American Andrew Loftesnes came to Ukraine to volunteer and learned about the most effective way to help Ukraine for those on the other side of the Atlantic. He claims that local Ukrainian organizations are much more effective than large international NGOs “encumbered by bureaucracy.”
In April of last year I crossed into Ukraine to serve as a humanitarian volunteer. After three months in that country, I reached the conclusion that the best way to help the Ukrainian people is enabling and expanding the localized humanitarian response through direct financial assistance. Small financial donations are far more likely to achieve maximum effectiveness in the hands of local Ukrainian organizations than large international NGOs encumbered by bureaucracy. Make no mistake, the need for help is dire.
The Ukrainians are in for a long winter. This is a brutal fact. Russia’s genocidal campaign against them is methodically targeting power grid infrastructure, in order to weaponize winter against the civilian population. Undaunted, the Ukrainian people are actively responding through grassroots volunteer groups, and have been doing so tirelessly since the first days of the war. These local groups do not lack commitment, skill, or organization; but they do need resources.