The second largest country in Europe, Ukraine is a republic that gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. After a difficult transition period to the market economy the country remains one of the poorest in Europe, despite the ostentatious wealth that one sees in the large cities. Currently, the main humanitarian challenges in Ukraine, due to the political, economic and social situation, are related to poverty, health and disasters. Over a quarter of the population live below the poverty line and lack adequate health and social care. The most vulnerable are elderly people living alone, multi-child families, street children, people with disabilities, and marginalized people such as migrants, homeless people, people living with HIV, alcoholics and drug users. The increase in TB and the most severe AIDS epidemic in Europe add to the challenges for the society and the government, and as these diseases prey on the poorest and most vulnerable both outbreaks are spreading and converging. Ukraine is also prone to natural and man-made disasters such as frequent flooding, harsh winters, storms, the threat of avian flu, road accidents, mine disasters and the legacy of the Chernobyl disaster (see separate plan).
These humanitarian challenges in Ukraine define the Ukrainian Red Cross priorities. The overall goal is to ensure that the programmes and services of the Ukrainian Red Cross are focused on the needs of vulnerable people, and that these activities are responsive, sustainable and of acceptable standards in performance, accountability and integrity. The society's mission is to protect lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering during natural disasters and technical accidents, as well as assist the health authorities and the medical services. The National Society's partners include the German, the French and the Italian Red Cross Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
The International Federation secretariat plan 2009-2010 envisages support to the Ukrainian Red Cross in key areas. It directly corresponds to the Global Agenda goals to reduce the number of deaths, injuries and impact from disasters; to reduce deaths, illnesses and impact from diseases and public health emergencies; to increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability; and to promote respect for diversity and human dignity, and reduce intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion. The outcomes to be achieved by the end of the programme period will include:
- By strengthening its disaster preparedness the society will contribute to the elimination of the impact of natural and other disasters and socio-economic crisis on communities, especially the most vulnerable populations.
- The National Society will significantly contribute towards health education of youth and improve the life quality of people with disabilities and people living with HIV.
- The society will build its capacity, including the development and promotion of the youth volunteer movement, strengthening civil society by improving the quality of services offered by the Visiting Nurses Service.
- The Ukrainian Red Cross will contribute towards raising humanitarian values, particularly in fighting stigmatization of people living with HIV through access to the necessary knowledge to change perceptions, attitudes and behaviour towards them and eliminate all forms of discrimination.
Activities will include protecting the rights of irregular migrants detained in accommodation centres.
It is expected that the implementation of the current plan will directly target 924,000 people per year, and about 5 million people through mass information campaigns. Programme implementation will directly benefit residents of high-risk communities, people affected by man-made and natural disasters, elderly people living alone and people with disabilities, teachers, students, schoolchildren, people living with HIV, victims of human trafficking, National Society staff and volunteers, migrants and the general public, particularly through mass information campaigns as mentioned.
The total 2009-2010 budget is CHF 1,265,085 (USD 1,156,385 or EUR 805,787).