The social value of humanitarian aid in Donbass

People in Donbass waiting for food aid

Envoy Partnership has been engaged by the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation to conduct the first social value study of a humanitarian aid intervention. The study explores the impact of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation’s Food Aid Initiative, which delivered 12.5 million food packages to civilians of the Donbass region in Ukraine between 2014 and 2020.

The evaluation showed that:

  • The humanitarian aid initiative provided food to nearly 1 million people, and benefited 3.5 million people in total. Of these, 3.2 million benefitted from the food aid.
  • Impact on food security
    • The Rinat Akhmetov Foundation’s Food Aid Initiative helped many civilians in Donbass to survive, since food became very difficult to obtain and very expensive during the conflict.
    • 72% of those supported would not have been able to feed themselves and their families without the food aid. Some would have had to go without other essentials (such as medicines) or spend their savings in order to afford food. Others would have had to leave their home. Some would have faced starvation conditions.
  • Impact on well-being
    • The study goes further than other humanitarian aid evaluations by measuring the well-being of beneficiaries directly. 96% of recipients said that they felt they had not been forgotten by the outside world. 94% said that the food aid made them feel more valued and less isolated. Overall, recipients’ well-being increased by 9%, which is a substantial improvement, given that beneficiaries were still living in a conflict zone that was facing huge challenges.
  • Impact on volunteers
    • Over 5,000 volunteers were involved in the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation’s Food Aid Initiative. Volunteering helped them not to give up and cope with the war, made them feel less isolated, allowed them to worry less about themselves, improved their life satisfaction, made them more optimistic about the future, and improved their well-being by 20%.
  • Over USD 1.1 billion of social value was created for the people of Donbass. This value represents the things that matter to aid recipients and their friends and families: improvements in their health, well-being, financial situation, and their ability to remain in their own homes.This value equals to 1,100 USD per direct beneficiaries, which is over 20% of the annual household income in Ukraine, and is almost 2 times bigger than the annual pension in Ukraine.

The evaluation drew on the principles of social value – as outlined by Social Value International – to assess the impact of the food aid initiative. Primary research was conducted with beneficiaries, volunteers, and other stakeholders. Some research was conducted by Envoy Partnership, and some was conducted by the Kyiv International Institute for Sociology.

Watch our talk on the study at the Social Value Maters 2020 conference: