October 4, 2023, 16:07

In the south of Ukraine, UNICEF is repairing shelters, providing schools with furniture and anti-shrapnel film, and training teachers. Two million people to be helped by the end of the year

By the end of 2023, the UNICEF Odesa office plans to help two million people in three regions of Ukraine – Mykolaiv, Odesa and Kherson. This was announced at a briefing at the Ukraine-Odesa Media Center by UNICEF Communications Specialist Veronika Nikitina.

“We have started working in Kherson region recently. According to our plans, by the end of 2023, we plan to reach more than 2 million beneficiaries with our assistance and services. Both adults and children. This is possible thanks to the support of our donors – the governments of Japan and France, USAID, ECHO (Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations) and many others,” – she said.

In southern Ukraine, UNICEF works in four areas: child protection, assistance in organizing the educational process, improving health services and hygiene conditions.

In particular, mobile teams worked in Mykolaiv and Kherson regions to work with vulnerable families with children after the flood caused by the undermining of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station dam. The international organization creates children’s spaces and shelters for survivors of violence and conducts lectures for parents/legal representatives on psychosocial support and positive parenting, etc.

The international organization also provides equipment and medicines to healthcare facilities, repairs shelters, trains doctors and social workers, and supports breastfeeding and healthy eating programs. After the flood, UNICEF also began rehabilitating and cleaning wells in Kherson and Mykolaiv regions, and is installing new wells in some Odesa hospitals.

“We started 2023 by repairing shelters [in schools]. We managed to complete repairs in two of them by September 1, and three more in Odesa region were completed at the end of September. Students of 5 schools in Avangard, Odesa, Chornomorsk and Yuzhne were able to return to offline learning. Last year, 69 hub schools in the region received $3,000 each to prepare for the new school year, which was spent on improving the security situation. This year, in April-May, the same schools received an additional $2,000 to improve the school feeding system,” said UNICEF Education Project Coordinator Anatoliy Ignatovych. Some schools in Odesa region received furniture and generators.

In Mykolaiv region, UNICEF helped repair eight schools after damage caused by rocket attacks and rebuilt shelters in 8 schools in the region. More than 20 schools were also protected with anti-shrapnel film, and 11 received school furniture.

In Mykolaiv region, UNICEF and the Winds of Change charity foundation opened 10 educational centers. “We opened these centers where there was a large number of internally displaced persons, where children did not have access to offline education. Where we could help children get live access to the educational process,” said Ignatovych. Now it is planned to launch 11 more digital educational centers.

The Winds of Change centers have registered 62,000 recipients of assistance and services, more than 49,000 of them children, said Hanna Velichko, coordinator of the educational component of the Winds of Change charity foundation. The centers also trained teachers. Their classes were held in 8 sessions: inclusive development of schoolchildren, sex education, methods of working with children in an unstable emotional state, resources for educators as a prevention of psycho-emotional burnout, working with families who have experienced traumatic events, signs of regression in the development of children who have experienced violence, methods of effective communication with children and types of violence against children.

“These topics were not chosen by UNICEF or us. They were collected from the needs of teachers themselves. What they lack today is what they want to know. Working with teachers, I see how they strive for new knowledge and skills. They can identify the needs of themselves, their children, and their parents,” Velychko said.  In total, 3,000 teachers have been trained. Now Winds of Change is collecting new topics for future training.

In total, more than 106,000 war-affected children and teachers received assistance in 2023 from UNICEF and education partners. The international organization’s Education Cluster is responding to requests from partner organizations and local authorities. In particular, these include the provision of computer equipment and the creation of mobile shelters.

Full information on UNICEF’s activities in southern Ukraine is available in the report here (in Ukrainian): https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1wYYDJ3KUGvuU6EZCacio7U72mVbyz2PytCPOiDS-WsA/edit?usp=sharing

Read more: https://mediacenter.org.ua/news