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Ukraine is torn between the double economic and political influence of Russia and the European Union. Its economy, strongly impacted by the economic crisis of 2008, is currently facing a high unemployment rate and particularly low wages.

The crisis the country is experiencing originated in President Victor Yanukovych’s refusal to sign the association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union in November 2013, which provoked a wave of protests and culminated with his dismissal. After that, Crimea, a predominantly Russian-speaking province, declared its independence and organized a referendum with a view to joining Russia, which became a reality in 2014.

Several other provinces with a large Russian-speaking population then rebelled, attempting in turn to organize self-determination referendums. This is the case in the Donbass Region in eastern Ukraine, where clashes continued despite a ceasefire signed in February 2015 and regularly renewed since then (the last one dates from December 2016). The already heavy toll of more than 9,700 dead and 22,600 injured continues to worsen.

The frequent violations of the cease-fire and the limited prospect for a political settlement of the conflict in the near future make it likely that the difficulties faced by 3.8 million people will continue: Internally displaced persons (IDPs), people living in poorly supplied areas under separatist control, or people trapped in the buffer zone, where the inhabitants of the villages located in the middle of the defence lines, still regularly bombed, are particularly affected.

Triangle Génération Humanitaire conducted several needs assessments in 2015 and started its activities in March 2016, with a first programme aiming to provide food to rural populations through a food stamp distribution system.

Today, TGH is pursuing this approach by extending its scope to non-food items (hygiene products), thus responding to the decline in household food security, while supporting local businesses suffocated by the crisis.

Access to the populations living in the separatist zone is still limited by the authorities who prevent most aid agencies from operating in the country. TGH, which is currently working in the parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts that are under government control, aims to successfully help these households in 2017.

Current programmes

Improving the food security and livelihoods of vulnerable populations affected by the Donbass conflict

This programme provides access to food and non-food products for the most vulnerable families living along the contact line between governmental and separatist areas, as well as access to heating means for some of them.

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 Area of expertise


 Key figures

 Beneficiaries: 3,016 households
 Duration: 6 months 1/02/17 - 31/07/17
 Budget: € 300,000


  • Funding: Centre de Crise et de Soutien
  • Partner: Country of Free People
  • Direct Beneficiaries: 3,016 households representing 6,636 people (based on the average number of persons per household : 2.2)

Interview with beneficiaries in Verkhniotoretske, February 2017
Photo : Stéphane Vengut / TGH ©

The follow-up of previous TGH projects confirmed that the priority of households in the buffer zone in eastern Ukraine remains the coverage of food needs. But a strong need for heating was also reported by the interviewed persons, who, because of the long duration of the winter period, mentioned it as a very important burden.


Meeting the owner of the grocery store “Gurman”, in Popasna
Photo : Camille Popkoff / TGH ©

As part of this programme, TGH distributes multi-purpose electronic coupons, using a similar methodology to that developed under the two previous programmes (money transfer system by telephone). In collaboration with eight grocery stores located in the cities of Avdeevka, Verkhniotoretske, Popasna and Kamyshevakha, already having an Internet connection and the necessary IT equipment, TGH distributes two multi-purpose coupons to targeted families in the governmental and separatist zones, covering a period of one month each. These coupons improve households’ access to food and hygiene products and allow them to save a portion of their income for other expenses. TGH thus supports both the local economy and beneficiary households.

TGH also introduced an additional allocation for the most vulnerable families (including people with disabilities and/ or suffering from chronic illness) in the form of cash coupons to be exchanged for cash with two banking operators identified upstream of the project. Monetary intervention is an arrangement that a growing number of humanitarian actors are using to assist populations living along the contact line.


Completed Programmes

Improving food security and strengthening the local economy in conflict-affected rural areas located near the contact zone in eastern Ukraine

This programme aims to improve the food security of communities affected by the conflict while supporting the local economy and the resilience of populations through the distribution of electronic food coupons.

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 Area of expertise


 Key figures

 Beneficiaries: 7,700 people
 Duration: 8,5 months 11/2016 – 07/2017
 Budget: €248,820. 41


Holy Father Initiative for Ukraine
  • Funding: Holy Father Initiative for Ukraine
  • Partner: Country of Free People (Країна вільних людей )
  • Direct Beneficiaries: 7,700 people

The project is implemented in the Diocese of Kharkiv-Zaporizhia. It targets 19 villages located within 10 km of the contact line, in territories controlled by the Ukrainian government. The deterioration of the economic situation and continued fighting still affect the populations living along the front line, stuck in the buffer zone between the sectors controlled by the Government and by the rebels.

Thanks to TGH's previous projects in this area, partner grocery stores, local authorities and beneficiaries are already familiar with the method of distribution of electronic coupons by SMS. The feedback on previous distributions has been positive, and both the beneficiaries and partner grocery stores expressed their willingness to continue the action. This programme therefore follows in the footsteps of the actions implemented since 2016.

This intervention follows a dual approach. First, electronic coupons for the purchase of food will be distributed to the most vulnerable households identified. With a value of UAH 530 (~€18), they can be used several times. At the same time, vouchers for work will be distributed to 500 people, subject to their participation in activities defined by CFP, TGH and local administrations. The selection of beneficiaries takes income into account, making it possible to target categories of people often excluded from humanitarian programmes because they are considered to be less vulnerable than others, although their incomes remain low. The activities will have to be of interest to the community (small works to rehabilitate roads or public buildings for example), and/ or help rebuild social cohesion (interventions with persons with reduced mobility and/ or isolated people, children, etc.).

