Despite gaining independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine is currently enduring serious challenges. War and corruption have left nearly 1.5 million people without food or water, and an estimated four million people are in need of humanitarian assistance as of August 2017. This figure includes approximately three million people who were affected by the water supply system disruptions and an increase in internally displaced persons (IDPs) throughout the country.
The suffering is due to the separatist movement in Ukraine’s south and east regions after a reversal in government that has led to protests, violence and over 6,500 lives lost. Millions of citizens have been forced from their homes, creating a food crisis. However, efforts to increase humanitarian aid to Ukraine have been implemented over the past few years. The U.S. government has provided more than $27 million in assistance to meet the health, food, shelter, water, sanitation, hygiene and protection needs in the conflict-affected areas of the Ukraine during 2017 alone.
In response to Ukraine’s political transition and its effects, USAID’s Ukraine Confidence Building Initiative program was formed in 2014. The Confidence Building Initiative (UCBI) complements ongoing USAID efforts to create a prosperous and stable Ukraine. UCBI assistance will come in the form of small in-kind grants, such as goods, services and technical support, to a range of partners, including national and local civilian government entities, civil society organizations and community leaders.
By providing quick, short-term assistance to Ukrainian partners who are in support of a peaceful democratic transition, UCBI seeks to reduce social tensions and increase available information on the conflict and its impact. According to ReliefWeb, USAID has implemented 70 activities in Ukraine and provided approximately 100,000 IDPs with economic opportunities and other important resettlement services.
– Kailey Brennan