Kharkiv bookstore reopens  | © Helvetas / Natasha Zima
20. February 2024

Helvetas Continues to Provide Emergency Aid in Ukraine and Strengthen the Local Economy

© Helvetas / Natasha Zima

Two years after the start of the war of aggression in Ukraine, Helvetas continues to support the local population in their daily struggle for survival, and at the same time strengthens local businesses. After all, a functioning economy is crucial for the medium-term future.

Helvetas has been providing emergency aid in Ukraine since the outbreak of war. The Swiss NGO for development cooperation and humanitarian aid is helping to secure access to drinking water, repair destroyed houses – over 102,000 people benefited from this in 2023 – and provide suitable emergency accommodation for displaced people. The aim is to ensure the survival of the population.   

The need is still immense, and the military attacks have intensified since the end of 2023. Helvetas is expanding its commitment on the ground – also thanks to Swiss Solidarity, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and local partner organizations.  

Training and strengthening local businesses 

The war has had a massive impact on the economy: It is estimated that over a quarter of all businesses have had to cease operations, and an additional 50% have reduced their activities. Millions have lost their jobs. Helvetas is therefore supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as providing short training courses for professions that are currently in urgent demand. There is a shortage of skilled workers, partly because they are in the army or had to flee the war, and partly because demand has grown enormously due to all the destruction. Helvetas is training welders, painters, heating fitters, plumbers and plasterers – with a focus on renewable energies.  

Specifically, Helvetas is working with Ukrainian NGOs to offer courses in the Kharkiv region, close to the Russian border. People who are particularly at risk are trained, including: single women, older people and those with disabilities. Helvetas specifically promotes the integration of women into the world of work. Three goals are achieved:  

  • The courses give people the opportunity to generate an income. This opens up prospects locally. 

  • The local economy is supported and revitalized. 

  • And third, the Ukrainians, who are specifically trained to meet current needs, contribute to the reconstruction of their country: Thanks to the skills they have acquired, they can help to repair the infrastructure destroyed by the war. 

Helvetas also supports the service sector in order to maintain cultural and social life, which helps people to cope with the extreme situation. 

Further information: 

More information on Helvetas' commitment in Ukraine - including pictures and videos

Inside Ukraine: Planning Long-Term Development Projects During a War

Vision & Mission | Helvetas