EU and UNDP support local volunteers who help Kharkiv prepare for winter

Apartments equipped with new insulation to repair windows damaged by shelling

November 11, 2022
Photo credit: Oleksandr Kochkin / Photo courtesy of the Youth Council of Kharkiv

Kharkiv, 11 November 2022  With temperatures dropping and with 40 percent of Ukraine’s energy plants recently destroyed, the United Nations Development Programme, together with the European Union and other partners, are working on several fronts to help the country prepare for the coming winter months. One important initiative, in partnership with the Youth Council and the Mayor of Kharkiv, involves strengthening the capacity of local volunteer groups.

UNDP recently provided local volunteer groups in Kharkiv with construction materials and tool kits to install proper insulation in the windows of 83 apartments of multistoried buildings that were damaged by shelling. 

Jaco Cilliers, interim UNDP Resident Representative in Ukraine, said the insulation can make the difference between life and death for people living in those apartments. “When the temperatures drop below zero, people can freeze to death,” he said. “Having proper insulation is especially important with the rolling power cuts.”

The initiative complements an ongoing programme UNDP is managing with its partners, including the European Union, to respond to the energy crisis through quick energy infrastructure repairs, improvement of the energy efficiency of public buildings and adapting structures to host internally displaced people. “This is especially important given the electricity shortages that have resulted from an unprecedented series of attacks on the country’s energy infrastructure,” said Cilliers.

Frederik Coene, Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Ukraine, reaffirmed the EU’s strong commitment to support Ukrainians in preparing for winter and providing war-torn communities with everything they might need. “President Zelenskyy said this will be the most difficult winter in history for Ukrainians,” he said. “However, no matter how hard it may seem, Ukraine can count on our support. The zeal with which the people of Kharkiv take care of their homes, damaged by shelling, inspires hope that Ukraine will return to a peaceful and happy life, where there will be no place for war, suffering and violence.”

Youth Council Coordinator Anatolii Bessonov said he was inspired by the sheer number of volunteers that turned up for the effort. “Young people are ready to join the reconstruction process, to rebuild the country in which they live,” he said.  All they need is some support and guidance. We are grateful to UNDP and the EU for supporting our initiatives, and for helping us to gradually rebuild our beloved Kharkiv.”

Background: The United Nations Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme (UN RPP) is being implemented by four United Nations agencies: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). Eleven international partners support the Programme: The European Union (EU), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, and the governments of Canada, Denmark, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland.

Media enquiries: Yuliia Samus, UNDP Ukraine Head of Communications; e-mail: