15.03.2018

Eastern Ukraine: Creating prospects for internally displaced persons

Roughly 1.5 million people in Ukraine are internally displaced in their own country. Host communities and towns are being supported in their efforts to integrate internally displaced persons.

There has been armed conflict in eastern Ukraine between the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian separatists since 2014 – despite agreed ceasefires. The fighting has forced around 1.5 million people to flee their homes and seek shelter in other towns and cities.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is supporting the host regions Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhzhya, which have been particularly affected, in improving people’s living conditions. Around 300,000 internally displaced persons have settled in these regions, and this presents a major challenge to the towns and communities.

GIZ is working on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), for example to renovate schools and kindergartens, equip fire and ambulance services with new protective suits and respiratory devices, and provide training in efficient emergency management. Training is also being provided to employees in the towns and cities to improve the quality of municipal services.

The support measures also aim to enable the long-term integration of internally displaced persons. Football camps and youth centres are helping people to get to know each other and build mutual respect. Jobs are particularly important for long-term success, says Sabine Müller, GIZ Country Director Ukraine. ‘The integration of internally displaced persons can only succeed if they have the opportunity to earn a living for themselves.’ Practical training, such as in project management or IT, provide assistance in getting back into work.

More than one million people in eastern Ukraine – internally displaced persons as well as the local population – are benefiting from these and other activities.