For Ukrainian Deminers Association (UDA) 2023 became the most productive since foundation of the organization. We gained even more partners, completed or started 18 projects, which is twice as many as the previous year, and also reached a record number of beneficiaries. Last year was very active both from the point of view of project activities and the participation of our organization in various specialized events in Ukraine and abroad.
During the past year, representatives of the NGO UDA participated in more than 20 events of various levels and status, including:
- Ukraine Recovery Conference URC-2023 and other events, that took place within the URC-2023. London – June.
- International Donor’s Conference on Humanitarian Demining in Ukraine. Zagreb – October.
- SECURITY 2.0 exhibition, where UDA was one of the organizers. Kyiv – October.
- Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) General Assembly, Oslo – August.
- Meeting of the Coordination Center on Civilian Support under the Dnipro Regional State Administration. Dnipro – December.
- Forum “Safety of critical infrastructure and humanitarian mine action”, Kyiv – May.
- Exchange of experience workshop “Mine Victim Assistance. Lessons learned”. Kyiv – July.
And many others, as well as dozens of interviews, work trips, including to the East and South of Ukraine, meetings with partners and donors, trainings for trainers and trainings for partners. The organization is constantly developing, increasing its capabilities, expanding its spheres of activity and providing the professional growth of its own personnel and instructors for even more effective work.
In order to achieve the goals of the organization and common interests for the benefit of Ukraine, during 2023 the UDA closely cooperated with the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, the State Border Service of Ukraine, the State Special Transport Service and the State Emergency Service of Ukraine.
RESULTS OF PROJECT WORK
Project work is the main activity of the organization, due to which we can fulfill the tasks set before us. All of our project activities over the past year can be divided into four main areas: Explosive ordnance risk education (EORE), Conflict Preparedness and Protection (CPP), Mine Victim Assistance (MVA) and Non-Technical Survey (NTS) of territory.
1. Explosive ordnance risk education
Explosive ordnance risk education (EORE) is the largest and most comprehensive field of activity. 16 of last year’s 18 projects included an EORE component, which consists of many different aspects of the work, including:
- special training of EORE trainers.
Over the past year, more than 10 ToT trainings aimed at improving the qualifications of our trainers were held. In addition to specialized knowledge, the instructors of the UDA gained important skills regarding the inclusion of all children, without exception, in training on the prevention of risks from mines and UXO. As a result, the trainees gained knowledge of the basics of psychosocial support and psychological first aid for children in conditions of armed conflict.
- conducting field EORE sessions with the population of Ukraine.
During 2023, our certified instructors managed to conduct over 3,000 EORE sessions in almost all regions of Ukraine, of which 107 were conducted online. Despite constant shelling and air raids in the Eastern, Southern and Central regions, EORE instructors continued to conduct a series of training sessions for children, parents and teachers in specially equipped shelters.
Last year, the organization paid a lot of attention to work with children, including children with disabilities and special educational needs. You can read more about this in our article.
Instructors reached more than 93,000 beneficiaries of various age groups with live sessions. Due to the increased need for such sessions, we created a special online form. By filling it out, everyone can apply for an EORE session. Sessions can be held in any region of Ukraine, except temporarily occupied ones, if the minimum conditions are met. Terms and conditions can be found here.
- online education and informing the population.
Last year, more than 31,000 people were registered on the UDA Training platforms, of which more than 16,300 successfully completed courses and received certificates. The share of children among persons who received certificates is about 72%.
Thus, during 2023, the UDA team informed about 110,000 people about the rules of safe behavior when dealing with potentially explosive ordnance, both offline and online.
- development, preparation and printing of handouts.
In particular, information brochures, posters, notebooks, including for children with the rules of safe behavior. And also two special board games for children were created: “EORE” is designed for children over 6 years old and the game “Actions during shelling” is for teenagers over 12 years old.
- creation of murals in different cities of Ukraine.
During the past year, 3 wonderful murals decorated buildings in different parts of Ukraine. An important component of this project is the QR code placed on all the murals – which leads to the informative EORE page, on which you can get condensed knowledge on safe behavior in relation to mines and other explosive ordnance. This year, we plan to continue working with artists and create several more murals.
