“Humanitarian responses to war challenges is a set of measures, not just food aid,” — Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine Oksana Zholnovych

When we talk about the victims of war, we can fairly state that it is 100% of the population of Ukraine, emphasized Oksana Zholnovych, Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine, during the Dialogue “Coordination: A Path to Systemic Support for the War-Affected Ukrainian Population.” Oksana Zholnovych also spoke about systematizing the processes related to providing livelihood support and establishing coordination between key stakeholders.

Every Ukrainian is war-affected, physically or psychologically.

Oksana Zholnovych is convinced that every person in Ukraine has suffered from the war — this applies to both mental trauma, psychological problems, exhaustion, and physical trauma caused by Russia’s full-scale aggression:

“For almost two years, we all have been living in a state of constant anxiety, having to make a choice — to go down to a shelter at night or to stay at home. Every time a person makes a decision that may affect their life — to get enough sleep or to still worry about their safety. This certainly affects our psychological state and health.”

According to medical research, the psycho-emotional instability of Ukrainians today – pain, stress, fears – can lead to a large number of cardiovascular diseases in the future.

“We have to respond to this challenge and are now launching several services that will help every member of our society regulate their psycho-emotional state: at a basic level, learn how to deal with stress, what to do when you can’t keep up with own emotions, and you have to cope with it,” emphasizes Oksana Zholnovych.

Coordination of stakeholders will allow us to provide more effective livelihood support.

Practical assistance to war-affected people requires a complex interaction of all stakeholders, said Ms. Oksana. She emphasized the importance of cooperation with civil society organizations.

“This concerns coordination not only of livelihood support but also of services, such as psychological support, care for lonely people, people with disabilities, etc. Psychological support for the military, both here in the rear and in the combat zone, is of major importance,” said Oksana Zholnovych.

Digitization of some processes will open up new opportunities for systematization and control over resource management, says Oksana Zholnovych: 

“I realize that many NGOs have already developed mechanisms of work, but there is no dialogue between them. That is why we have introduced an automated system of humanitarian aid accounting, and I am sure that when it is fully operational, we will systematize information about what kind of humanitarian aid we receive, where it goes, and who receives it. This will allow us to verify humanitarian aid and make its provision more transparent and understandable.”

We need to help smarter and increase the efficiency of processes.

Oksana Zholnovych emphasized the need to optimize the provision of livelihood support to meet the needs of war-affected Ukrainians better. According to her, this issue should be approached comprehensively and balanced.

“Someone may be tempted to provide everyone with everything. However, this is an illusional format of work that cannot be implemented in practice and carries certain risks. First, it provokes splits in society. Secondly, this approach requires increased payments each time, which is impossible in the current environment. Financing is certainly a social support component, but not its only aspect. That is why we are engaged in both humanitarian aid and social services to address urgent needs comprehensively,” the Minister said.

The “Relief for Ukraine: Support Ecosystem for Ukrainians” Program is implemented by Aspen Institute Kyiv, initiated by CORE Response, and supported by the American Red Cross.