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In June, Vital Voices President & CEO Alyse Nelson went to Ukraine with our Crisis Response team members Allan Freedman and Dalin Nhean to meet with women leaders of the nonprofit NGOs Vital Voices has supported since the onset of the Russian invasion. The team toured community shelters for internally displaced persons (IDP) and people with special needs that are run by the women in our network, which included a site visit to a facility operated by Lyubov Maksymovych, head of the Centre Women’s Perspective in Ukraine, who was one of five Ukrainian women NGO leaders honored at our 2022 Global Leadership Awards.

While in Kyiv, the Vital Voices team also met with women ministers of Ukraine’s government, including Olena Kondratuk, Vice-Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament and Kateryna Levchenko, Government Commissioner for Gender Equality Policy in Ukraine.

Alyse and the team also attended a meeting where The NGO Resource Center released a new study, supported by the Vital Voices Crisis Response Fund, documenting the role that women-led organizations have played in quickly pivoting to provide humanitarian and basic services.

Key findings of the study were:

  • 73 percent of women-led organizations that participated in the survey noted that they had provided direct services to many of the nearly 6 million individuals who have been forced to leave their homes and are classified as internally displaced individuals, or IDPs.
  • Nearly 50 percent of the organizations have prioritized response to those who have survived sexual violence related to the conflict.
  • Overall, women-led organizations shifted their activities to humanitarian assistance, despite no previous experience in this area and being chronically underfunded. Commentary on how women-led organizations continue to provide life-saving assistance to residents, despite lacking adequate resources. Additionally, women and girls are disproportionately impacted during war, yet continue leading the charge.

The findings underscore the need for a significant increase in funding for women-led organizations in Ukraine by international donors, and the essential role of local organizations in the response to the Russian invasion.

To read and download the full report, click here.

To learn more about our crisis response work in Ukraine and around the world, visit our Crisis Response Initiative webpage.