In 2020, the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine – prolonged but not frozen – entered its 7th year. Since 2014, more than 3,300 civilians have been killed and nearly 1.5 million people have been displaced. Almost daily bombardments and heavy artillery fire continue along the “line of contact”, a 427 km border separating the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
People living near the Line of Contact also suffer frequent power and water cuts – particularly dangerous in winter – the consequences of poorly maintained infrastructure, and are exposed to major risks of industrial, ecological and natural disasters.
Finally, high levels of poverty and a crippled regional economy have left millions of people unable to meet their basic needs. The country also suffers from weak disaster planning and response capacities: communities and groups with social needs are not involved in these processes, and local authorities have difficulty accessing the resources they need to implement them.
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: more than 7,500 people were supported in 2018-19.
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: over 150,000 people are covered by risk contingency plans. Finally, together with its global partner IMPACT Initiatives, ACTED supports evidence-based humanitarian aid planning and delivery, and local governance and decision-making.
As co-chair of the Working Group on Field Cash Assistance, ACTED sits on the Inter-Cluster Coordination Group and contributes to shaping humanitarian coordination in Ukraine. In addition, ACTED is a member of the Humanitarian Country Team, and co-leads the working group on the link between humanitarian and development; and emergency planning and preparedness.
In hard-to-reach areas, ACTED implements actions in support of the most vulnerable people. ACTED is also a member of the ACCESS Consortium in Ukraine, which has provided humanitarian assistance to more than 85,000 people in 2019-2020.
In 2020, ACTED rapidly mobilized to respond to the Covid-19 epidemic, with interventions focused on promoting infection control and prevention measures among conflict-affected populations; supporting the most vulnerable; improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene; and engaging communities to be better prepared and respond to the crisis.
In 2019, ACTED created the 3P Consortium – Prepare, Prevent, Protect – to reduce vulnerability to disaster risk in Eastern Ukraine. Under ACTED’s leadership, the 3P partners are organizing zonal assessments to improve understanding of risks, support better local planning and investment, build the capacity of first responders and communities to prepare for and respond to disaster risks, improve water security and advocate for reform of the environmental risk governance and civil protection sector.
Through their joint initiative REACH, ACTED and IMPACT have become a key resource for the humanitarian community, including through the exploration of movement dynamics on the Line of Contact, information management support and multi-sectoral needs assessments, which feed into annual humanitarian needs overviews, response plans and inter-agency contingency planning exercises.
ACTED and IMPACT are implementing their joint AGORA initiative in Eastern Ukraine. AGORA enables a more effective and adapted response to support the recovery and stabilisation of crisis-affected communities, while promoting the restoration of local services and supporting local governance actors.
The project “Assisting the Governance and Recovery Agenda for Donbas”, implemented in the framework of the EU Support Programme for Eastern Ukraine – Recovery, Peacebuilding and Governance – ACTED and IMPACT will strengthen local planning capacities and improve decision-making at the local level. This will notably contribute to understanding and responding to the negative impact of the conflict on the economy, social cohesion, resilience, community security and the rule of law.
In partnership with IMPACT Initiatives and local women’s civil society organizations, ACTED is implementing a programme to create and promote inclusive economic opportunities for 62,000 conflict-affected people, mostly women and girls.
In the implementation of the different projects in Ukraine, ACTED wishes to put forward its 3Zero vision: Zero Exclusion, Zero Carbon and Zero Poverty.
For instance, the “SEED (Securing Women’s Economic Empowerment in Donbas)” project is a direct actor in our 3Zero approach:
Humanitarian Situation Monitoring in Non-Government Controlled Areas (NGCA) of Donetsk and Luhansk
REACH Technical Support and Information Management Capacity Building to the Ukraine Public Health Centre (PHC)
Securing Women’s Economic Empowerment in Donbass (SEED)
Reducing food insecurity of the most vulnerable conflict-affected populations in Eastern Ukraine
ACCESS III: Provision of multi-sectoral humanitarian assistance to conflict-affected populations in eastern Ukraine