Citizen Engagement and Reform Communication

Citizen Engagement and Reform Communication


The Citizen Engagement and Reform Communication Program (CERC) built understanding and trust between citizens and police by establishing platforms for communication, engagement, and collaboration through libraries and other civic platforms.

The program raised awareness of citizen’s rights, engaged media, and built cooperation between the public and law enforcement.

Quick Facts

  • Nearly 14,000 Ukrainian citizens attended 400 community engagement events in cities throughout the country. They met with 1,100 police officers, 113 local government representatives, and 400 media representatives.
  • 34% of participants reported more positive attitudes toward law enforcement due to direct interaction with police officers. 64% reported increased understanding of police reform.
  • Nearly 200 media professionals attended the program’s media briefings and established better communication channels with police press officers. As a result, 58% of journalists published articles about law enforcement within the first three months of the briefing.
  • An information campaign to raise awareness about issues such as domestic violence and drunk driving reached 1.5 million people in six cities.
  • The program provided client-orientation and communication skills to 616 interns at Ministry of the Interior Service Centers in 25 oblasts, piloted a neighborhood watch initiative, and launched a volunteer firefighter’s communication campaign in five communities.


  • Platforms for community and police interaction: Staff facilitated informational events at libraries and local organizations that brought together police and a diverse group of community members to detail and discuss law enforcement issues.
  • Informational campaign: To support community policing activities, the program launched three public service announcements covering responses to domestic violence, street crime, and drinking and driving, which aired on 72 local and regional TV channels.
  • Media briefings: Staff organized media briefings for police press officers and heads of police. The one-day events included a four-hour training on effective communication for patrol police press officers and a briefing with media representatives to discuss models of cooperation and information sharing.
  • Neighborhood watch: To promote public safety, IREX tailored neighborhood watch practices to the Ukrainian context and launched the first neighborhood watch in Vinnytsia in 2017. As a result, other cities started to adopt the practice, usually at the initiative of patrol police.
  • Public relations for domestic violence units: The program worked closely with POLINA units—police units focused specifically on domestic violence. Staff designed the POLINA brand identity and facilitated its presentation to the public and conducted a workshop on gender and gender-responsive governance for government representatives.  
  • Antitrafficking in persons: IREX developed a tailored educational program for the Department of Juvenile Prevention that included skills to identify, prevent, and respond to human trafficking. IREX also provided small grants to local organizations and conducted public outreach events.
  • Young professionals training: The program young professionals who were selected for internships at the Ministry of Internal Affairs Service Centers in professional skills such as communication and customer service.
  • Community engagement events: Staff oversaw community engagement events and managed the communication strategy for the Volunteer Emergency Response Service and Community Firefighting reforms. As a result, the public’s understanding of the reforms increased.
It was interesting to see how the attitude toward the police has changed: from mistrust to friendly attitudes. Students had a unique opportunity to ask police officers anything they wanted. A citizen who attended an engagement event with police officers


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