Ukraine war exacerbates vulnerability of girls and women
How we're working with partners to prioritise the specific challenges facing girls, young women, and youth in all their diversity.
Ukraine Crisis – one year on.
24 February 2023 marks one year since the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine.
One year on, girls, boys and their families are still facing a humanitarian crisis each day.
An estimated 17.7 million people, most of whom are girls and women, are in need of humanitarian assistance – that’s more than 40% of the population.
We are supporting thousands of families during the harsh winter by providing food, blankets, warm winter clothing, heating appliances, and safe spaces for girls and boys to continue learning. While we don’t know how long the conflict will last, we know it has devastated the lives of countless children and families.
Plan International and our partners will continue to be there – through conflict and as they rebuild and recover.
We will focus on several priority areas in which Plan International can add value and offer expertise:
Plan International aims to continue the efforts in strengthening child protection systems and to reinforce leadership and representation expertise of its partners to ensure girls and boys and youth affected by the crisis, including those from host communities, are protected from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation and their families have support to prevent negative coping mechanisms.
This includes activities such as the provision of mobile child protection teams, with trained psychologists and social workers, the identification and registration of unaccompanied and separated minors and other vulnerable children, and the provision of cash and voucher or food assistance to support families to meet their basic needs.
This also includes training to public workers, such as border staff, teachers and other frontline workers, as well as all Plan International staff, partner staff on safeguarding and prevention of sexual harassment, exploitation, and abuse to ensure this is imbedded throughout the response.
Girls, boys and youth, their families and frontline workers all have access to psychosocial support, such as psychological first aid, art therapy, group or individual counselling as well as referrals to more specialised services to boost their resilience and coping strategies.
Ensuring girls, boys and youth affected by the crisis have access to safe, inclusive and quality education through the provision of tablets and computers for online learning, support with registration and learning materials for in person learning, as well as repairs and refurbishment to damaged schools to ensure they provide the right, protective environment for learning.
It is well recognised that crises affect people differently, exacerbating pre-existing vulnerabilities, including those related to an individual’s age, gender, sexuality, ability, background and social status. As a girls’ rights organisation, Plan International and our partners will put girls at the heart of our work in the region.
We aim to increasing women and girls’ participation in decision-making, and support our partners in their own gender-transformative work to tackle discriminatory behaviour and harmful social norms.
We recognise the importance of listening to affected communities and encourage their input into the humanitarian response. We have a duty to amplify the voices of marginalised groups eg. children, adolescents, women, people with disabilities, older people, and the LGBTQIA+ community.
Our response will be guided by two-way communication with both refugee and host communities.
We work alongside Ukraine’s civil society organisations focusing on internally displaced persons, those returning to the country and communities in the newly accessible areas of Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, and Kherson Oblasts.
Plan International has been working in Romania since February 2022 to support the government and partner organisations in responding to the arrival of refugees from Ukraine.
Plan International started operating in Moldova in March 2022 to support the Government, the UN and humanitarian partners in responding to the arrival of refugees from Ukraine.
Plan International began operating in Poland in 2022 to respond to the unprecedented scale of refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine and the associated needs of children and their families.
Key contacts: Sven Coppens, Director of Plan International’s Ukraine Crisis Response