Since the Ukrainian Euromaidan movement and revolution in 2013–2014, Ukrainians have been suffering through a terrible conflict. Over 10,000 people have lost their lives, many more have been injured and almost two million Ukrainians have been displaced in a country with a population of around 44.6 million. The country is struggling with severe geopolitical pressures, the loss of the Crimean Peninsula, and the armed separatist movement in its Eastern regions. At the same time, post-Soviet bureaucracy and corruption are making democratic reforms extremely slow and difficult. A major hope lies with the passionate and growing civil society that is taking responsibility for the future of Ukraine, working on various initiatives including humanitarian, social, political, anti-corruption, peacebuilding, and dialogs.
CSSP’s approach has been to focus on a specific region and initiative in order to maximize the local impact. After the tragic events in Odesa on May 2, 2014, CSSP, with the support of the German Foreign Office, decided to support the Odesa Regional Group for Mediation in order to help the Ukrainian colleagues in organizing and conducting dialogs in their community and to develop their capacity for working with conflicts. CSSP also engaged other Odesa civil society actors, including a Berlin study and team-building trip. This approach helped to develop dialog processes in Odesa and increased the level of understanding and cooperation amongst members of Odesa’s civil society.
In 2017, CSSP, in partnership with Inmedio, added a second Ukrainian partner, the Ukrainian Centre for Nonviolent Communication & Reconciliation “Dignity Space”. With these two partnerships as a foundation, CSSP now aims to help develop an informal network of dialog initiatives/platforms in Ukraine that are building sustainable dialog infrastructure in their communities. CSSP also works with the OSCE PCU, OSCE SMM, UNDP, and other international organizations in order to support the development of the dialog profession and a culture of dialog in Ukraine. These efforts focus on fostering understanding and constructive cooperation between Ukrainian civil society and authorities at various levels of government.