Since 2014, the civilian population of Eastern Ukraine suffers from an armed conflict. In view of the humanitarian crisis, arche noVa has been active in the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk since 2016 and supports rural areas in the field of water, sanitation and hygiene education (WASH). In the beginning, arche noVa had its own team on site, but since two years, arche noVa has been successfully working with the local partner organization New Way on the implementation of the projects.
Successful example of localization
Founded by local arche noVa employees, New Way is a successful example of localization in humanitarian aid, which aims at strengthening the ability of local actors to act independently by building capacities on the ground. In order to achieve this, arche noVa actively supported the foundation of New Way.
"In order to enable lasting change, we need to let people know that their voice has an impact."
says Dmytro Drizhd, co-founder of New Way. This democratic participation is also lived within the organization. "It is important to me that decisions in our organization do not depend on one person, but are made and supported by the entire team," says Dmytro Drizhd. Thanks to this way of working, decisions are not influenced by personal attitudes and prejudices.
In the two years of its existence, New Way has already achieved a lot. In cooperation with arche noVa and other partners like UNICEF, emergency relief measures were carried out as well as water pipes and toilets were repaired in numerous schools, kindergartens, hospitals and rural health stations. Through a hygiene project at 29 educational institutions along the conflict line in the Donetsk region, several thousand people, including many internally displaced persons (IDPs), were trained in the prevention of Covid-19.
Commitment still important
The pandemic in particular is severely affecting the population in the conflict region and exacerbating the emergency situation that already exists. Even though the crisis has become normal over the years, millions of people in the conflict region are still dependent on humanitarian aid. Health care in the region is still poor and WASH infrastructure is inadequate. "People are exhausted by the situation and have little trust in the government," says Dmytro Drizhd, adding that the only way to help them is to work together with the civilian population to build a better future:
"We need to get people to trust each other and take more responsibility themselves - at all political levels."
In a new, joint project with arche noVa, therefore, not only the repair and new construction of WASH infrastructure is on the agenda, but also the cooperation with various actors in the communities as well as further training measures in the field of management and maintenance of the supply systems. This is intended to address all forms of village development. After all, Dmytro Drizhd believes that only when those responsible in the communities themselves are given the expertise and all those affected are involved in decision-making processes can they really take responsibility. He also emphasizes the central role of educational institutions: "Kindergartens and schools are important for younger generations," says Drizhd. "If we want a new generation to take responsibility, we have to start now."