Youth in Scouting have been volunteering for months to ensure that Ukrainian families have access to basic necessities such as food, water, shelter, clothes and protection after fleeing the war. To continue providing critical care and support to Ukrainian children and families, UNICEF and the Scout Movement launched a regional partnership in April, enabling both organisations to scale-up their responses to make sure that support reaches those who are in need.
More than 7.8 million people have fled the escalating violence in Ukraine to find safety and refuge in neighbouring countries, while over 6.5 million have been displaced from their homes within Ukraine.
During the first six months of the project, together with UNICEF, over 10,500 Scouts have been supporting Ukrainian children and families in Poland, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Slovakia, The Czech Republic, Latvia and Lithuania, while also carrying out activities in Ukraine to address the needs of internally displaced families and children.
The mid-year report provides an overview of how Scout volunteers and UNICEF have reached over 800,000 Ukrainians in the first six months, of which 270,000 are children and adolescents. It takes a closer look at each neighbouring country’s youth-led humanitarian response activities. The activities led by Scouts since April include the provision of accommodation, translation, the distribution of essential items, establishing day care centres, and psychological first aid. More information and stories about this work can be found in the Scouts' Diary.
Scout volunteers have been working closely with refugee children and adolescents at refugee and transit centres, by offering educational and skills-building activities that are part of Scouting’s educational approach. National Scout Organizations in the nine countries have also integrated refugee children into local Scout groups. In Poland, Scouts have been supporting UNICEF teams at multiple Blue Dots, to give critical and practical information to refugee families.
“Despite the difficulties and circumstances on the ground, we are incredibly proud of the work of our member organisations in recent months, providing much-needed support to those affected by the war in Ukraine. Through the significant partnership with UNICEF, we have been able to scale up our activities and we are working to ensure that no child or young person is left behind,” said Abir Koubaa, Regional Director for the European Scout Region of the Scout Movement.
Scout volunteers are continuing to protect and engage Ukrainian children and youth in youth-friendly programmes by integrating them into local Scout groups in host countries, Scout summer camps and Scouting activities to provide a sense of normality.
Scouts organised 500 summer camps and summer activities this year, which engaged over 8,000 Ukrainian children and adolescents to continue their learning process through non-formal education approaches while easing their integration into their new communities.
“The collaboration between UNICEF and the Scout Movement is living proof of how effective it is to engage with young people in responding to humanitarian crises. As many times in the past, young people were amongst the first to not only respond to the Ukrainian refugee crisis but also to help build solidarity and support between refugees and host communities,” said Philippe Cori, Deputy Regional Director of UNICEF Europe and Central Asia.
Through their partnership, UNICEF and the Scout Movement are addressing the short-term needs of Ukrainian refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) while also focusing on long-term objectives, such as equipping Scouts with the competencies to act as peer-support volunteers for refugee children and adolescents anywhere.
This work builds on the incredible outpouring of support earlier this year from 2,492 individual supporters from Scout groups, Baden-Powell Fellows and National Scout Organisations worldwide, who raised USD 713,689 via the Scout Donation Platform for local response and relief efforts in Ukraine and neighbouring countries.
Moving forward, Scouts will continue to actively engage Ukrainian children and young people in Scouting’s educational activities and camps while also ensuring that Ukrainian families affected by the crisis are prepared for the upcoming winter, through the support of UNICEF.