Before the New Year, everyone probably wants to sum up the past year. Some do it publicly, on social media, while some do it at home, with a cup of tea or a glass of champagne. We recount the year’s results in January, still savoring the aftertaste of all the salads and pastries. 🙂

Frankly, we didn’t have it easy last year. Our organization went through numerous changes: new people joined our collective, our team created awesome projects we are proud of. We also failed a lot, but this is an entirely different story.

In this article, we are summing up the year in numbers. Grab a cup of coffee and let’s go over it together.

The most important change of the year: change of the leadership

These are major changes for us, as despite the dynamic development, multiple approaches, and dozens of people who were with the organization during its ups and downs, one person, Yosh, had been leading the organization since 2016. We want to thank Yosh and welcome our new leader, Olha Yashchenko.

More about the change in leadership: here

Community and closed events

Whatever happens, the feminist community remains one of our main priorities. We frequently organize various events and activities. With these events, we strive to create a space that would encourage community members to self-organize, find new friends, and share their experiences. 

In 2023 we have organized 51 events visited in total by 661 people. 

Our team is always in flux: we are constantly coming up with new formats and activities. Recently we began to organise speed friending sessions and literature meetings.  But feminist stand-up shows have become our most revolutionary change of the year

We came up with the format for our members to be able to joke in a safe friendly space free of misogyny and gender stereotypes.

We keep holding our traditional events, like the consciousness-raising group “Venerating Lilith”, board game nights, speaking clubs, parties, educational lectures, workshops, and art lessons. We are glad that these formats are still relevant for our community. 

Our team has kept working with the teenage club “Girls* can”, organizing both open and closed, more informal events. Members of the club have joined feminist readings, board game nights, and art workshops. 

We are searching for new formats of work with teenagers, as the war and constant anxiety are particularly damaging to their physical and emotional state. At a networking event at the end of the year, we made some contacts with friendly organizations. In 2024 we look forward to the new collaborations that will allow us to create even more exciting activities for teens. 

One of the integral parts of our activities is supporting the activists. To express our gratitude and encourage for future work we announced the award of 3500 UAH for beginner feminist activists. Selected nominees provide women with humanitarian and/or psychological aid, organize feminist events, and write in feminist blogs. As a result, we have awarded 14 activists. We are really proud of you!

Moreover, in 2023 our community organized 4 demonstrations: protests, distribution of leaflets, and performances, our favorite format. We acted against the rape culture at the protest “#iwillnottolerate violence” and combated fatphobia at the performance “(Not) a public property”. During 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, we organized two events: “Leave violence against women in folklore” and a performance “She is safer in the crowd”.

We also tried out some new formats there. During the performance “(Not) a public property” that we held near the statue “The confident one” in Stryjsky Park we distributed leaflets and turned on the stories of women reflecting upon the body shaming they experienced.

“For me, the main challenge of 2023 was the resignation of the department coordinator. I took on her duties. It was complicated, but we overcame all the difficulties. I am really glad for building an awesome team. We are entering 2024 with new plans and big ambitions.”  Yaryna, community coordinator.

“I joined the team of Feminist Workshop this year. I regard this as my opportunity to be at the heart of important social issues and contribute to the development of the civil society in Ukraine. Here I met enthusiastic people eager to fight for and promote feminist values. This year has taught me that there is no right time for fighting for gender equality, countering gender-based violence, and working to criminalize domestic violence. We only have today. That’s why we maneuver between air raids and organize warm and educational meetings for our community, creating a safe space where everyone is equal and important. We teach and tell about activism, as it is the main driving force of changing society for the better.” Maryana, co-coordinator.

“It was an awfully complicated and busy year. The organization underwent many changes, and so did my work. Burn-out and the wish to leave it all were the hardest. But maybe it’s the staple of work in the third sector. 🙂 So I learned to acknowledge and celebrate the results of my work and recognize the feedback. I am glad to be part of the awesome team and to promote feminist values and support an active feminist community together.”  Lyubov, co-coordinator. 

