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The horrifying events unfolding in Ukraine will undoubtedly count among the darkest in modern history, even as conflict endures in Syria, Yemen, Ethiopia and other regions. Our hearts are breaking for the people of Ukraine and we stand with them — and all those affected by this war.
The humanitarian situation on the ground is dire and bound to get worse as the impacts of invasion and escalating war become clearer. As there has been a conflict in Ukraine since 2014 many international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have a presence providing programmatic support for health, sanitation and other projects.
Since the invasion, these organizations have begun to pivot to an emergency response model requiring a significant shift in personnel and operations to change the expertise in the country. Right now, the global development and aid communities are focused on a few key areas including protecting and supporting displaced people who are forced from their homes and across borders and addressing shortages of essential items such as food in supermarkets, medical supplies (oxygen and medication), shelter and fuel as homes are destroyed and people are on the move.
For regular updates on how the humanitarian situation is evolving, please follow these organizations: ICRC*, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children* and UNHCR*.
Here is guidance on how the business community can best support the humanitarian response effort:
EMERGENCY SUPPORT: During the emergency phase of the humanitarian response, provide direct support to UN agencies, aid organizations and international NGOs mobilizing on the ground. It is best to provide unrestricted cash funding, not in-kind or physical goods, to allow on-the-ground agencies to direct resources to the greatest area of need, support economic recovery and ensure donation management does not detract from disaster recovery needs. Global Citizen* and USAID* have recommendations on where to direct giving.
LOCAL SUPPORT: For companies that seek to support local Ukrainian organizations directly, it is advised to work through a trusted intermediary with strong relationships with nonprofits on the ground as they can provide funding, capacity building and additional support alongside the cash grants. Such organizations here in the U.S. include the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, and GlobalGiving.
LONG-TERM SUPPORT: The private sector is best positioned to engage in long-term support for recovery and rebuilding, especially for the refugee community, after this initial emergency phase. Working with and through aid and NGO partners, the business community will be in a position to invest in long-term solutions to support food security, livelihoods and economic empowerment, healthcare system strengthening, access to education, access to water, sanitation and hygiene.
There will also be long-term sustainable development externalities from this crisis related to global cooperation for climate change and other key issues. The private sector will be a critical ally, champion and solutions provider to ensure the global community stays on pace to achieve the 2030 sustainable development agenda.
We are continuing to monitor the situation as the humanitarian response evolves. Please do reach out as you are assessing your strategy so we can support you.
* Indicates a current or former client of our agency.
Kate specializes in developing strategies and integrated engagement campaigns that help purpose-driven clients build brands and advance sustainable development.