The Russian full-scale invasion in February 2022 is negatively affecting Ukraine in a myriad of ways, causing a breakdown of social structures and safety nets in communities across the country. Seeing a third of the population becoming refugees, being internally displaced, and lacking basic shelter, food, health, electricity, heating and other types of support, a large number of Ukrainians quickly responded and have set up different types of projects to quickly mobilise support for people in need in their home areas. DCA identifies local responders and mobilises funds for them, collaborating to provide urgent needed support at the local level.
DCA has directly support several local responders and community groups with flexible small grants in Ukraine. Smaller grants increase the flexibility and minimises the bureaucracy for the local groups to quickly support their community’s urgent and perhaps unique needs. The locally tailored initiatives include food deliveries and soup kitchens, churches who provide shelter for internally displaced people, psychosocial support to children, and heating for the cold winter. The initiatives often reach people who bigger organisations might not have access to, for example in frontline areas, but the local population and initiatives are still there, ensuring the people most in need in hard-to-reach areas get lifesaving support.
The local initiatives all vary in size, number of volunteers and staff, what they do, how they reach people and with what, how they have been established, and where they operate. Some are local churches, expanding their service to their local community in times of crisis; others are newly established soup kitchens setting up the kitchen in a kindergarten currently not in use, since all families with small children have fled the area due to fighting; whereas others are in the process of setting themselves up to become an NGO themselves, but in need of initial support for them to grow their capacity to support their communities for a longer time.
Supporting elderly people in Kharkiv with food packages; providing people with heating materials when no electricity is available during the cold Ukrainian winter; ensuring children have a place to feel safe and play for them take their mind of the war; setting up shelter for people whose home is destroyed in Kherson; and supporting families with psychosocial support.
These are all examples of the many initiatives implemented across Ukraine, supporting areas with high concentrations of internally displaced, frontline areas, and liberated areas. Each project is tailored to the specific local context and driven by local volunteers. The setup is often flexible and can quickly be adapted to the future needs that will hopefully change towards recovery.
In 2022, DCA has supported more than 15 local initiatives across Ukraine, and they have received more than 120,000 USD in total for small, locally identified and locally implemented initiatives to help the people that are most in need. The number of people reached through these initiatives is still increasing, and yet to be concluded.
DCA’s work in Ukraine focuses on two of DCA’s overall goals: To save lives and build resilient communities. Taking a strong localisation approach even in times of crisis, DCA Ukraine works with survivor and community-led response and Humanitarian Mine Action to meet the humanitarian needs of Ukrainians suffering under the Russian invasion. Utilising flexible small grants ensures those affected by the humanitarian crisis also gets a say in how their needs are alleviated in the best way possible.
About this project
Project title: Community-based crisis responders – Ukraine
Project period: 2022 through 2023
Funding: Up to 10,000$ per initiative
Donors: All We Can, Augustinus Foundation, other various Danish Foundations