Project “Increasing food supply security and livelihoods of the vulnerable population of Donbass, Eastern Ukraine, affected by the conflict”

The project “Increasing food supply security and livelihoods of the vulnerable population of Donbass, Eastern Ukraine, affected by the conflict” is a program aimed at providing financial assistance to small businesses owners and local people living in the near-front zone in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The project received funding from the Crisis Center of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France and is being implemented by the Triangle Association together with the Non-Governmental Organization “Country of Free People”.

“The task of the project is to help people living in the front-line territory, as well as to support the entrepreneurs who run business there,” said Nadiia Khomenko, the Chairman of the NGO “Country of Free People”.

According to her, the situation in many villages is really deplorable, businessmen are forced to close shops and, in order to acquire what is most urgently needed, people have to travel a distance of 12-15 km daily, despite the weather conditions.

The program concept is to give people who really need help an opportunity to come to the partner store and get absolutely free of charge the most necessary foodstuffs. Each beneficiary received 2 vouchers for 450 UAH, which could be realized in the next two months. The dividing of vouchers by month was carried out in order to get a chance of buying fresh food (milk, meat, vegetables, bread) that is not supplied in food boxes. The system of using the program is very simple: the beneficiary’s mobile phone (the Beneficiary is the recipient of certain benefits arising from the project. Wikipedia) receives an SMS with the code with which he goes to the store and makes purchases.

When signing a contract with a partner store, the sales staff is trained how to use the e-voucher system correctly.

According to local residents, the program is very easy to use and extremely convenient, because stores are close by. They emphasize how important such assistance is now, in the front-line areas. There are many pensioners and people with disabilities who are not able to provide for themselves, and finding a job here is not easy at all, therefore such projects are really necessary for ensuring minimum living conditions for these people.

As part of the project, a pilot program “Work for Voucher” was conducted, with the following concept: people who did not fall into the preferential categories have the opportunity to independently earn a voucher and subsequently redeem it at a local store.

    The nature and scope of work for the voucher were determined in cooperation with the local administration and were aimed at:
  • Minor repair work in the village (whitewashing of air-raid shelters, painting in schools, kindergartens, trimming of trees in critical condition, damaged after shellfire, etc.)
  • Socially-oriented assistance (mainly oriented at lonely elderly people - to fix the fence, to chop up the firewood, to dig up a vegetable garden, etc.).

Due to the project, 3040 needy families living near the front line have received assistance. 12 partner stores took part in the project, 75% of them due to the project were able to create more jobs.

Film with the progress of the project: