With Japan funding, UNDP in Ukraine procures 200 electric scooters for social workers

Convenient, zero-emission personal mobility vehicles will enable social workers to reach people more quickly and efficiently, even in places that have suffered substantial infrastructure damage.

March 15, 2024
Photo: Serhii Minenko / UNDP in Ukraine

KYIV, 15 March 2024 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine has, with generous funding from the government of Japan, procured 200 electric scooters for social workers in Ukraine.   

The initiative aims to increase the mobility of social workers, enabling them to provide services to people – particularly those in remote communities. The provision of social services to citizens quickly and efficiently has become even more crucial during wartime. 

The 200 electric scooters, after their official handover to the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, will be further distributed to 183 communities in 11 oblasts – Chernihiv, Sumy, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Mykolaiv, Poltava, Kharkiv, Kherson, Kyiv, Cherkasy, and Zhytomyr. 

Speaking at the ceremony marking the delivery of scooters to communities in Kyiv Oblast, Oksana Zholnovych, Minister for Social Policy of Ukraine, underlined the urgency of enhancing the mobility workers in rural areas.  

“This is a significant step for us towards enhancing social services,” Zholnovych said. “The Ministry of Social Policy is currently intensively developing a comprehensive social support system for the population, with communities and social workers as its core pillars. Therefore, targeted assistance to communities is now of great importance.” 

“Our goal is to build communities where people are eager to live. This cannot be achieved if a community lacks a social component — a social worker who provides quality social services. After all, a community is, first and foremost, a place of support.”  

“I’m grateful to our constant partners from UNDP for their procurement and delivery of transportation and for supporting all our initiatives aimed at helping the most vulnerable populations. I’d also like to thank the government of Japan for their funding – this is a significant contribution to the development not only of the social sector's potential in our country, but also specifically of each community.”  

Also speaking at the ceremony, H.E. Kuninori Matsuda, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Ukraine, reiterated Japan's commitment to supporting Ukraine and its efforts to reach vulnerable populations more efficiently.  

“In the face of adversity, Japan has stood firmly with Ukraine. Japan's response to the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine was immediate and comprehensive,” Matsuda said. 

“Today, we’re continuing to support the government and people of Ukraine in the development of the social service sector by transferring electric scooters to the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine. And I want to take this opportunity to express my deep admiration and sincere gratitude to the social protection representatives in Ukraine. Your work is heroic, providing critically important social care services and support to the most vulnerable, even amidst a full-scale invasion.”  

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Ukraine Christophoros Politis underlined the profound impact of the war on Ukrainian society, and highlighted the disproportionate effect it has had on the most vulnerable and those living next to the frontline, rendering their access to services very challenging. “For UNDP, it is very important to assist the government and the people of Ukraine in ensuring a comprehensive and inclusive recovery of the country, a recovery that goes beyond the reconstruction of infrastructure and buildings and encompasses the restoration and modernize the social ecosystem which would provide services to the most vulnerable groups of the population thus advancing the principle of Leave No One Behind and the Government Barrier Free policy,” Politis said. “It is through such initiatives that we would ensure building more than infrastructure – we would be contributing to a fair and inclusive recovery for everyone through equal and effective access to services.”   

He added that access to social services needs to be coupled with improving the quality and effectiveness of services and committed UNDP to continuing partnering with the Ministry of Social Policy and Local authorities in ensuring this objective is met. 

Electric scooters have become a vehicle of choice for social workers due to their having several crucial advantages. Highly manoeuvrable, they can navigate through traffic jams more efficiently compared to larger vehicles. In war-torn regions, where infrastructure may be damaged or inaccessible, electric scooters can traverse narrow streets, rubble, and other obstacles, enabling social workers to reach remote or difficult-to-access locations where vulnerable individuals reside. 

Electric scooters are eco-friendly, emitting zero or minimal emissions. This aspect is particularly crucial during times of conflict when environmental challenges are compounded by the consequences of war. 

Background: The electric scooters were procured under UNDP in Ukraine’s “Promotion of Human Security in Ukraine Through Responding to the Multidimensional Crisis Caused by the War” project, which is financed by the government of Japan. Japan is the largest government contributor to UNDP in Ukraine, having provided substantial aid amounting to U.S. $169.4 million since 2022. The aforementioned project aims to enhance human security in Ukraine by responding to the multidimensional crisis caused by the war and addressing the country's high vulnerability due to the ongoing conflict. This support aims to strengthen the government's crisis management system, facilitate early recovery, and improve basic service delivery for vulnerable populations. 

Media enquiries: Yuliia Samus, UNDP Ukraine Head of Communications; e-mail: yuliia.samus@undp.org