Since the Ukrainian Euromaidan movement and revolution in 2013-14, Ukrainians have been suffering through a terrible conflict. Over 10,000 people have lost their lives, many more have been injured and almost 2 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 dialogues.
CSSP’s approach has been to focus on a specific region and initiative in order to maximise the local impact. After the tragic events in Odesa on 2nd May 2014, CSSP, with the support of the German Foreign Office, decided to support the Odesa Regional Group for Mediation, to help the Ukrainian colleagues in organising and conducting dialogues 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 dialogue processes in Odesa and increased the level of understanding and cooperation amongst members of the Odesa 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 dialogue initiatives / platforms in Ukraine that are building sustainable dialogue infrastructure in their communities. CSSP also works with the OSCE PCU, OSCE SMM, UNDP and other international organisations in order to support the development of the dialogue profession and a culture of dialogue in Ukraine. These efforts focus on fostering understanding and constructive cooperation between Ukrainian civil society and authorities at various levels of government.