A beneficiary in Kamyshevakha

A beneficiary in Kamyshevakha, December 2016
Photo : Gabriel MOUCHE / TGH ©

A beneficiary in Avdeevka

A beneficiary in Avdeevka, November 2016
Photo : Gabriel MOUCHE / TGH ©

Mitigating the impact of the Donbass conflict on vulnerable populations living along the front line through the supply of hygiene products and support to the local economy

This programme is the continuation of the project implemented by TGH in the region since early 2016. It aims to improve the living conditions of the households made vulnerable by the crisis, supplementing food aid by the supply of hygiene products.

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 Area of expertise


 Key figures

 Beneficiaries: 13 525 people
 Duration: 9 months 09/2016 – 05/2017
 Budget: $424 820,27


  • Funding: UNICEF
  • Partner: Country of Free People
  • Direct Beneficiaries: 13 525 people
Meeting with the beneficiaries

Meeting with the beneficiaries
Photo : Ivan Deret / TGH ©

The population living along the front line, stuck in the buffer zone between the areas controlled by the government and by the rebels, is particularly vulnerable and impoverished by the deteriorating economic situation in Ukraine. The various assessments conducted by TGH identified multiple needs that affected households are not able to meet.

The latest assessment, conducted in June 2016, shows that most of the humanitarian activities carried out in the region are related to food aid (69.9%), leaving few resources for the other basic needs to cover, such as health or hygiene. Yet, in a previous survey, hygiene products were nominated by 70% of the households as one of the top 3 priority needs.

Therefore, TGH chose to carry out a new project in the region, supplementing the current action aiming to improve the food security and livelihoods of populations made vulnerable. It will consist in the provision of hygiene products according to the same model as for food aid, that is to say through vouchers giving access to various items in partner grocery stores.

Introduction of the software to a shop keeper in Kamyshekha

Introduction of the software to a shop keeper in Kamyshekha
Photo : Ivan Deret / TGH ©

Beneficiaries exchanging vouchers

Beneficiaries exchanging vouchers
Photo : Ivan Deret / TGH ©

This method provides families with emergency assistance while supporting the local economy, as it results in the injection of cash in local shops in the area. It also helps restore the autonomy of the beneficiaries, letting them choose the products they need, although the value of the vouchers are developed based on the content of UNICEF’s hygiene kits. TGH works locally in partnership with the Ukrainian Association Країна вільних людей, "Country of Free People", deeply involved in the region.

Improving the food security and livelihoods of populations made vulnerable by the conflict in Donbass

The action aims to alleviate the difficulties faced by people living in rural communities along the front line separating areas under government control from those under separatist control.

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 Area of expertise


 Key figures

 Beneficiaries: 9,800 people
 Duration: 10 months 03/2016 – 12/2016
 Budget: K€200 + donations in kind


Logo MAE
  • Funding: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Crisis Center)
  • Partner: Країна вільних людей, or Country of Free People (CFP) Країна вільних людей, ou Country of Free People (CFP)
  • Direct Beneficiaries: 9,800 people

The different assessments carried out by TGH highlighted the difficulties faced by the targeted people to meet their multiple needs, especially food needs. Based on these assessments, documented by the measurement of key standard indicators of food and economic security, TGH implemented its first action in Ukraine, with the aim of improving the living conditions of the people of the Donetsk Oblast who live in rural areas located near the front line.

This action will provide food assistance to the most vulnerable residents of rural areas located near the front line, especially those who do not receive any support, although they are eligible under the criteria defined by the actors in the sector.

Parcelles maraîchères au pied d'immeubles endommagés-Uglegorsk

Garden plots at the foot of damaged buildings
Photo : Ivan Deret / TGH ©

Enquête auprès d'un commerce rural

Survey of a rural business
Photo : Ivan Deret / TGH ©

In kind food aid has been the most commonly used modality since the beginning of the humanitarian response in the target area, but it does have its limitations. It is expensive, as it requires significant logistical organization in terms of volumes involved, and it does not allow the recipient to choose the goods consumed. Besides, it does not stimulate the local economy as no cash is injected. The selected option is thus to set up cash transfers, a flexible modality offering a wider range of choices to the beneficiaries, as it allows them to have access to various consumer goods or services.

The market survey conducted in January 2016 confirms that the provision of food stamps is a possible and relevant option that will help achieve the objective of improving the food situation of the most vulnerable populations, while boosting local economy. The food expenses covered by these stamps will leave the beneficiaries with more spare cash, and the latter will be able to use the part of their income usually spent on food to purchase other items, thus addressing other needs expressed, which will also be covered by cash coupons, exchangeable against cash by identified operators.

Vegetable kits will be provided in addition to the cash transfers. Supporting market gardening, a common practice, is indeed very relevant because - besides the obvious impact on food availability - it will help complement household incomes.

The action will be conducted in close partnership with the Ukrainian organization Країна вільних людей "Country of Free People", which is very active in assisting people affected by the ongoing conflict, and with which TGH conducted its latest need assessments.

Last updated November 18, 2017