Acces consortium launched new humanitarian programme to support over 120,000 conflict-affected people in Eastern Ukraine

Acces consortium launched new humanitarian programme to support over 120,000 conflict-affected people in Eastern Ukraine

For the second year, a group of humanitarian organizations coordinate their action with the support of the European Commission to provide crucial aid to those affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Kyiv 12th September 2018 - In eastern Ukraine, at the doors of the European Union, over 4.4 million people have been directly affected by hostilities, which are now well into their fifth year. 800,000 people have been displaced (many of whom frequently move across the contact line) and nearly 3,000 civilians have been killed. 

With some 3.4 million people in need of urgent assistance, no forthcoming political solution in sight, and support for humanitarian aid waning, vulnerabilities – particularly of those living along both sides of the contact line and in non-government controlled areas (NGCA)—are increasing at a worrying pace. Civilians caught between parties to the conflict face abuses, threats from mines, unexploded ordnances and fighting, and struggle to access assistance. The conflict has damaged schools, health facilities, roads, water infrastructure, as well as numerous homes. Given the high humanitarian needs in both the government and non-government controlled areas, coordinated interventions to support those in need are crucial.

In order to continue to improve the humanitarian situation of the most vulnerable people living in eastern Ukraine, this cooperation is renewed by the European Union together with People in Need (PIN), Médicos del Mundo (MDM), and Agence d'Aide à la Coopération Technique Et au Développement (ACTED), and in partnership with IMPACT Initiatives and two national organizations - Right to Protection (R2P) and the Ukraine NGO Forum (NGOF). The program aims to help over 120,000 people and 199 organizations on both sides of the contact line in Ukraine, through a EUR 4.4 million grant from the European Commission through its Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).

"Thanks to this diverse support, our school is thriving. The school is the heart of the village. Some people have even come back to the village with their children. Much has been done to improve and repair the school. Moreover, with support of the psychologists, the children have become more active and positive. Parents are very satisfied with the changes and happy that their children will have one more year of this project’s support," says Galina Vasilievna, the Director of preschool and elementary school in the frontline village of Novobakhmutivka, where Consortium will continue to provide comprehensive assistance.

“The conflict put a tremendous strain on the civilian population in eastern Ukraine. Supporting all those in need, wherever they are, is a priority for the EU. The EU and its Member States remain the largest humanitarian and developmental donor to projects which address the basic needs of the Ukrainians directly affected by the conflict, says EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides. “The people of Ukraine have not been forgotten and we stand by them in their time of need.”

This new project builds on the success of a previous project which brought together a group of humanitarian organizations in 2017 as the ACCESS Consortium. During the first year of cooperation, the project supported over 260,000 residents of eastern Ukraine. A comprehensive analysis of humanitarian trends and needs was conducted in order to inform evidence based humanitarian aid planning and delivery. 60,000 people received medical and psychosocial support; 8,000 people improved their livelihoods through sector-specific trainings and grants; and cash-based interventions allowed people to make much-need purchases such as medicine, food and clothing. The partners improved sanitation conditions for nearly 30,000 people, and access to water in the conflict-affected areas was restored through potable water distributions and repairs of critical water systems damaged in the conflict. 2,500 households also received support in repairing their damaged houses.

Successful cooperation and achievements have motivated them to renew and enlarge this experience.

The ACCESS Project

ACCESS to multisectoral humanitarian assistance project: May 2018 – April 2019: Three major international organizations: People in Need (PIN) as lead agency, Médicos del Mundo (MDM), ACTED in partnership with IMPACT Initiatives, and two national NGOs: Right to Protection (R2P) and Ukraine NGO Forum launched a new Consortium project called ACCESS II. With European Union funds, the project will continue to contribute its sectoral and geographical synergies in response to the population’s emergency needs in key priority areas through a multi-sectoral response addressing health and psychosocial services, WASH assistance, shelter rehabilitations and winterization and food security/basic needs with continued national and international advocacy.

Reducing poverty and vulnerability: Increased cost of living and reduced access to services has led to a drastic increase in poverty as of 2017 compared with the start of the conflict in 2013, both in Lugansk GCA (20 % to 74 %), and Donetsk region GCA (22 % to 66 %). This is due to an increase in prices for basic goods, services and utilities – associated with a reduction in job opportunities – continues to be a burden for both the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and the resident population. "We don’t sell anything from the garden. Harvests are too small now. We had some livestock before the war, but then we moved to a different place. And because of this war we became poor", explains Lidia Ivanovna (58) from Myronivsky. Consortium partners will address the needs of the most vulnerable people through multi-purpose cash assistance and vouchers through local supermarkets that can be redeemed for food products on both sides of the conflict.

Water for Donbass: To address critical water and sanitation gaps in communities and institutions, the Consortium will provide drinking and technical water; materials for water supply system rehabilitation in areas suffering from water access issues; support sanitation and/or heating system rehabilitation in social institutions and on public infrastructure; and facilitate waste management services in frontline communities. Vouchers in non-government controlled areas will ensure people are able to cover their food and hygiene needs. "Because of constant shelling, blackouts are frequent and if there is no power, you cannot pump up the water. If there is no electricity, we get water by hand", says Viktoriia Yevhenivna (76) from village of Vodiane.

