Creating Dignified Living Space for Displaced Persons: IOM Trained Practitioners Across Ukraine on Effective Site Management
As the war in Ukraine passed the seven-month mark and a new wave of displacement is expected from the eastern and southern areas, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) took a lead in enhancing the knowledge and skills of specialists who work directly with internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in collective sites.
IOM has launched its Capacity Building Programme on Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) with the kick-off of two-day training to strengthen the management of collective centres and support the local authorities. A hundred and twenty-five participants, representing governmental and civil society partners, site managers, and humanitarian actors, joined training in five regions, including Zakarpattia, Vinnytsia, Dnipro, Poltava and Ivano-Frankivsk. Through this initiative, funded by the USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) and supported by the CCCM Cluster, IOM provided an opportunity not only to learn about minimum standards for the management of collective sites, protection mechanisms and the importance of IDPs involvement in the decision-making process, but also to identify the challenges and unaddressed needs, and work with stakeholders towards a collective solution.
“Nobody has ever taught us how to manage a collective site for displaced persons. It was important to get to know the international frameworks and standards in this area, which we can implement here to improve people’s lives. The most important takeaway for me is the importance of imagining myself in the shoes of a displaced person to better understand their needs and the barriers that they face”, said Mykhailo Sichka, coordinator at the civil organization “Prosvita”, one of the IOM’s implementing partners in Ivano-Frankivsk Region.
This region in western Ukraine currently hosts 146,000 displaced persons. Since the first days of the Russian invasion, IOM established a regional hub in Ivano-Frankivsk to support people who were fleeing from the war. The deputy head of the Ivano-Frankivsk Military Administration Luidmyla Sirko admitted that the authorities were not ready when the first evacuation trains arrived in the region, and the support from the international organizations, including IOM, was crucial at that time. “When the full-scale war started, we all had to learn how to accommodate people, identify and address their most urgent needs, how to improve living conditions and work with international partners. IOM supports us through many activities by providing hygiene kits, home appliances, conducting repairs at the sites which will allow us to create additional places for IDPs”, she said.
Seven core modules of the training covered site management, community participation, protection mainstreaming, coordination, and information management, and included real-life scenarios and case studies.
“Managing IDP site requires much needed and meaningful engagement with the IDPs hosted in collective centres as well as planning and coordinating provision of services and partners. As the need to manage collective centres in Ukraine is emerging due to the ongoing war, IOM’s main goal by delivering this training is to strengthen the capacity of the site managers and national authorities and to establish a network of site management practitioners in every region, linking their experiences and challenges”, noted Veronica Costarelli, CCCM Programme Manager at IOM Ukraine.
According to the survey conducted by REACH and Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster in 1,534 collective sites across Ukraine, schools, kindergartens and dormitories account for 84 per cent of these facilities. As of the end of July, over 58,000 displaced Ukrainians were staying in the surveyed institutions. People residing in communal settings are often the most vulnerable, as they lack funds to rent a more comfortable accommodation.
Their needs are also changing over time: if setting up sleeping places was the priority in the first days of the war, now collective centres lack proper heating and WASH systems which become especially important with the onset of the cold weather, and residents require improved access to showers, washing machines and other home appliances. IOM continues to address these needs and also works towards finding more durable solutions for the accommodation of displaced Ukrainians.