On 30 May the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Interpeace and the International Center for Policy Studies held a workshop on inclusive constitution-making and women’s participation in Kyiv, Ukraine.

We brought 20 women activists and volunteers from different regions of Ukraine, predominantly working with internally displaced persons (IDPs) and with real grass roots knowledge of the impact of the conflict and what the real needs are on the ground.

Participants and organisers discussed the constitutional reform process and what is needed to create a durable peace. In addition, the activists and volunteers discussed the typical problems that they encounter whilst working with citizens most severely affected by the war, such as lack of humanitarian aid, lack of psychological services and inadequate legislation in this field, lack of medical services and personnel.

They also discussed the lack of gender equality in decision making, the lack of political awareness of civil society regarding the governments decentralisation reforms, and lack of effective mechanisms of participation by civil society in decision-making. Particular attention was drawn to the impact of the economic crisis, corruption, and poor ecology in the Eastern oblasts.

Participants emphasised the importance of this initiative and the need for more efforts throughout Ukraine, to bring the voices of civil society into the discussion and dialogue.