Kvinna till Kvinna in Ukraine

Kvinna till Kvinna has supported women’s rights in Ukraine since 2014. In 2018 we opened an office in Kyiv and supported several partner organisations across the country. Due to lack of funding, we had to close the office in 2020 but continued cooperation and dialogue with Ukrainian women’s rights organisations. When the war broke out in 2022, Kvinna till Kvinna activated our emergency fund to provide urgent support to women’s rights organisations and individual women human rights defenders in and from Ukraine in their work to help women exposed to violence, displaced women, and families in need of immediate support.

Why we work in Ukraine

Ukraine is a country that has been affected by war since 2014 and the women of Ukraine have been living with the consequences. Any work with peacebuilding in eastern Ukraine, to try to resolve the conflict, have been met with hatred, threats and suspicion.

Russia’s invasion has created a large-scale humanitarian crisis with millions of displaced people. Now, all Ukrainians have reason to fear for their lives. Horrifying testimonies of sexual abuse, assaults and rape show that we have not done enough, not by far, to prevent these war crimes from happening. Survivors of rape and sexual abuse urgently need proper medical and phycological support , including access to abortion and contraception.

Local women’s rights organisations and women human rights defenders have a particularly valuable role to play when it comes to addressing women’s needs. Kvinna till Kvinna is working to increase our support to their invaluable work on the ground—short term and long term.

How we support women in Ukraine

It is crucial to support and stand in solidarity with local women’s rights organisations and women human rights defenders in Ukraine. They respond to the acute needs of the women and can provide gender perspectives on the humanitarian support. They already have the trust of women, who feel that they can seek help and process traumatic experiences and they also have a unique competence in working with a do-no-harm approach. This is of utmost importance in not causing further traumatisation for survivors.

Statements by our secretary-general

So far, the following organisations and individuals have received support from Kvinna till Kvinna’s emergency fund:

Centre Women’s Perspectives

Centre Women’s Perspectives is a women’s rights organisation specialised in dealing with gender-based violence. They are based in Lviv, western Ukraine, which quickly became a place where hundreds of thousands of refugees passed through. Centre Women’s Perspectives has shifted its work to providing urgent humanitarian assistance to refugees—their domestic violence shelter has turned into an emergency shelter. The funds will be used to provide even more shelter to internally displaced persons.

Nina Potarska

Ukrainian peace activist Nina Potarska supports women human rights defenders in Ukraine from her current home in Krakow, Poland. The funds will be used to help her set up a base after having fled Ukraine. She is in constant contact with colleagues and fellow peace activists in Ukraine, where the situation changes day-by-day.

“Everybody in Ukraine is on the level of basic needs. It’s not even about psychological support or anything like that; they need safety, food, medicine. They need safe and quite places without bombing, shelling, and noise,” says Nina.

Oksana Potapova

Oksana Potapova is a Ukrainian feminist, peacebuilding researcher and activist. She assisted Kvinna till Kvinna in distributing funds to local activists and women’s rights organisations. Since receiving the funding, she has now been employed by Kvinna till Kvinna to develop our programme in Ukraine.

INSHA

INSHA is a feminist, LGBTQI-inclusive non-governmental organisation from Kherson, Ukraine (currently occupied by the Russian forces). The organisation is currently in exile but continues to provide urgent and vital support to LGBTQI persons in Ukraine through a network of volunteers. The funds will be used to provide medical supplies to those in need who cannot access them inside Kherson. They will also be used to ensure safe (as safe as possible) evacuation of LGBTQI persons from Kherson.

Kateryna Khaneva

Kateryna Khaneva is a women human rights defender who works for the organisation Slavic Heart. They have been providing essential humanitarian supplies to people in remote areas of eastern Ukraine, as well as ensuring their evacuation. However, due to Russian military moving its main attacks to the east of Ukraine in April 2022, several staff had to evacuate to different regions of Ukraine. Kateryna is currently located in the Lviv region in western Ukraine. The funds will be used to cover the costs of rent, giving Kateryna and her team time to reconfigure their work as a displaced organisation.

Feminist Workshop

Feminist Workshop is a feminist non-governmental organisation based in Lviv, Ukraine. Since 2014, they have worked with girls and young women and building spaces of feminist collective knowledge. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, they have shifted its work to support vulnerable groups affected by the war. They have set up two shelters, one for feminist activists and one for women with children. They have also developed a network of support to elderly women in Lviv. The organisation continues its focus on feminist activism and movement building, and alongside with its community work, advocates for feminist funding principles with donors.

Feminist initiatives

This project directs funds to three grassroot feminist initiatives that support women in occupied or at-war cities by delivering sanitary supplies and medication. They have been working in coordination since February 2022 to avoid duplication and share resources.

Association of women mediators

Since March 2022, Ukrainian women mediators are mobilising their professional community to launch rapid conflict-response initiatives such as family mediation in times of war and prevention, mitigation, and resolution of community-based conflicts in hromadas hosting internally displaced people in Ukraine.

The mediators are working in mobile teams alongside psychologists in western Ukraine, providing psychological support, advocating for the needs of people and helping to resolve conflicts and organise community-based dialogues. The funds will be used for an offline event where women mediators can upgrade their knowledge and skills in dialogue processes and recharge their batteries in order to keep up with the demand.

The UN alarms: Russia uses rape and sexual violence as a "military strategy"

“When you hear women testify about Russian soldiers equipped with Viagra, it’s clearly a military strategy.”

– Pramila Patten, UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict

Source: CNN

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