The Overseas Development Institute has released a new report “Humanitarian access and local organisations in Ukraine” describing the needs and response of the main humanitarian assistance actors in Donbass, Ukraine.  Among those actively working in this area is EFC member, Rinat Akhmetov Foundation

The past few years have been turbulent for the Ukraine, with the international humanitarian community and civil society organisations raising concern over the lack of access to people in need. This report presents research on how international actors gain access and the role of local actors. 

As the most active national foundation in preventing humanitarian catastrophe in the Ukraine, the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation was a major contributor to the humanitarian effort in the DNR until February 2017 when the de facto authorities closed down the foundation’s network of distribution points. 

Local actors in the Ukraine were mainly comprised of organised civilian groups, but these local actors can not match the scale and scope of of international humanitarian help. The one exception to this is the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation. 

Created by billionaire Rinat Akhemetov, the richest man in the Ukraine and one of Donbas’s most prominent oligarchs, the Foundation has played a crucial role in providing aid for citizens, reacting early to the crisis and focusing on ‘hard’ activities such as the distribution of food and blankets. 

In conclusion, the crisis was a challenge for local as well as international actors as they face the same access limitations. Maintaining operations meant reducing visibility and establishing networks. Rather than negotiating access, many took advantage of their small size and relied on the efficiency of their networks in establishing their independent access. 

The report also finds clear links between access and the effectiveness of interventions, highlighting that international and local actors who delivered aid in ways that did not compete with the de facto authorities, or cause them embarrassment, helped ensure that access would be allowed. 

To find out more, download the full report here