April 2018

Women community leaders of self-help groups drive local development in conflict-affected Eastern Ukraine with support of European Union

Regional Forum on “Advancing Human Rights and Gender Equality through Community Mobilization for Empowerment (CME) in Ukraine“ is taking place on 24-25 April 2018 in Sviatohirsk, Donetsk region. During the Forum women and men from 20 communities of Donetsk and Luhansk regions will share their experience of applying the Community Mobilization for Empowerment methodology, as well as results and lessons learned of its piloting by the local governments and women’s self-help groups in Eastern Ukraine. Since 2016, UN Women in partnership with UNDP and Ukrainian Women’s Fund, with financial support of the European Union, have introduced the Community Mobilization for Empowerment methodology in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.  In just two years, mobilization activities have resulted in the formation of 58 self-help groups and in getting 364 women and 52 men meaningfully involved in local planning processes. Of the 58 self-help groups established so far, 20 have become formal, registered civil society organizations. 

Undergoing a decentralization process, Ukraine aims to create an effective system of local government that has the capacity and resources to adequately address local needs. In theory, this transfer of funding and authority from the central to the local level means that women could have greater opportunities to voice their priorities in local planning. Decentralization has the potential to address the most urgent needs of different vulnurable groups and put in place the services targeting populations that are often discriminated against and socially excluded. To achieve equal benefits for women and men representing diverse groups, gender equality and human rights should be put at the center of the reform’s implementation. 

By Applying Community Mobilization for Empowerment methodology the programme has mobilized women and men in the pilot communities and meaningfully involved them in local decision making and recovery processes. Community Mobilization for Empowerment proved to be a meaningful approach to identify the gender-specific needs of vulnerable women’s groups, to address the prioritties of women facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. All these efforts are critical to ensure that local development programmes address the differenciated needs of women and men and therefore are gender-responsive”- commented Tamar Tavartkiladze, Programme Manager, UN Women Ukraine. 

 “Since Ukrainian’s independence, women have been traditionally active in village councils. After launching the decentralization reform, men increasingly show interest of taking up leadership positions. Women’s representation in decision making on local levels are much lower, especially in conflict-affected areas.  During the implementation of the Community Mobilization for Empowerment in Eastern Ukraine communities started to pay attention to the needs of vulnerable groups  such as unemployed women, older women, internally displaced women, women with disabilities  and others. The risk still exists that without women’s participation in local decision making this progress will stop”- said Olesia Bondar, Director, Ukrainian Womens Fund. 

Background: The CME has been implemented as part of the UNDP-UN Women joint programme “Restoration of Governance and Reconciliation in Crisis-affected Communities of Ukraine,” funded by the European Union.   

See also

July 2019
The Ukrainian Women’s Fund in partnership with the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) has been engaged in gender monitoring of the early parliamentary elections in Ukraine on July 21, 2019.
February 2019
About a thousand people have improved their business skills; 112 of them have received grant support in the form of equipment needed to start a business and have created 71 new jobs. Another 43 existing businesses have been granted free equipment that enabled them to create 207 new jobs.
January 2019
NGOs representatives from Vinnytsya, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk and Khmelnytskyi Oblasts learned about reporting requirements of the Ukrainian Women's Fund, agreed on communication within the project to ensure broad coverage of all projects that will be implemented in 5 oblasts.