen engagement in a variety of ways and foster economic growth in Tanzania, helping Tanzania and Tanzanians drive continued progress.

LEARN MORE: Strengthening Government Capacity in Tanzania
PROJECT: USAID Public Sector Systems Strengthening Activity (USAID PS3+)
CLIENT: U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

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