Educators’ festival

This June Feminist workshop made its debut at the biggest Ukrainian educators’ festival “Teachers of the Future”. Our goal was to convey the importance of consistent sexual education and present our teacher training sessions on that issue. This event attracted over 2500 educators from all over Ukraine. During the event, our organization contributed to the Fare of educational initiatives that assembled partners of NGO “Osvitoria”, an initiative reforming and advancing education in Ukraine. Over two days Tamara and Ganya responsible for advocating for teenagers’ needs have spoken to appr. 150 school teachers and principals, presented work of Feminist Workshop and provided materials for sex education in schools. 

Lectures on sexual education and gender-based violence. Our lectures in schools

This year over 150 girls and boys have attended our free lectures on sexual education and countering gender-based violence. Ganya, Tamara, Yaryna, and other activists gladly accepted offers to give lectures in Lviv schools and at the events of the friendly organizations. During the events, we realized that youth needs such meetings, as the school curriculum often omits these topics. That’s why civic organizations need to be more involved in such events. Does your institution want us to give you a lecture?

Reach out at the e-mail office@femwork.org

It only took us two months – truly a record time – to launch a pilot training for Lviv teachers “How to teach reproductive health and sexual education to students”. It appeared because the school curriculum omits many topics and is not built following the UN standards. For this training, we developed a unique program built in accordance with UNESCO’s International technical guidance on sexuality education. The training consists of psychological, legal, and pedagogical blocks. The trainers are leading regional experts in the respective areas. As of today, over 350 Lviv educators want to participate in such events. We intend to keep working with teachers’ training regarding sex education for children. We also plan to give lectures for parents and children involving the medics. 

Thanks to the efforts of our two activists, Tamara and Ganya, our NGO has successfully launched a project improving sex education in Ukrainian schools. Its primary focus is teachers’ training. Tamara considers this the biggest accomplishment of the last year. 

Another prominent event of the last year was the international conference “Role of women in Ukraine’s recovery: the EU integration focus”. At the event, Tamara pointed out that the civil sector and the government authorities need to join forces to implement consistent sex education – education regarding children’s safety and health. 

For teenagers’ needs advocacy team 2023 was marked by networking with the civil sector and journalists who promote or are willing to promote the implementation of sex education in schools. During the meeting, we identified the problems of modern sex education and drafted decisions that may improve the approaches to it. 

We are also proud that over the last year, we have built a partnership with the Professional Development Center for Lviv educators. Working in accordance with OSCE’s Guidelines on Human Rights Education for Secondary School Systems and the Law of Ukraine “On preventing and combating domestic violence”, we look forward to the events aimed at raising awareness in the educators’ community and improving their skills regarding sex education, reproductive health, respectful treatment, and protection of the students’ rights. 

Another reason for our pride is the teenager club. Last year, 8 club members were engaged in activism, volunteering, and ecological and feminist initiatives. They have participated:

  • in our elderly women’s support program;
  • in the free market;
  • in the project “Bird feeder” which provides free food for everyone needing it. 

International projects

This year, together with feminist organizations from Poland, Germany, and Italy, we implemented the project «TAIGA».

TAIGA is a transformative leadership project aimed at women* in art and culture. 

Throughout four seminars our team members and our colleagues came together to the non-violent safe space to study different elements of transformative cultural leadership and reassess the role of art and culture/public leaders in social change.

We also collected 20 best practices, which which you can enrich your approach to leadership and community engagement

Ukrainian Feminist Kitchen

Ukrainian Feminist Kitchen emerged as a way to connect with foreign activists and to discuss the issues of feminism in times of war.
The war context has strongly affected Ukrainian feminism. Ukrainian Feminist kitchen meetings became a bridge that allows us to discuss relevant Ukrainian feminist issues and to be heard. Our guests can ask questions to the Ukrainian activists and receive much-needed explanations. One of the main features of a Ukrainian feminist kitchen is the promotion of Ukrainian culture: the participants get involved in cooking traditional Ukrainian dishes or creating traditional ornaments.

