An HI staff member delivers a box of humanitarian supplies to an elderly woman

Meeting basic needs during wartime

Humanity & Inclusion ensures that people with the most acute needs receive essential goods during the war. Teams have delivered more than 3,700 hygiene kits across Ukraine.

The war in Ukraine has had a devastating impact on its residents. More than 8 million people are currently displaced within Ukraine, forced to leave their homes and belongings behind. At least 5 million people have lost their source of income.

Across Ukraine, approximately 16 million people need water, sanitation and hygiene assistance. Damage to infrastructure by shelling and missiles has disrupted access to clean drinking water, available food, gas, and access to vital medical supplies. Shops and pharmacies remain closed in many parts of the country, and people have been left unable to afford the goods available without their usual jobs. People near the frontlines are also facing constant disruptions to energy supply, limited regular maintenance and inability to access basic necessities.

The situation is particularly difficult for people with large families to provide for, people with disabilities or limited mobility, and older individuals – particularly those living alone. Internally displaced people residing in collective centers are among those with the most acute humanitarian and protection needs, including food, shelter, health, water and hygiene assistance.

Distributing supply kits

HI is distributing essential humanitarian goods such as hygiene kits—consisting of washing powder, soap, shampoo, dishwashing liquid, toothpaste, menstrual pads, toilet paper, towels, detergent, cleaning sprays, wet wipes, trash bags, baby diapers, adult diapers, cream, bed pads and more—and basic household items like bedding, mattresses, blankets and kitchen sets.

“Some people cry when they receive the kits,” says Oleksiy Tovkis, HI’s basic needs officer. “They can’t believe that they were delivered straight to their door and there’s no need to pay. They are overwhelmed that someone remembers and cares about them.”


Each kit meets the needs of an average household of three people for one to three months, depending on the identified level of need. Baby hygiene kits are provided to identified households with children who are 2 or younger. For families larger than three people, an additional kit is provided. Tailored materials to meet the needs of the aging individuals or people with disabilities are added to the family hygiene kits, when needed.

The distributions prioritize large families, people with disabilities and internally displaced people in both eastern and western Ukraine. HI distributes items door-to-door, to collective centers where people are living temporarily, and in designated distribution points.

“HI chose the door-to-door delivery approach, which is the most complicated delivery method, but it’s the most precise way to guarantee delivery of our kits to those who need them,” Tovkis explains. “When humanitarian assistance kits are distributed in centers, they are first received by people who are able to go there and wait in a line, which can exclude some people.”

So far, HI has delivered over 3,700 kits, reaching more than 7,100 individuals.

“Our distributions are always fast, well organized, and not too crowded,” says Simon McGovern, HI’s basic needs project manager.

Supplies for Nina

Nina Ivanivna Shvaydak, who lives in a village in Vinnytsia, shares her experience:

“I am 70 years old and I have worked in trade all my life. My husband and I raised three children.

“I learned about the war on Feb. 24 from my nephew, who works in television. He was the first to call me and tell me that the war had started. We are very worried about everyone, for the lives of our children and grandchildren. We pray that everyone will be healthy and the war will end.

“My husband, Vasyl, is 76 years old, and he is a person with a disability. He was once a sailor and went on long voyages. He traveled around the world several times and visited almost every country. I often came with my children to visit my husband in different countries of the Soviet Union. The work was very difficult and it affected his health. He underwent many operations. The first one caused complications, so now we are on a pension. Vasyl is part of a disability group. 

“We were told by phone that humanitarian aid would arrive. HI’s staff brought humanitarian aid—as many as three boxes. All things are necessary. These were hygiene kits with toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, sanitary napkins, towels, powder, gel for washing dishes and other items. I am very grateful for that. This is the first of such humanitarian aid for our family. Thank you so much.”