Charities and funders everywhere are asking how they can help people impacted by the war in Ukraine. NCVO have produced a useful guide on who you can give to. We wanted to learn more about what these organisations are doing and how charities and funders can work with them.
In this guest blog, Kirsty McNeill, Executive Director of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns at Save the Children UK, shares how you can help through your work, your money, and your voice.
War is measured not just in troops and tanks but the tears of terrified children.
Lyse Doucet, Chief International Correspondent, BBC
The BBC’s Lyse Doucet spoke for many of us earlier this week.
All over the world – from Syria to Yemen to Nigeria to Afghanistan – we see children caught up in conflicts not of their making. Responding to the needs of the hungry, injured, traumatised or exploited children that are war’s hallmark is a skill I desperately wish Save the Children had never had to develop but now, more than a century after our founding, here we are, back at our beginnings, helping refugee children in Europe.
Fast and flexible help
Save the Children has been working inside Ukraine since 2014. While our programming is suspended due to the conflict, some of our partners are still operating where they can. Meanwhile our teams are also responding across Lithuania and Romania and scaling up with our partners in Poland.
We are providing cash, blankets, toys, mental health support, food and water, hygiene kits and winter clothing and working with our allies across the Disasters Emergency Committee. We have been inundated by offers of support, every single one of them appreciated. It’s important to remember that the single most effective and efficient way to donate is to give money (rather than goods) to an established humanitarian organisation. Fast and flexible resources are at a premium in an emergency—please mobilise your foundations, companies and networks so that we can shift staff and supplies where they are needed most.
Helping children understand
We know too that children far from Ukraine are terrified by what they are seeing on television—they can imagine what it must be like to be safe in school one week and then sitting on the floor of a gym in a different country wondering where your father is the next. We have prepared this resource to help you navigate conversations about war with children and of course we continue to work with families having a tough time here in the UK who are facing spiralling bills.
Helping all refugees
Over on the advocacy side we are standing with our allies in the refugee rights sector in pushing for changes to the #AntiRefugeeBill—you can read more detail in this letter to the Times. Please sign this petition launched by Freedom From Torture or this petition from Save the Children if you’d like to stay up to date.
Following the money
We are already in touch with our pensions providers and investment managers to check our money isn’t fuelling the crisis—if you would like to do the same here are some tips from our friends at Make My Money Matter.
We are more powerful than we know
It is easy to feel despairing in the face of challenges this overwhelming, but we are much more powerful than we know. I’ve been collating this little list of wider campaigning wins so far in 2022 and we should never forget how much public revulsion has been setting the bar and the pace for the global response to the Ukraine crisis. Please consider doing everything that’s featured in this blog but more importantly think about how, in an ongoing way, you can use your money, your voice, your memberships and networks to help dry the tears of terrified children. Whatever tools you have, it’s time to put them to work.
Kirsty McNeill is Executive Director of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns at Save the Children UK.
Views are the author’s own.