Meetings at our feminist kitchen are always warm and filled with personal insights coming from both our speakers and our guests. Creative activities work magic on bringing people close and helping to discover new facets of communication. 

In 2023 there were 4 events of Ukrainian Feminist Kitchen, and we don’t plan to stop – on January 15 our feminist kitchen is ready to host yet another meeting!

Project of the year: “Your step up”

Our community works on strengthening the self-reliance and visibility of women, namely, in the economic and social aspects. Women growing professionally and overcoming employment problems belong to our priorities. 

That’s why we launched “Your Step Up”, a contest awarding internally displaced women with vouchers.

Out of over 500 applications received, we selected 22 participants who soon got the vouchers for studying.

“When we discussed launching this project, our main idea was to give women specific ways to earn more by improving their skills in the competitive professions. Women’s financial independence is not just an issue of women’s visibility and taxes; it also prevents domestic violence. The project supports women who know exactly what they want and strive to get the skills that will quickly increase their revenue. What is needed to expand the customer base or to get a higher position? You should ask the women themselves, as they know better. 

This project levels up all the participants: over a week we have gone over 512 applications. All our 22 winners will be able to get bigger salaries and become more independent.” Kateryna, coordinator of the crisis department.

Helping Women

“Feminist workshop” has supported elderly women almost for two years.

We launched an elderly women support program to support the grannies of Lviv, help them overcome anxiety, and buy what was needed. Volunteers bought the essentials or arranged for support with partner organizations, put together packages, and visited elderly women. They talked with grannies and offered help with household chores,

Every month 5 to 7 volunteers frequently visited grannies and brought them the essentials. Every month we helped 19 to 27 elderly women. Over 10 months we have delivered over 250 packages

Each package included:

3 kg of groats;

1 kg of canned food (0.5 kg of meat/fish; 0.5 kg of canned vegetables);

1 liter of oil;

1 kg of noodles;

1 kg of flour;

tea and cookies. 

We were also gifted 8 kg of Oleg Vynnyk’s merch, and we distributed it to the elderly women as well. That was unexpected, but when life gives you singer’s merch… 🙂

Shelter

Over this time our shelters have hosted 80 people (some were joined by their pets: three cats, two rats, and two dogs).

 

To motivate women and help them integrate into the new community, we created a volunteering program where internally displaced women can choose different volunteering activities, be it weaving camouflage nets, walking the dogs, or cooking meals for those in need. Once a week some residents of the shelter cook tasty food for the veterans of the rehabilitation center «Halychyna».

Learn more about volunteering here.

Digital courses

The team of Feminist Workshop realized that the residents of shelters need help learning to deal with digital tools. They couldn’t request the document via the e-governance app Diia or use the online banking app «Privat24». They used their phones exclusively for calls.

That’s why we launched offline courses teaching internally displaced women digital literacy skills. Over five iterations of the course we have made this year, we taught 110 women to use the phone: to call their family and use the basic applications. Thanks to the aid of 10 volunteers, the alumni of our courses are now able to change their phone settings, read the news, chat with relatives, and use Diia and Google Maps. This is the project we are sincerely proud of. 

Over this year our online community has grown a little. And we welcome the changes we see. 

35 – times different media wrote about us.

11 – videos were posted on our YouTube channel over a year.

249 – Instagram posts.

234 – Facebook posts.

Our reach levels increased by over 50%. We are really glad and grateful for your support. That means that more people have discovered our feminist haven filled with adequacy, like-minded people, and exciting events. We are grateful for your support. We are grateful for reading this article till the very end. 🙂

We are stepping boldly into 2024, as we are backed by awesome people!

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