EU and IOM Continue Supporting Community Resilience Through the Reintegration of Veterans Across Ukraine

Through a newly initiated second phase of veterans reintegration programming, IOM Ukraine together with the EU’s Instrument Contributing to Stability and Peace will continue responding to the needs of Ukrainian communities through targeted protection assistance and social cohesion initiatives.

The upcoming project, developed in close partnership with the Ministry for Veterans Affairs of Ukraine, will facilitate community-based efforts toward sustainable reintegration of veterans, supporting their successful transition to civilian life through assistance to veterans, family members, and their communities. This project will run until May 2022 and builds upon the successful results of a previous EU-funded pilot initiative implemented by IOM between December 2018 and August 2020. This phase of the project will expand activities countrywide.

“The EU is pleased to continue its support for the reintegration of veterans in Ukraine. This project will help veterans to have access to the full range of services they need in order to be able to lead a fulfilling civilian life”, said Frederik Coene, Head of Cooperation at the European Union Delegation to Ukraine.

Project activities will be informed by a nation-wide survey on the sociodemographic and socioeconomic characteristics of veterans and their families, and the challenges veterans face in readjusting to civilian life. In line with the survey, the project will provide tailored economic recovery assistance, qualified mental health and psychosocial support as well as social cohesion opportunities and capacity development for key service providers. Specific activities will include workshops and support in transitioning to civil livelihoods and business development; training and networking for local support groups; community cohesion events; support to veterans’ hubs; capacity building for local mental health and psychosocial support services as well as provision of counselling.

“IOM is committed to supporting the Government of Ukraine’s priorities of peace, dialogue, and assistance to conflict-affected populations,” said Anh Nguyen, IOM Ukraine Chief of Mission. “We are guided by a whole-of-society approach and aim to engage and further capacitate private sector, civil society and government at both central and local levels to help make veterans’ reintegration mechanisms in Ukraine self-reliant,” he added.

Anh Nguyen met with the Minister of Veterans Affairs, Yuliia Laputina, and the Deputy Minister, Oleksii Illiashenko, on 1 March to discuss the ongoing partnership between IOM and the Ministry and sign an amended Memorandum on Cooperation.

According to the Ministry for Veterans Affairs of Ukraine, there are over 378,000 veterans of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. IOM found that more than one-third of the veterans interviewed as part of the household survey conducted in 2019, felt excluded from society and (49%) indicated that they had faced bias or unfair treatment (discrimination) directed at veterans in different spheres.

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