2. Conflict preparedness and protection
Conflict preparedness and protection (СРР) – another area of informational and educational activity of the UDA. Like the EORE, it includes: special training of trainers, with appropriate certification; conducting live CPP sessions; online training on conflict preparedness and protection; preparation of posters and handouts with rules of safe behavior.
All informational materials in this area are designed to help teachers, CEOs of enterprises, institutions and departments convey to students and employees reliable information about actions during an air raid, sudden attacks, as well as about the risks associated with mines and UXO. It includes the basics of first aid for victims, rules of safe behavior and practical recommendations for proper behavior near a war zone.
CPP sessions were held separately or were combined with EORE sessions, depending on the needs of a particular region, community or settlement. During 2023, mobile EORE/CPP teams reached around 20,000 people. The specified activity took place within the projects sponsored by donors: Norwegian People’s Aid, International Rescue Committee and Canada-Ukraine Foundation. It is important to note that our partnership with international donors makes all activities and assistance of the NGO UDA completely free for the population of Ukraine.
3. Mine Victim Assistance
Throughout 2023, UDA successfully provided financial mine victim assistance (MVA). This activity of the Association was carried out within the framework of many projects, with the support and in partnership with international organizations: International Rescue Committee, Ukraine Humanitarian Fund, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs / OCHA Ukraine, ALPS Resilience, Canada-Ukraine Foundation, Norwegian People’s Aid.
About 600 people received financial aid with the help of our organization. The amount of assistance was from $250 to $500 in hryvnia equivalent per person, depending on the project.
In order to facilitate the process of applying for help from all corners of Ukraine, a special form for submitting applications was created on our website. In addition, the geography of aid provision has expanded from individual regions to all of Ukraine, except temporarily occupied territories. Given the large number of applications, we plan to continue providing such assistance in 2024.
4. Non-technical survey of territories
Non-technical survey of territories (NTS) - is the first phase of humanitarian demining. It helps with collection and analysis of data on the presence, type, distribution of mines and UXOs, and it is the fastest way to return territories to their intended use. This is a systematic set of measures that culminates in an NTS report, which is submited in IMSMA and undergoes verification.
NTS became a new type of activity for us in 2023, as the NGO UDA received its own certificate of compliance with the NTS of the territory. In August, we deployed the first NTS group in Kyiv region. Later, we deployed two more groups, which continued to perform tasks in the Chernihiv and Mykolaiv regions.
NTS is a part of the implementation of humanitarian projects financed by donors: the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs / OCHA Ukraine, Ukraine Humanitarian Fund, Mine advisory group Ukraine, Danish Support Group Ukraine and Canada-Ukraine Foundation.
Until August, UDA was also involved in the humanitarian demining of territories, with the help of one of our implementing partners – the national mine action operator Demining Solutions, funded by the donor Tetra Tech Humanitarian Mine Action – Ukraine.
The importance of NTS is difficult to overestimate. Firstly, these are the first steps towards cleaning our lands from explosive ordnance, and secondly, this is one of the methods of excluding lands from the category of dangerous. On the scale of potentially dangerous territories of Ukraine that exist today (according to our data, it is more than 139,000 km2) – NTS is one of the most rational solutions. During the year, UDA managed to survey about 1,737 km2, which were reported and submited to IMSMA.
Ukrainian Deminers Association “Walk of Fame”
Our “Walk of Fame” in 2023 was also replenished with new achievements and awards from our partners.
In particular: a cup from the Department of Youth and Sports of the Executive Body of the Kyiv City Council, a Statuette from the Department of Youth and Sports of the City of Kyiv, Gratitude from the Narodytsk Settlement Military Administration, Gratitude from the Brody City Council, Gratitude from the Kyiv Professional Energy College, a Diploma of a participant in the SECURITY 2.0 international exhibition.
We are proud of our joint work and all the results with all partners and hope for even more productive cooperation in 2024!