Creating Sustainable Solutions to Recovery with the Ukrainian Diaspora
Ukrainians across the United States are determined to build a better future for their home country.
Beyond providing lifesaving aid since the start of the war, Ukrainian-Americans seek long-term solutions on the road to recovery. Together with partners, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), USA for IOM, and the U.S. Government are actively providing support to the needs on the ground and are prioritizing the innovative strategies being created to fill humanitarian gaps.
As part of their Diaspora Voices and Ukraine Partnership Series initiatives, the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Partnerships (GP) held a roundtable event on September 13th with U.S.-based Ukrainian diaspora organizations. The event was a collaboration between GP, IOM, USA for IOM, USAID, and the Ukrainian Embassy in the United States, with the Ukrainian Educational and Cultural Center (UECC).
During the event at the UECC in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, the Ukrainian diaspora’s vital contributions supporting communities affected by the ongoing war were recognized. The discussion focused on the strengths and experiences of the diaspora organizations, the capacities of government and nongovernmental actors to help sustain existing efforts, continued collaboration and mutual long-term goals for Ukraine. The need to strengthen private sector engagement was recognized as essential to creating long-term solutions.
The critical importance of local actors was emphasized, as was the need for Ukrainians to ‘take back the narrative’ of the war and to tell the personal stories of those affected. Donations have decreased dramatically since the first months of the war, and by showcasing the direct human impact and stories of resilience, the attendees are hopeful the American public will understand why support to populations affected by the conflict continues to be a priority.
The Ukrainian organizations present at the event have extensive experience in providing humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, including sourcing and sending medical kits and other supplies, and traveling to Ukraine themselves to provide direct support to hospitals, schools and other local organizations. These powerful civil society groups are highly motivated to coordinate with large-scale actors to most effectively support ongoing programs that benefit Ukrainian communities.
With over 5.1 million internally displaced persons in Ukraine, there are multiple urgent challenges to be addressed. Roundtable participants discussed steps to recovery, including rebuilding infrastructure, and addressing the collective trauma of Ukrainians and post-traumatic stress disorder, which is widespread.
Since the start of the full-scale war in Ukraine, IOM has refocused its programs and projects, and from February 2022 to March 2023 reached close to three million people with humanitarian support that includes provision of non-food and hygiene items; water, sanitation and hygiene support; multipurpose cash; emergency health and mental health and psychosocial support; assistance to collective centers; protection and other types of support. IOM’s Mission in Ukraine further fights trafficking in human beings, assists the Government in dealing with irregular migration, improving its migration management system, and creating migrant-inclusive health practices and policies. Click here to learn more about IOM’s work in Ukraine.
More than 463,000 people affected by the Ukraine conflict have received multisectoral support through USA for IOM support to IOM’s emergency response. The response focuses on providing shelter, healthcare, cash assistance and immediate basic needs for conflict-affected populations. These include IDPs, host communities and stranded third-country nationals.
IOM engages with diaspora communities globally as part of the 3E Strategy of Engaging, Enabling and Empowering diasporas. To meet the increasing needs arising from multiple crises worldwide, IOM’s work with diasporas not only expands the reach of humanitarian action but leverages their skills and networks, puts agency back into the hands of affected communities, and helps to build more sustainable, long-term solutions to crisis situations.
To learn more about opportunities to partner, contact USA for IOM at firstname.lastname@example.org or IOM Ukraine at SMUKRcfm@iom.int. To learn more about IOM’s work and initiatives with diasporas, contact IOM Washington’s Diaspora Engagement Unit at email@example.com.
Millions of Afghans have been displaced from their homes due to decades of conflict, natural disasters, and political and economic upheaval. Over one million have been displaced just in the past year alone.
Since August 2020, IOM has organized the dignified and orderly travel of more than 60,000 Afghan evacuees from temporary housing locations in the United States to their final destination cities across the country. Many arrived to an unfamiliar place just in time for winter’s freezing temperatures and with only the clothes on their backs.
Upon realizing the urgent need for more adequate gear, USA for IOM partnered with UNIQLO to deliver over 16,000 articles of winter clothing to Afghans in need. Through its “Warmer Together” philanthropic campaign, UNIQLO also matched their customers’ contributions to further their support for displaced families.
This week, the humanitarian community convened to raise awareness of the particular needs inside Afghanistan. Over 24 million people – more than half the population– require lifesaving assistance, and the consequences of inaction will be swift and severe, and difficult, if not impossible, to reverse.
With over 760 staff operating across the country, IOM teams are providing critical shelter support to help the most vulnerable families survive the harsh winter season. Mobile health teams have been deployed to some of the hardest-to-reach areas in an effort to shore up the country’s fragile health care system. As cross-border movements continue, IOM continues to provide assistance to returnees at key border points and IOM-managed reception centers.
As IOM’s nonprofit partner, USA for IOM supports the operations of IOM globally by raising awareness and fostering philanthropic partnerships like the one with UNIQLO. USA for IOM continues to urge for solidarity with the Afghan people and calls on support from individuals, foundations and corporations interested in contributing resources reflective of their philanthropic priorities and our shared values.
