For the fifth year, a group of humanitarian non-governmental organisations coordinate their actions with the support of the European Union to provide crucial aid to civilians affected by the conflict and living on both sides of the line of contact in eastern Ukraine.
The seven-year-long conflict in eastern Ukraine has taken a heavy toll on the lives of millions of ordinary Ukrainians living on both sides of the 427 km contact line dividing the region into areas under the Government’s control (GCA) and those outside it (NGCA). Many families and friends have been forcibly separated and are unable to meet or visit. Market links have been disrupted. Many enterprises have shed jobs or collapsed. Entire communities in the region have fallen into poverty. One-third of those in need in Donbas are elderly, which makes the crisis in eastern Ukraine one of the “oldest” humanitarian crises in the world. The impact of COVID-19 pandemic has created additional pressure on the suffering populations.
Consortium partners People in Need (PIN), ACTED in partnership with IMPACT Initiatives, Help Age International (HAI), Médicos del Mundo (MdM), and Right to Protection (R2P) with support by EU Humanitarian Aid, will continue to provide critical humanitarian assistance to ease the suffering of people living on both sides of the line of contact. In 2022, the partners aim to help at least 96 097 people through multi-sectoral humanitarian assistance such as protection; health services including mental health and psychosocial support; water, sanitation and hygiene activities; shelter rehabilitation and winterisation; and multipurpose cash and vouchers to meet food and other basic needs through a EUR 5.6 million project funded by the European Union through its Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).
“Thanks to ACCESS, our family received needed help. We were provided with coal in winter, which was a great relief as we don’t have gas to heat our houses during the cold season due to the conflict. Besides, my disabled mother is supported by a volunteer and a social worker who regularly visit us. Moreover, during the hard time of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have received hygiene items so needed for our family. We are happy that humanitarian organizations continue to support the families like ours who remained in the settlements where most people have left,” says Iryna, a resident of Marinka close to the contact line.
In parallel, the Consortium partners will engage with 35 to 50 organisations in Ukraine to improve the humanitarian response and further raise awareness for the ongoing conflict. The Consortium will also continue to advocate with national and international decision makers to ensure that essential needs of the conflict affected populations are met and humanitarian assistance can reach those in need.
“The civilians in eastern Ukraine continue to suffer the consequences of the conflict going on for more than seven years. COVID-19 has further worsened the situation for the most vulnerable. The EU continues to stand by them and calls for attention to their humanitarian needs. Thanks to the partnership of the EU and the ACCESS Consortium, conflict-affected people in Ukraine will continue to receive much needed support,” says Janez Lenarčič, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management.
The ACCESS Consortium
In 2017, a group of humanitarian non-government organizations decided to work together to deliver some of this much-needed humanitarian assistance: People in Need (PIN), Médicos del Mundo (MdM), ACTED in partnership with IMPACT Initiatives, Help Age International (HAI) and Right to Protection (R2P). The ACCESS Consortium has since reached over 260,000 people with support from EU Humanitarian Aid. ACCESS partners have developed significant experience of collective humanitarian intervention in Ukraine and a thorough, evidence-based understanding of the context.
The 2021-2022 Program
The 2021-2022 program will build on the past years of collaboration between the partners. Through capitalizing on members’ complementary sets of skills and enabling the exchange of best practices and experience, the ACCESS Consortium will continue to deliver timely and critical humanitarian assistance, across the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk (GCA and NGCA), with support from the European Union:
- Cash and voucher support to help over 3,500 women, men and children meet their basic needs in an informed, empowered, and dignified manner. At least 1,300 people in need in the non-government controlled area (NGCA) will have access to food and hygiene items.
- Shelter assistance to approximately 1,900 people in remote communities. The needs in this sector remain high, and this assistance will enable the rehabilitation of conflict-damaged houses through light and medium scale repairs, and the delivery of coal to those most in need in Donetsk NGCA, to help them cope with the harsh Ukrainian winter conditions.
- Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) projects in both GCA and Luhansk NGCA will provide the spare parts, equipment, fuel and material needed by social services to provide water as well as waste water and solid waste disposal services to affected communities. More than 11,500 people will be supported through WASH efforts.
- Health programs for close to 26,000 men, women and children. These programs include Primary Health Care (PHC) services, Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services (MHPSS) and Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH), free-of-charge medication and cash for referrals (transportation and medical examinations in the Sexual Health Centers) as well as capacity building to prevent and respond to gender-based violence (GBV).
ACCESS Consortium Partners
People in Need (PIN) www.peopleinneed.net: 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 contact line.
Médicos del Mundo (MdM) www.medicosdelmundo.org: 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 is currently running two Mobile Units in Luhansk Oblast and outreach unit in Donetsk oblast to deliver a comprehensive care package (Primary Health Care, Mental Health and Sexual and Reproductive Health) in the locations close to the Contact Line. In Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts - GCA and in Luhansk oblast - NGCA, 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 www.acted.org: ACTED is a French humanitarian organization present in 37 countries and supporting over 16 million beneficiaries worldwide. Present in Ukraine since 2015, ACTED provides some of the most vulnerable conflict-affected people with emergency cash assistance to help meet their food security, winterization and other basic needs. In 2020, ACTED initiated an economic development program to further enhance economic security, economic and employment opportunities, and economic empowerment of the most vulnerable and marginalized. Jointly with local authorities, ACTED also implements Disaster Risk Reduction interventions which invest in the resilience of local systems and communities. Finally, together with its global partner IMPACT Initiatives, ACTED supports evidence-based humanitarian aid planning and delivery, and local governance and decision-making.
IMPACT Initiatives https://www.impact-initiatives.org: IMPACT Initiatives is a leading Geneva-based think-and-do tank. Together with sister organization ACTED and UNOSAT, IMPACT launched in 2010 the REACH Initiative, which provides granular data, timely information and in-depth analysis from contexts of crisis, disaster and displacement to feed into evidence-based aid response and decision-making. Since 2016, the REACH initiative has been leading annual interagency humanitarian needs assessments to inform the Humanitarian Needs Overview and Response Plans in Ukraine. REACH also provides continuous information management support and capacity building to humanitarian agencies and clusters.
HelpAge International (HAI) www.helpage.org: HelpAge International (HAI) has a unique mission on supporting older people around the globe to claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty, so that they can have dignified, secure, active and healthy lives. HAI has opened its office in Ukraine in November 2014, and the main goal is to provide comprehensive psycho-social support to conflict-affected older people, strengthen their resilience and well-being, provide them with stress coping mechanisms. This is achieved through two components – Psychosocial support; Protection, Coordination, Advocacy and Information.
Right to Protection (R2P) www.r2p.org.ua: 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.
EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid ec.europa.eu/echo: 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. Through its Civil Protection and Humanitarian aid Operations department (ECHO), the European Union helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the EU provides assistance to the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs.
Lisa Hastert, EU Humanitarian Aid Regional Information Officer, Lisa.Hastert@echofield.eu
Olena Budagovska, ACCESS Consortium Communications focal point, email@example.com