UNDP, Canada and Sweden empower communities in Ukraine to provide inclusive support and promote active ageing

The recently established social adaptation spaces provide a safe place for group and individual work, offering various services to enhance social integration and well-being

July 18, 2023

Opening of the Social Adaptation Space in Nizhyn, Chernihiv Oblast, 13 July 2023.

Photo: Oleksandr Bohachenko / UNDP in Ukraine

Kyiv, 18 July 2023 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine, in partnership with the governments of Canada and Sweden, has opened 11 social adaptation spaces in Chernihiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Sumy oblasts. These spaces, equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and supported by dedicated experts, were set up to provide crucial support and assistance to persons with disabilities, older people, and those in need.

The social adaptation spaces exemplify the synergy between local communities and international allies. While the communities undertook the renovation at their expense, UNDP, together with Canada and Sweden, procured essential equipment, including furniture, laptops, sensory art therapy tools, smart TVs, air conditioners and thermal mats. This initiative aligns with state policies, including the National Strategy for Creating a Barrier-Free Environment in Ukraine, while strengthening existing social adaptation programmes.

The primary objective of the social adaptation spaces is to enhance the provision of social services at local level, enabling individuals to adapt effectively to changing circumstances. These spaces offer a range of activities, encompassing psychological and behavioural correction services, social skills training, self-help group organization, participation in hobby and active longevity clubs, as well as facilitating daytime employment and leisure pursuits.

At the core also lies the invaluable social and pedagogical service known as the “University of the Third Age.” This creates favourable conditions for comprehensive development and reintegration of older people into active society, providing socialization and nurturing a profound sense of belonging among its participants. During the training sessions, local partners utilize “Basic Digital Skills for Older People”, a newly developed educational series from the Diia.Osvita portal.

Head of International Assistance at the Embassy of Canada to Ukraine Ashley Mulroney expressed Canada’s pride in collaborating with UNDP and Sweden to establish social adaptation spaces. “We are delighted to join forces with our longstanding partners in creating these spaces that will offer essential support and abundant opportunities for vulnerable individuals,” she said. “Canada remains steadfast in our commitment to fostering resilience and nurturing social cohesion in areas affected by the ravages of war.”

Chargé d'Affaires of the Embassy of Sweden to Ukraine Lennart Linner reaffirmed Sweden's unwavering dedication to decentralization and inclusive community-led recovery. “Through the support for the establishment of social adaptation spaces, we are demonstrating our joint resolve to assist those affected by the war in Ukraine,” he said. “By investing in this initiative, we aim to drive enduring change and shape a sustainable future that benefits the recovery and resilience of local communities.”

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Christophoros Politis said this initiative will empower communities and ensure inclusive access to vital social services. “Together with Canada and Sweden, we are investing in strengthening the capacities of local authorities to drive positive transformation in war-affected areas,” he said. “By fostering resilience and social cohesion, the social adaptation spaces serve as crucial steppingstones towards sustainable and inclusive recovery, leaving no one behind, and achieving lasting change in local communities that have been scared by war.”


The social adaptation spaces were opened by UNDP in Ukraine, in the framework of the United Nations Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme and with financial support from the governments of Canada (in Ichnia, Korop, Mykhailo-Kotsiubynske, and Nizhyn, Cherhihiv Oblast; and Bilopillia, Chernechchyna, Konotop; and Sumy, Sumy Oblast) and Sweden (Chernihiv; Kamianske, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast; and Romny, Sumy Oblast).

Four United Nations agencies are implementing the UN RPP: UNDP, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Eleven international partners support the UN RPP: the 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 inquiries: Yuliia Samus, UNDP Ukraine Head of Communications; e-mail: yuliia.samus@undp.org