In January, the Fund organized a presentation at the national level. Representatives of the Office of the Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, the Office of the Government Commissioner for Gender Equality Policy, the Office of the Prosecutor General, the National Police, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the National Social Service, the Ministry of Social Policy, the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine, donor and civil society organizations took part in the presentation. The event also brought together stakeholders involved in working with survivors in Kyiv.
“Our coordinated actions make it possible to effectively respond to the challenges of sexual violence committed by the russian military in Ukraine,” said Kateryna Levchenko, Government Commissioner for Gender Equality Policy, during the event.
Holding regional presentations was the next step. The presentations aimed to explain the project’s goals together with the partners from the CSO “La Strada Ukraine” and Women Lawyers Association “JurFem,” and bring together representatives of local women’s rights organizations, oblast state administrations, police, and other parties that can be involved in working with survivors of war-related sexual violence.
The first regional presentation of the project took place in April in Lviv, where before that, the 1325 Lviv Regional Coalition was established. Civil society organizations and regional plan implementers united their efforts to localize the National Action Plan for the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution “Women. Peace. Security.” It is currently the largest 1325 coalition in Ukraine, as 64 organizations and institutions have signed the memorandum.
A week later, representatives of the Ukrainian Women’s Fund and partner organizations already made a presentation in Rivne. The next meeting happened in Odesa, and it brought together participants from two oblasts – Odeska and Khersonska.
In May, the project was presented in Khmelnytskyi, Zaporizhzhia, Kropyvnytskyi, and Dnipro, bringing together organizations from Dnipropetrovska, Luhanska, and Donetska oblasts. The series of regional events ended with meetings in Chernihiv, Sumy, and Kharkiv. While organizing and attending 10 events in the regions, we traveled thousands of kilometers and talked to hundreds of participants.
“We heard that today there are resources and a desire to form the necessary institutional network that will help provide the needed support. Working with women’s rights CSOs, we see that survivors often turn to them. It’s simpler, and it’s easier psychologically, so we can see that women’s rights organizations play a great role in this system,” summarizes Natalia Karbowska, Director of Strategic Development at the Ukrainian Women’s Fund.
During the presentations, the participants discussed the importance of helping survivors, what local authorities, institutions working with survivors, and CSOs are already doing in this area, and announced further plans. All of these events were made possible with the financial support of the European Union.
“The European Union supports Ukraine’s effort to respond to conflict-related sexual violence and will be proud to support this project, which is built on the close cooperation between government and civil society in order to improve the provision of support to survivors and develop an effective system of prevention and response,” said Stefan Schleuning, Head of Unit at the EU Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI) during the constituent meeting in Kyiv.
The project “Resilient Together: Improving the System of Response to War-Related Sexual Violence” is implemented by the Ukrainian Women’s Fund in partnership with the CSO La Strada-Ukraine and the Ukrainian Women Lawyers Association “JurFem” with the support of the Office of the Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration and the Office of the Government Commissioner for Gender Equality Policy and with the financial support of the European Union.