The Human Rights Foundation builds on 13 years of working in partnership with organisations and NGO leaders in the region to develop and implement training programs to strengthen the knowledge and skills of community advocates and human rights defenders related to various human life aspects, including civil rights, eco rights, social-economic rights.

HRF’s teaching methodology is participatory, providing space for course participants to share and learn from each other’s experiences and to develop mutual support networks. HRF’s methodology is based on respect for the knowledge, skills and perspectives that participants bring to the program – and the value of enabling these to be shared.

All programs provide participants with knowledge of internationally agreed human rights standards and of the UN system, along with practical advice on how to engage this system effectively to protect human rights.
All the programs emphasise building practical skills in strategic advocacy, including the capacity to engage with governmental processes at the national, regional and international level. There are sessions on the role of the social media and enhancing skills to engage the social/ “new age” media.

Using ‘role play’ scenarios, practical exercises and case studies, advocates enhance their negotiation and lobbying techniques and develop the skills needed to seek change in their own society. ‘Hands-on’ sessions help advocates to learn how to utilise the media, the internet and video effectively in order to affect peaceful, positive change in human rights for the people in their communities and societies.

HRF’s methodology and program content continues to evolve and develop each year, responding to changes in the region and in technology. The approach of balancing knowledge and skills and providing the space to share experience and develop networks of support has proved very flexible. The commitment to participation keeps the programs grounded in the realities that human rights defenders face on the ground in their societies.
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Internally Displaced Persons protection

Ukraine is experiencing internal displacement for the first time since its independence as a result of the illegal annexation of Crimea and subsequent political developments on the peninsula, as well as the conflict in its Eastern two oblasts of Donetsk and Lugansk. As of early June, 2015 the Ministry of Social Policy had registered more than 1,500,000.

Displaced persons have moved in larger concentrations to the regions abutting the eastern conflict zone and to several cities, especially Kyiv and Odessa, but they are present in every oblast of the country. The registered population of displaced persons includes a significant proportion of women, children, and elderly persons.

IDPs identify access to affordable housing, the need to re-establish their livelihoods and obtaining appropriate legal information and assistance to safeguard their rights as their priority needs. IDPs with specific needs face particular challenges in enjoying their social and economic rights. Particular groups of concern include persons with disabilities, persons living in institutional care, Roma, LGBTI, elderly, and persons with serious medical conditions.

The legislative framework for protection of displaced persons has finally been put into place, including the law on occupied territories and the law on the protection of internally displaced persons. Various ministries have also adopted numerous regulations and instructions. Because the legal framework is developing quickly and without strong central coordination, there remain several gaps in terms of how displaced persons can be registered and access different government services. Furthermore, there are gaps related to implementation of the new legislation and regulations. Persons have concerns about protecting their property rights in the areas not currently controlled by the government.

HRF aims to enhance socio-economic rights protection and plausible integration of internally displaced people in hosting communities and local labor markets of Kirovograd, Zaporozhee, Kharkiv, including liberated territories of Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

Disability advocacy

Ukraine is experiencing internal displacement for the first time since its independence as a result of the illegal annexation of Crimea and subsequent political developments on the peninsula, as well as the conflict in its Eastern two oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk. As of early May 2016, the Ministry of Social Policy had registered more than 1,5 million IDPs. Displaced persons have moved in larger concentrations to the regions abutting the eastern conflict zone, majority of them are present in Vinnitsa, Zaporizhya, Dnipropetrovsk, Kirovograd, Kharkiv regions, Donetsk /Luhansk regions (territories under control of Government of Ukraine), while many have also reached EU countries. 

The HRF conducted the first unprecedented survey study (donor – Abilis Foundation, 2015) and compiled information on and needs of IDPDs, based on interviews to 250 IDPDs in four regions. It is worth noting that many persons with disabilities are challenged to move long distances and often remain in the country of conflict, while others move out of the country. In this regard, the study findings were important to understand the reality of marginalized group in the conflict situation. The study found out that IDPDs are isolated from each other and that lack of information is one of the biggest challenges in their lives as of today. Combined with the Soviet legacy in which persons with disabilities were isolated from mainstream society, except for deaf and blind persons who work at specific factories, IDPDs face with multiple challenges in realizing their rights under the circumstance. The study concludes that the situation of persons with disabilities was deteriorated at the studied sites due to the internal displacement. Please download the Monitoring survey here:


Women rights advocacy

The conflict affected the territory of Donbass previously inhabited by over 5.2 million residents. Most of these territories witnessed the deterioration of basic functions of the local government and worsened quality of public services. Women, especially, women with disabilities, female ex-inmates, young women with children in affected areas seem to be disadvantaged due to limited representation and visibility in public life. Their earnings are significantly less than men and they experience disproportionate levels of poverty. Women are usually the victims and survivors of violence and trafficking. The HRF promotes economic opportunities for women. HRF’s innovative approach will be adopted to ensure engagement of IDP women into hosting community life.

HRF undertakes permanent advocacy campaigning towards pushing forward socio-economic reforms, including mass media campaigning, awareness raising trainings, street actions, etc.

Micro enterprising and entrepreneurship education

Micro enterprise is an effective instrument of social and economic development. The microfinance is agenda for empowering poor women. Micro enterprises are an integral part of planned strategy for securing balanced development of the economy of the poor women. Rural women’s participation in agro-based activities is much more than what statistics reveal. This is mainly due to the fact that most of the work done by the women at farm and home is disguised as daily chores. Mechanization and easy availability of labour provide more time to energetic women to engage themselves in self-employment or entrepreneur ventures. Rural women are having human and nonhuman resources to take up an enterprise need one an innovative mind and motivation.

Entrepreneurship is a prime solution to the growing employment among disadvantaged youth. It helps to generate employment for a number of people within their own social system. This is more beneficial for women in rural areas as it enables them to add to the family income while taking care of their own home and livestock centered task. Rural women possess abundant resources to take up enterprises. Entrepreneurship development among rural women helps to enhance their personal capabilities and increase decision-making status in the family and society as a whole.

Women entrepreneurs play an important role in local economies, and a large percentage of micro-enterprises in developing countries are undertaken by women. Increasingly women in urban and rural areas are successfully turning to self-generated employment in small-scale enterprise activities in the informal sector to support their households. Rural women frequently have primary responsibility for agricultural production, in addition to domestic responsibilities and childcare. These responsibilities place heavy demands on women's time, and microenterprise activities can potentially increase the workload of women. Improving access to labour-saving technologies in any of these areas can free up time for income generating micro-enterprise activities. In many countries, women are the majority of workers in nonstandard work, such as temporary, casual, multiple part time, contract and home-based activities. Human Rights Foundation is promoting micro enterprise through micro-credit intervention

Human Rights Monitoring

The aim of the programme, as outlined in the mission statement, is to generate and distribute critical analysis and reports on the output of the NGO community for the benefit of government policy makers, journalists, philanthropic organizations and the general public. We intend to publicize distortions of human rights issues in Ukrainian conflict and provide information and context for the benefit of NGOs working in our country. We hope this will lead to an informed public debate on the role of humanitarian NGOs.

HRF is currently implementing a nation-wide monitoring of people with disabilities rights safeguarding.