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Svitlana Moroz: “A united goal and support are most important of all”

Already tomorrow, the 8th of October, begins the General Assembly of ‘E.V.A.’ Association. The members, board, and secretariat of the organization will all take part…

Already tomorrow, the 8th of October, begins the General Assembly of ‘E.V.A.’ Association. The members, board, and secretariat of the organization will all take part plus invited experts – all in all more than sixty people. At the meeting, the past year will be summed up and the plan for this coming year will be developed.
 
Although the main goal of the General Assembly is to work actively on the strategy of the organization’s development, another important objective will not be circumvented: creating and strengthening horizontal connections between activists from Tumen and Krasnodar, Neftyougansk and Orenburg, Saint-Petersburg and Khabarovsk, and other regions. Because, of course, the story of the organization began and continues on thanks to the fact that women who were not indifferent from different corners of Russia banded together to solve common problems. The entirety of ‘E.V.A.’ 5 year history tells the story written, lived, and inspired by real people.
 
One of the people who can be rightly considered an inspiration at the beginning of the organization’s development and remains to be today is Svitlana Moroz, a representative of the board of the Eurasian Women’s Network on AIDS and our fellow activist from Ukraine.
 
We asked Svetlana several questions about her cooperation with the partnership from the very beginning of its development and about how she sees it now.
 
Where did NP ‘E.V.A.’ come from and what was your role in the first meeting of the partnership?
 
In my memory it began with Sasha and Nastya, women activists who believed in what they did and could inspire and lead. I was invited only to the second or third strategic planning of NP ‘E.V.A.’ in 2011 and I can’t say whose idea it was. It was led by Sasha Volgina and Nastya Solovieva. The first had been led by Kolya Nedzelsky. My role was to monitor and at times comment. I monitored mostly.
 
I remember a good moment when we were stuck in a brainstorm on our priorities and couldn’t gather our thoughts together. Out of habit I put my two cents in – involvement (GIPA – greater involvement of people living with HIV), access to services and developing the organization’s potential. Nastya Kamlik’s reply to this was, “I told you, we should have invited Moroz earlier!”…
 
After that we worked well. The atmosphere was homey and cozy in a budget hotel with all the facilities on one floor with a bouquet for Nastya Solovieva in the middle of the room (it was her birthday). And, most importantly, the participants – as they are now called – were women of all varieties: drug addicts, LGBT, infected by sexual transmission, with experience behind bars…
 
Then there was a forum in Moscow for the Millennium Development Goal #6. At its planning meeting, women’s networks in the EECA region were mentioned including ‘E.V.A.’ participation, “At a meeting from the 17-19 September 2011, the women’s network ‘E.V.A.’ from Saint Petersburg, Russia, which is comprised of around 20 participants from various cities around Russia as well as one from Ukraine, actively discussed the necessity of bringing attention to pressing problems at the forum.”
 
You have a lot of experience in developing women’s network organizations: we know of your role in the founding of the Ukrainian network ‘Positive Women’, the Eurasian Women’s Network on AIDS, and our NP ‘E.V.A.’. What do you think are the advantages to such organizations? What problems can they solve?
 
At the women’s forum in Lviv there was a session entitled ‘The women’s face of the HIV epidemic. Women speak about their personal experience,’ and we could not stop ourselves, although the time was up. No one left. We listened to everyone entirely. It was the sole session where I cried, even for the stories that I had already heard. There is benefit to this: we know and understand one another to the point of tears. Different objectives depend on different contexts. Most important of all is a united goal and support.
 
What do you think – has NP ‘E.V.A.’ been successful in becoming what it was intended to be? What has been accomplished and what else needs to be developed?
 
‘E.V.A.’ is fulfilling its mission, which is most important. Professional, worthy, and remaining a women’s network organization. How many members will attend the general assembly? 60?! I’m in admiration. This is my dream for Ukraine.
 
Author: Irina Evdokimova.
 

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