At first glance it would seem unremarkable that a social enterprise centre in Donetsk receives funding fron USAID.
The project was implemented under the program “Development of Social Entrepreneurship in Ukraine”, which is a joint initiative of the Eastern European Fund, British Council Ukraine, PricewaterhouseCoopers Ukraine and Erste Bank.
According to Martin Davidson of The British Council, these partners were selected on the basis of their ability to make a financial contribution rather than operating a social enterprise in Ukraine.
The British Council are unwilling to disclose how much public money they’re spending on this exercise.
I wrote recently about Erste Bank’s social business ideas competition
Those with a little local knowledge might presume that this was the outcome of a widely read proposal which had been published several years earlier, in a leading web journal.
The release date for this plan was October 2006, since when it had been in circulation and discussion among officials in Ukraine. First results were agreement by Ukraine’s government to open more than 400 new treatment centers for psychoneurologically disabled children – the most urgent need.
For these children, identified in a recent BBC documentary, regrettably this is not the case.
In his letter to USAID in February 2008, P-CED founder Terry Hallman reminded both USAID and the Senate Committee of Foreign Relations of this proposal and draws their attention to the organised crime activiites which profit from these dire conditions. It was something that civic activists at Maidan published in part on discovery of Terry’s body in August 2011. The full content may be found here.
Copying this letter to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations was done in full knowledge of its membership which included Joe Biden (as chair) and Barack Obama at the time.
USAID had responded in May 2008 declaring there was no budget for dealing with the problem of these ‘retarded children’.
What else can be concluded other than that USAID was determined to avoid this human rights issue, while taking advantage of the efforts already invested in sourcing a social enterprise centre in Ukraine and with the consent of the White House.
Full details of this murky affair may be found on the Maidan civic action website.
As I write, a diplomatic row has just erupted between the US and Russia, with Putin taking a stand by blocking orphan adoptions by US families. It s once again the children who will suffer.
Meanwhile I learn from Paul Klein in Forbes.com that USAID are proposing the concept of a Social Licence to Operate (SLO)