Spilno - integrated humanitarian support programme for families with children
In response to the war, UNICEF launched a large-scale Spilno Programme across Ukraine as an integrated humanitarian support programme for families with children
UNICEF works with Government, local authorities, non-governmental organizations, volunteers, and the private sector to develop and run Spilno Programme activities – Spilno means “together” in Ukrainian – providing social services and protection to children and their families.
Since the war in Ukraine escalated on 24 February 2022, the lives of millions of children in Ukraine have been affected. Nearly 5.4 million people, including over 1.4 million children, have been displaced in search of safety across the country. Fighting has decimated services for children and caregivers, significantly limiting the capabilities and capacities of educators and social workers, meaning protection mechanisms could no longer support vulnerable children and families.
To support children and their caregivers during the war, UNICEF with partners created child-friendly spaces – Spilno Child Spots – in 20 oblasts across the country, creating nurturing environments where children could escape the stressors and anxiety of war. Using play activities, Spilno spots provide a sense of normalcy for children to escape the anxieties of war. Uniting its efforts with national and local authorities, civil society partners, volunteers, and private sector partners, through Spilno spots, UNICEF provides multi-sectoral assistance.
Spilno Child Spots are designed and operated in a participatory manner, often using existing spaces in the community, and may serve a specific age group of children, or various age ranges, providing:
- Learning and child development activities, as well as sessions for parents on child development and learning.
- Individual educational kits.
- Counselling for children and adults, including referrals to further psychosocial support.
- Medical consultations for children and caregivers.
- Counselling on access to social services.
These child-friendly spots are set up across the country in dedicated tents or arranged spaces in the cities, for example at train or metro stations, and at shelters for displaced people. Child-specific services have also been provided in social centres, border crossing points, and bomb shelters. In addition, mobile teams visit affected communities to reach out to every child and their caregivers.
From March 2022 to March 2023, more than 150 Spilno Spots across the country welcomed over 775,000 visitors, of whom 480,000 were children. Spilno Child Spots have been providing support and services to Ukrainians, including for people staying in newly accessible areas.
In March 2022, UNICEF and the Ministry of Social Policy launched the humanitarian multi-purpose cash assistance programme to support families with children to cover their immediate needs. The Spilno Programme prioritizes the distribution of cash to families across Ukraine with three or more children and those raising at least one child with a disability. UNICEF works closely with the government and humanitarian actors to complement existing state programmes.
In 2022, UNICEF provided cash to nearly 225,000 households, covering 660,000 children. Among those who received assistance are over 52,000 children with disabilities. The families reported using the received cash to buy food, clothes and medicines, pay rent and utility bills. In the long term, cash transfers contribute to households’ resilience, strengthening their ability to better cope with shocks of the war, and help them recover sooner.
In April 2022, UNICEF opened a Spilno hotline, where specialists provided information to families with children who sought humanitarian assistance and connecting them with relevant services. During 2022, more than 280,000 people received consultation through the hotline, with over 1 million calls processed.
In newly accessible areas, and where the security situation allows, UNICEF works on rehabilitating schools and renovating school basements into air raid shelters. Shelter supplies and winterization support were provided to 1,000 schools across Ukraine to allow children to study when the air raid sirens occur. By September 2023, when the new education year will start, UNICEF plans to have rehabilitated and equipped more than 84 schools and kindergartens, and additional 80 kindergartens are planned to be rehabilitated by mid 2024.
UNICEF is working with the Education Ministry and partners to enable learning continuity for every child, especially displaced and returning children: getting back to learning in classrooms when it is deemed safe, and through online or community-based alternatives if in-person teaching and learning are not possible.
For children getting back to in-person education, UNICEF developed and provided:
- Safety guidelines.
- Activities for children that can be conducted in shelters.
- Explosive ordnance education materials.
- Information materials on health, including psychosocial support and healthy eating.
For those studying online due to security concerns, UNICEF developed and provided in 2022:
- Resources for online learning.
- More than 5,000 laptops for teachers from the affected regions (distributed during the summer of 2022).
- Webinars and online tools for psychosocial support for teachers, children and parents.
From September to December 2022, UNICEF helped educators whose schools were damaged or who had to flee in search of safety and now teach online, as well as those who stayed on the ground and will continue to work despite the new challenges created by the war.
Nearly 100,000 teachers participated in various activities aimed at building their capacity to provide quality education for children, including:
- Online courses on psychological support for teachers, and on training and interaction with children during the war.
- Webinars with psychologists on ways of self-support and approaches to support children in learning during the war.
Since 24 February 2022, UNICEF has provided support to over 1.45 million children to access formal and non-formal education, including early learning. Also, more than 770,000 children across Ukraine benefitted from distributed supplies.
UNICEF has partnered with the Social Policy Ministry to support and enable social workers across the country who help children and families cope with the war and receive social services.
- Expanding the e-system of case management to simplify documentation, streamline specialists’ work, and introduce digital social services.
- 1,000 laptops and 5,000 tablets for social workers and children’s services specialists.
- Support to prevent social workers’ burnout.
To maintain the provision of healthcare and essential vaccines to children and their caregivers, UNICEF focuses on delivering critical medical supplies and equipment, and supports the establishment of medical stocks.
In 2022, UNICEF supported more than 1,000 healthcare facilities, including 312 maternity houses (perinatal centres) in 24 regions of Ukraine, with:
- Almost 30,000 medical kits and more than 2,200 items of medical equipment.
- 420 warmer systems for newborns and 78 generators under the winter preparedness plan.
- 15 ambulances to eight oblasts in Ukraine.
In addition, some 15,000 parents of newborns, who are staying in the most affected locations, received newborn kits. Furthermore, UNICEF builds the capacity of national partners and international implementing agencies in infant and young child feeding in emergencies.
As a result, since 24 February, almost 5 million children and women in Ukraine have been able to access essential life-saving primary health care through UNICEF-supported facilities and mobile teams. Moreover, over 610,000 children and caregivers received mental health and psychosocial support at Spilno Child Spots and from Spilno mobile teams. Over 500,000 caregivers of children aged 0 to 23 months have received infant and young child feeding counselling.