The Ukrainian diaspora has been playing an active role in the humanitarian response in Ukraine since 2014. However, since the Russian Federation declared war on Ukraine in February 2022, many more Ukrainians have been forced to leave their homeland. The Ukrainian diaspora, now estimated to be between 12-20 million people worldwide, is a powerful, unified collective determined to support their fellow Ukrainians affected by the conflict.
Our Work with Ukrainian Diaspora
Currently, as many as 8 million Ukrainians are registered as refugees in Europe alone (UNHCR, 2023). Notably, the largest Ukrainian community residing outside of Ukraine is situated in Russia, followed by Canada and the United States of America. These Ukrainian communities, whether established through formal or informal diaspora networks, play a vital role in providing support to their fellow Ukrainians residing both within their home country and abroad.
Knowledge of local circumstances and the dynamics of their engagement is crucial in our work with the Ukrainian diaspora. Why? The diaspora is a diverse group with varying motivations, positions, and affiliations, and their engagement towards Ukraine is primarily based on personal connections. Therefore, we avoid using a one-size-fits-all approach in our programming and instead tailor our approach to the social, cultural, and local contexts of the diaspora communities with whom we work.
Since 2015, we have aimed to support and strengthen the Ukrainian diaspora's capacities in three areas: protection, humanitarian response, and advocacy. In just the last three years, we have provided technical or financial support to over 95 Ukrainian diaspora networks. These organizations primarily work in fields such as healthcare, education, and social welfare, with some dedicated to promoting the rights of women, children, and minority groups. Yet despite the notable strides made by Ukrainian civil society, diaspora groups continue to face challenges in securing resources, funding, and trust from institutional humanitarian actors.
The DRC Diaspora Programme is dedicated to strengthening Ukrainian diaspora organizations by supporting them with the necessary tools to overcome the challenges they face. We focus on enhancing their capacity in critical areas such as fundraising, humanitarian response, and operational support through the dedicated efforts of our Diaspora Liaison Officer in Ukraine and Emergency Officer in Denmark. Our program also facilitates coordination among diaspora groups by organizing workshops and networking events. With these activities, we hope to support Ukrainian diaspora organizations to build stronger, more resilient communities and contribute to positive change both locally and globally.