MacArthur Awards for Creative & Effective Institutions

Women of the Don Region

Novocherkassk, Russian Federation | 2009 Award Recipient

Protecting human rights and advancing police reform

Women of the Don Region was established in 1993 to defend human rights, combat racism and discrimination, and promote civic harmony between ethnic groups. It became well known for its work with women and children, particularly those who suffered during the conflict in Chechnya.

Women of the Don has built on this record of humanitarian aid and human rights activism to improve relations between police forces and the public. It is working to reduce abuses by police officers and create trust between law enforcement and civil society both in the Don region and throughout the Rostov province.

The police reform initiative offers legal and psychological advice and assistance to those whose rights have been violated. It trains police officers in the principles of human rights and offers courses to improve their professional performance. And it aims to raise public confidence in the police through a campaign to enhance how law enforcement is perceived and convene dialogue with civil society groups.

With an alliance of 27 nonprofit groups in the Rostov region, Women of the Don is building better relations between patrol officers and young people, rehabilitating police officers and improving their morale, and creating an environment of greater transparency and accountability. It serves as a model for police reform across the Russian Federation, an urgent issue as the country seeks to root out institutional corruption, improve local government, and instill respect for the rule of law.

Women of the Don Region will use its $350,000 award to purchase permanent office space.


Grantee Profile: Learn more about Women of the Don Region

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