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Soroptimist Club of Chernihiv, Ukraine

The empowerment of rural women and girls and the realisation of their human rights are key for achievement of gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

Every third woman in Ukraine lives in a rural area[i]. Rural women and girls, in addition to facing multiple forms of discrimination directed against them as women, often suffer from multiple forms of discrimination in connection with their place of residence, age, displacement, or other factors.

 

Based on this observation, the Soroptimists of Chernihiv mobilized to improve the living conditions of isolated women in collaboration with the following SIE Danish clubs: Aarhus, Ringkobing, Silkeborg, Skanderborg, Grenaa, Brande, Ikast, Skjern-Tarm, Herning and Odder.

 

The Ukrainian Soroptimists received requests from some villages authorities to clean 80 wells. In these remote areas, women are predominant (the percentage of women is higher than that of men); most of them live below the poverty line, are elderly and disabled. Wells are vitally important to daily survival as it’s the only source of water.

 

In order to carry out the project, the Soroptimists took concrete actions as detailed below:

 

  • they consciously selected wells among many requests,
  • with village authorities, they found a specialist to analyse water and clean wells,
  • they succeeded to raise the attention of local government bodies and count on their direct participation into the project,
  • they managed to spread the information to the outside world, especially on local and regional TV, radio, newspapers, and social media with the aim to sensitize more and more people about this social issue.

 

The Soroptimists are proud of the results obtained and hope that with the visibility of this major action, other sponsors will join the project in the future.

 

In order for us to recognise how much this project has improved the living conditions of women in precarious situations, the Soroptimists of Chernihiv wanted to share the story from one of the women:

 

 

“Baba Nina, an 84-year-old woman lives in a village near a war zone in the eastern part of Ukraine with her two children. She is a retired high-class plasterer but still a hardworking woman supporting her family. She works a lot in her garden in order to cultivate, by herself, substantial elements for her family.

 

There is a well near Baba Nina’s house but has not been cleaned for many years, consequently the water disappeared about a year ago. Thus, Baba Nina was using her son’s old pram and carried empty plastic bottles to collect water from her neighbours by walking regularly 5 km all by herself!

 

When the well was cleaned, the water came back; it spelt the end of this whole dramatic situation.

Baba Nina was very happy, she said that it seemed impossible for her to believe a positive change could happen, it was a real miracle! The Soroptimists changed her life for the better.

 

Unfortunately, we live in a country where there has been a war for six years already weakening every day a little more the economy (8 out of 10 pensioners live below the poverty line). This project ensures us that together we can make a difference and support rural women.”

 

 

 

[i] Report of the Secretary-General, Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls – http://undocs.org/E/CN.6/2018/3

Author

By Bintou Koïta,

for SIE Programme Team

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