The battle to deliver aid into a war zone

March 30, 2022
Annalise Schamuhn
4 min
Poverty & injustice
The battle to deliver aid into a war zone
The battle to deliver aid into a war zone

Annalise Schamuhn

Certified Executive Coach

In a war zone, it’s hard to deliver aid to people who need it most. Same as with a natural disaster – earthquakes and floods – the donations pour in, but it is very difficult to effectively use those funds on the ground.

When you donate money to an NGO, some of it is eaten up in admin fees and overhead costs. Often, your donation doesn’t meet the purpose you intended because it is difficult for foreign organizations to identify and locate the people in need, let alone define their needs in a culturally appropriate/situation-specific way.

Then, it’s hard to get that aid to people. After it is delivered, organizations struggle to measure the impact which prevents them being able to focus the donations on areas of greatest need.

All this effort takes people. However, it’s difficult to find workers at short notice, especially when people are fleeing for their lives. Once people are hired, it’s still necessary to set up the systems and infrastructure (warehouses, vehicles).

How Hungry For Life is overcoming these problems

I’m currently in western Ukraine, working with Hungry For Life International. HFL is a humanitarian organization whose staff has over 20 years of experience working together all over the world.

In the table below, the left column lists common problems faced by NGOs. In the right column, I briefly outline how HFL has been able to overcome these obstacles in Ukraine.

One single hurdle remains

Financial donations are one challenge that large multinational organizations often don’t have. They are typically able to access funding from large companies and governments.

Although we are a relatively small NGO, Hungry For Life International has 20 years’ experience delivering humanitarian aid around the world. We have overcome every hurdle so far in the distribution of critical aid. In fact, other charities have recognized this and transferred the generous donations of Canadians to support our operation in Ukraine.

However, our ability to meet the exponentially growing need is being capped by the availability of funds.

When the war broke out, the donations we received could support thousands and even tens of thousands of people. But now there are hundreds of thousands, millions of people who cannot access food and supplies.

At the time of this writing, we are days away from emptying our warehouse in central Ukraine.

The Russian war strategy deliberately targets the civilian population to starve them into submission.
Help us fight back.

We have the warehouses, the vehicles, the drivers. Our incredible team in Ukraine are operating like seasoned veterans and North Americans have given so generously to this effort. But now we can’t keep up with the demand. We just need more money.