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.