In the last week of June, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) commissioned the Special Assistance Programme (SAP) for Ukraine to expand its activities into eight new regions notably in eastern, northern, and southern Ukraine.

The expansion of the hitherto BMZ funded project is possible due to EU co-financing worth EUR 10 million from the European Union’s EU4Resilient Regions programme. The Special Assistance Program will thus be increased to EUR 20 million and will be able to support up to 80 communities in providing their residents with better access to local administrative, medical, and social services.

This new programme is fully in line with the EU’s unwavering support to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, within its internationally recognised borders. It is a result of the European Union’s constant thrive to support Ukraine in the face of the hybrid challenges it faces. Our joint aim is to help make eastern and southern Ukraine strong, resilient and flourishing”, said Frederik Coene, Head of Cooperation at the European Union Delegation to Ukraine.

The first event introducing the extension of the project already took place with the participation of the Ministry for Reintegration, Health, Social Policy, and Digital Affairs, representatives of the EU delegation, the German Embassy, 10 regional administrations and two mayors. Selection of the partner communities is beginning shortly.

One of the participating mayors from Starobilsk commented “Our hromada is a GIZ partner since 2020 and our residents already benefit from improved services and that makes a difference to them. I am glad that the positive experience from communities like ours, is now expanded to other parts of Ukraine”- Jana Litvinova, Head of Starobilsk Hromada, Luhansk Region, commented.

The best practices and experience in improving local service provisions in Donetsk and Luhansk regions (GCA) already implemented by the GIZ during the previous phase of the Special Assistance Programme for Ukraine will be extended into selected municipalities in the Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhya, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Sumy, Chernihiv regions. Until October 2023, the programme will help up to 80 communities to make sure residents can access local administrative, medical, and social services comfortably and efficiently. In Kherson region, the programme will improve crossing points at the administrative boundary line with Crimea.

 “In cooperation with European partners, we look forward to overcoming the challenges and improving the quality of life of our citizens, making this world better together”, Inna Draganchuk, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, the political partner of the Special Assistance Programme, commented.

The Special Assistance Programme for Ukraine started in November 2019 for the government-controlled areas of Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Since 2020, the project has worked with 20 municipalities (hromadas) in Donetsk and Luhansk regions (GCA). In the first year of implementation, 43 healthcare facilities and 37 social services institutions were supported. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the programme quickly provided support, like masks, PPE, and medical equipment, to its partner communities and vulnerable population groups through cooperation with the Ukrainian Red Cross and local NGOs.

>> Read the official press release (EN / UKR) of the European Union Delegation to Ukraine on the project launch here.