To support IOM’s work in Afghanistan:
“As the pitcher, you set the tone,” begins the coach of Casa Llena.
“It doesn’t matter what the score is, what the crowd is yelling, or even who’s up to bat; the only thing you can control is yourself. Each time you’re on the mound, it’s a new opportunity to set the tone you want.”
Self-regulation is one of the many life lessons players learn on IOM’s youth baseball team.
Along with gameplay and technique, players learn life skills, including taking things one step at a time as they round the bases, and that helping each other is essential to meeting their collective goals.
The name ‘Casa Llena’ or ‘Full House’ carries its own significance- a baseball term for when the bases are full, and scoring is imminent, it’s a reminder of the value of opening our doors to new neighbors.
Baseball represents an unlikely connection between arriving Venezuelan migrants and Ecuadorian locals in a predominantly soccer-loving country. But the 20 migrant and local youth brought together through this program see it as an opportunity to form community.
Yolannys, a 25-year-old Venezuelan migrant, has become close to both her fellow players and their parents. She says that joining the team has made her feel at home in a new country.
When asked about the program’s impact on her, she describes how coming to practices has helped her keep focused on her goals and that the friends she’s made have given her the encouragement she needed to grow her new business.
Samuel, a local player age-10, has enjoyed making friends, having fun, and adds that he’s learned a lot about the game from his Venezuelan teammates.
But for Ximena, 15, the team’s star hitter, she doesn’t notice any difference between her and her Venezuelan teammates on the field.
Miriam is one of the over 5.5 million internally displaced in Afghanistan; she lost three sons in the recent conflict and has not heard from her remaining living son since he left home to seek a job abroad two months ago. “Being so uncertain about his fate and whereabouts is painful,” Miriam told an IOM worker with tears streaming down her face. Miriam, and many others like her, are dependent on IOM’s Humanitarian Assistance Programme.
IOM’s operations in Afghanistan continue across multiple provinces since the heart-wrenching events of August witnessed worldwide in the news and on social media. More than 630,000 individuals have been newly displaced by conflict this year; almost half of whom left their homes since July and an additional 28,000 have been displaced by disasters.
IOM has maintained a consistent presence in Afghanistan since 1992 through conflict, humanitarian crises, and natural disaster, and we remain committed to supporting the Afghan people, men, women, and children alike, with their immediate humanitarian needs as the first concern. IOM has launched an urgent appeal for USD 24 million to scale up its response to the most pressing, life-saving needs. At this stage, IOM is providing emergency shelter and core relief items to Afghans who have been displaced from their home jointly with the World Food Programme allowing families to receive essential food and non-food items together.
IOM also delivers development and community stabilization programming to support people on the move across Afghanistan. This includes health services, including primary healthcare, reproductive healthcare, COVID-19 response, and mental health support; protection case management and monitoring; support to small businesses; disaster risk reduction; and holistic community development interventions supporting stabilized communities and bolstered resilience.
IOM refuses to abandon the people of Afghanistan, and we are thankful we are not alone in our commitment. As the events in August unfold with scenes of despair and desperation, the US public showed concern, care, and support.
Last year, 2020, marked a record high for US private sector and philanthropic individuals’ charitable contributions. The resilience and responsiveness of the American people to increased and widespread needs throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is encouraging and inspiring. As the need persists, we are confident the response of the US public will as well.
If you are interested in supporting the meaningful, crucial work of IOM in Afghanistan, please contribute HERE.
International Community Raises USD 954 million for Venezuela
Yesterday, the Canadian Ministry of International Development, alongside cohosts IOM and UNHCR, convened the third International Donors’ Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants. This annual event marshals the international community to act on their shared responsibility to address this crisis.
Despite being the world’s second-largest displacement crisis, the Response to Venezuela is severely underfunded;approximately USD 300 has been raised for each migrant
Throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, governments have maintained open borders, regularized vast numbers of Venezuelan migrants, and extended social services, including health care and education. These humanitarian policies represent an incredible investment from host countries, overextending their administrative and financial capacities- especially while facing a pandemic.
Donors answered the call to action by giving generously to strengthen the UN’s Regional Interagency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela and to bolster the assistance provided by host communities.
The conference raised USD 954 million committed by 30 countries, including 407 million from the US, and USD 600 million in concessional loans pledged by the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.
Resources mobilized will support the implementation of agile and sustainable solutions that address the diverse and evolving needs of Venezuelan migrants and the countries receiving them.
Addressing a crisis of this magnitude demands an all-of-society response.Thanks to partnerships with the private sector and philanthropies, USA for IOM is mobilizing critical resources for the Venezuela response.
In the next half of 2021, we must strengthen these commitments to meet this humanitarian challenge with the resources it requires. More than ever, it is crucial that the private sector acts as a global leader and stands with Venezuelan migrants, refugees, and their host communities.