News  >  Blog

Responding to Humanitarian Needs in Ukraine

Published 04/26/2022 by Global Communities


Since the war began in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, an estimated 5 million refugees have fled to neighboring countries, while over 7 million people have been displaced inside the country in search of safety, protection and assistance meeting basic needs.

As the scale of this humanitarian crisis continues to grow, Global Communities is working directly with local governments and civil society organizations to support meeting non-food item and hygiene needs in 8 communities across 3 oblasts in western Ukraine. This includes procuring and delivering such items as beds, blankets, kitchen goods and lamps as well as distributing critical personal hygiene supplies like baby diapers, soap, sanitary pads and toilet paper. Whenever possible, we are prioritizing procuring goods from Ukrainian producers and vendors, which continue to operate in Ukraine either directly or remotely from a neighboring country.

In addition to direct procurements, Global Communities has leveraged its relationships with 100 local governments across Ukraine to connect them to each other, local NGOs and other international organizations. This has led to western Ukrainian communities connecting with and sending supplies to eastern communities in need, and the provision of direct food assistance or cash from local and international NGOs. Global Communities continues to monitor the needs of communities on an ongoing basis, facilitating these connections and planning for future assistance.  

For decades, Global Communities has responded to complex humanitarian emergencies. Our approach prioritizes partnering with affected communities to identify and address urgent needs with a focus on resilience and long-term recovery. We deliver community-led humanitarian responses with a focus on prioritizing the safety, dignity and needs of those who are most at risk of harm, including people with disabilities, older persons, women and children. 

“Because Global Communities brings together decades of knowledge and experience across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus, we are prepared to support communities as they meet immediate needs while also building toward long-term resilience.”

Pia Wanek, Senior Vice President for Global Programs

In addition, Global Communities has worked in Eastern Europe for more than 60 years and has a deep understanding of the unique needs of the region. Over the past six years, in Ukraine specifically, Global Communities has led a consortium of local and international organizations to implement a program that improves the ability of local governments to identify and support the needs of their community, with a focus on promoting gender equality, women’s empowerment and enhancing economic sustainability. Through this work, our dedicated team on the ground has developed close relationships with local governments and organizations across 10 oblasts. With the onset of the war, we have been able to engage this network to conduct rapid assessments to identify specific needs prioritized by affected communities in Ukraine. 

Notably, our partnerships with local self-government and civil society organizations in our 100 partner communities allow us to reach both deeply and broadly to strengthen the outreach of humanitarian assistance efforts, from large cities to smaller towns and consolidated communities across Ukraine. Our team maintains telephone contact with communities that are otherwise more challenging to reach given the conflict context, allowing us to build capacity to respond from a distance as needed and help target assistance to meet the immediate and lifesaving needs of those who might otherwise be neglected.  

“Global Communities has a unique ability to respond to this crisis, as we have spent the last six years building relationships of trust with the local governments and civil society in Ukraine who will ultimately lead the recovery,” said Julie Steiger, Senior Director, Humanitarian Program Operations. “This is just one example of how, as global conflicts increase and intensify, we will need to bring to the table real expertise across both sustainable development and humanitarian assistance. In today’s world, one can pivot to the other faster than ever before.”

Global Communities’ approach to humanitarian assistance focuses on restarting livelihoods, increasing access to financial services, rebuilding homes and neighborhoods, and providing psychosocial support. Protection is at the heart of our programs, and through mainstreaming protection and direct service delivery, we ensure that lifesaving responses are grounded in the principle of Do No Harm and guided by the core humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.

To read more about our response to the war in Ukraine and experience with complex humanitarian emergencies, we invite you to explore the information below: 

This content is part of Future Forward, a thought leadership and storytelling series on how Global Communities is driving change to save lives, advance equity and secure strong futures. To learn more, visit