Shelter for affected families and institutions: In light of several flare-ups in 2017, shelter needs increased significantly, as an average 1,000 homes are newly damaged or redamaged. According to the REACH trend analysis, 35 % of respondents in the GCA 5km zone reported living in damaged accommodation. Under the current project, families in remote communities where materials and labor are not readily available will receive reconstruction and repair support. The Consortium will provide shelter repairs for social institutions (schools, health facilities, etc.) in non-government controlled areas. Partners will also install windows for private homes and distribute solid fuel furnaces for heating their homes in those remote communities in areas where fuel prices are high in wintertime.

Access to adequate healthcare and psychosocial services: Conditions in the conflict affected area continue to place the population at high risk of health problems or aggravated existing illnesses. Over 130 healthcare facilities within 5 km of the LoC await repairs due to damage and long-term neglect.

In response, partners will strengthen the local health system through donations of medical supplies, equipment, and rehabilitation of key health facilities in Lugansk and Donetsk regions. Furthermore, the Consortium launched a pilot project, which aims to provide timely support to survivors of gender-based and domestic violence as well as to address prevention activities. In addition, the project will improve the access to primary healthcare services like sexual and reproductive health, mental health and psychosocial support, in-person and via hotline counselling for those in need, as well as care practices and specialized trainings for health and non-health staff from communities affected by the conflict.

Advocacy efforts to bring attention to the crisis in Ukraine: Ukraine has fallen off the radar of international media, and diplomatic efforts often overlook humanitarian needs. The Consortium partners will monitor political and legislative developments and inform decision makers accordingly, aiming to support policy change that can have a positive humanitarian impact. Thanks to the cooperation with their local partner organization R2P and NGOF, the Consortium will as well directly target national decision makers and authorities to urge them to adopt policy and legal measures needed to improve the humanitarian situation. 

The ACCESS partners

People in Need (PIN): PIN is one of the biggest nonprofit organizations in Central Europe focusing on humanitarian aid, development, cooperation, human rights and social integration. PIN has a long-lasting presence in Ukraine starting from 2003 and was in position to provide immediate humanitarian assistance after the onset of the conflict in August 2014. PIN has been implementing a number of emergency food, NFI, shelter, protection, livelihoods, WASH, medical and cash-based interventions along and on both sides of the frontline.

Médicos del Mundo (MdM): MdM is an international independent humanitarian organization that works to make the right to health a reality for all the people, especially for the victims of a humanitarian crisis. MdM has been operating in Luhansk oblast of Ukraine since August 2015 aiming to improve access and quality of health care services for vulnerable conflict affected populations. MdM is currently running two Mobile Units in Luhansk Oblast to deliver a comprehensive care package (Primary Health Care, Mental Health and Sexual and Reproductive Health) in 18 locations close to the Contact Line where no doctors operate. In GCA and NGCA, Luhansk Oblast, MdM provides support to health authorities through donations of medical equipment and supplies, and capacity building of national health staff aiming to strengthen the local health system.

ACTED: ACTED is a French humanitarian organization present in 37 countries and supporting over 14 million beneficiaries. We work to save lives and support people in meeting their needs in hard to reach areas. In Ukraine, ACTED with its partner IMPACT responded to the crisis through the REACH Initiative by providing information management and assessment support for evidence-based aid planning and delivery. ACTED/REACH led the interagency humanitarian needs assessments to inform the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan. Additionally, ACTED/REACH are providing information management support and capacity building to humanitarian agencies and clusters through its IM Hub in Sloviansk.

Right to Protection (R2P): R2P is an all-Ukrainian NGO dedicated to protecting the rights of asylum seekers, refugees, stateless and undocumented persons, as well as internally displaced and conflict affected persons. The organization seeks to lessen the impact on its beneficiaries from armed conflicts, repressive regimes and natural disasters. Right to Protection does this by protecting rights, providing assistance, and helping create the conditions necessary for safe and dignified lives.

Ukraine NGO Forum: Ukraine NGO Forum, is a group of 35 national and international NGOs that supports and facilitates the work of its membership to address effectively humanitarian and development needs. Established in mid-2014, Ukraine NGO Forum is dedicated to both humanitarian and development programming and has the goal to facilitate information sharing, coordination, and advocacy activities in order to enhance the impact and effectiveness of humanitarian and recovery activities in Ukraine.

About EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid

The European Union and its Member States are the world's leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity with people in need all around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises. The European Commission ensures rapid and effective delivery of EU relief assistance through its two main instruments: civil protection and humanitarian aid. Through its Civil Protection and Humanitarian aid Operations department (ECHO), the European Commission helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the department provides assistance to the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs. For more information, please visit the European Commission's website

Author: Acces Consortium