Crowdsourcing Land Rights and Usage in Ukraine

May 17, 2012
Deriban.net gives individuals a voice

Transparency is hard to come by in the bureaucratic process of land rights in Ukraine. Deriban.net, a crowdsourced web site, was launched to give individuals, journalists, and legal advocates a way to track and report violations of land rights and usage. Watch Crowdsourcing Land Rights in Ukraine to understand the problem and the project.

The Ukrainian Constitution guarantees its citizens a free plot of land once in their life, but most Ukrainians do not receive the land to which they are entitled. Many believe this is a result of corruption and poor governance. 

Crowdsourcing Land Rights in Ukraine uncovers the story of Natasha Kobeleva of Alushta City in Ukraine, who fought the government for years over a plot of land. Kobeleva ultimately took her own life after years of dispute with the government, and the community still feels they have few ways to understand, enforce, or advocate for their rights.

Through an open mapping system where anyone can post legitimate or illegitimate land acquisitions and construction in-progress, Deriban.net increases citizen participation in holding local government accountable. The platform will also provide users with access to legal expertise and instructions on how to submit complaints on illegal land usage or violations of rights to the proper authorities.

“We want to make this information accessible to everyone, so there are no secrets, everything is open and transparent,” says Pavel Belousov, Executive Director of Novus, the Ukrainian NGO that developed Deriban.net. “When this information becomes accessible and open for everyone, journalists and law enforcement agencies will be able to use it in their work.”

Deriban.net was first developed as a project at the 2011 Internews Social Innovation Lab in Sarajevo, supported by the Internews Center for Innovation & Learning. The lab organized groups of technologists, journalists, and leaders from civil society to tackle community problems through innovation and technology. Internews’ U-Media program in Ukraine, funded by USAID, has provided technical support and seed funding for Deriban.net.