24 November 2016 – UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine launched a nationwide campaign to foster mutual understanding, inclusion and social cohesion in Ukraine's communities. The campaign will also raise awareness about the challenges and hardships that Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) face when seeking housing, employment and a place in their new community.

“It is vital that positive narratives about IDPs be spread and amplified, and that stereotypes about them be unveiled,” said Janthomas Hiemstra, UNDP Country Director in Ukraine.“We hope this campaign will help build bridges between various communities that the conflict has forced to live together.”

The campaign, featuring national radio and TV broadcasts of short stories showing daily life interactions between IDPs and members of their host communities, will run until March 2017. Public engagement online using the #EachOther hashtag is strongly encouraged to allow people to tell their stories of positive experience with IDP integration, host communities, or how they overcome challenges on the way.

You can support the people who have been forced to start their lives again from scratch by sharing a short video, photograph, drawing or a text depicting the story of one of your colleague, co-student, friend or acquaintance, who has successfully integrated into their new community.

Everyone is invited to join the “We Need Each Other” campaign, which is being implemented as part of the Strategy for IDP information reintegration, designed by Ukraine’s Ministry of Information Policy and UNDP and financed by the government of Japan.

Around 3.7 million people have been affected by conflict in eastern Ukraine, which has put a huge pressure on communities and livelihoods hosting internally displaced people. Such massive internal movements have created tensions, even in places far from the conflict. Public services and employment markets that were already struggling before the conflict are all the less able to cope with this additional influx of people, raising in turn security and social cohesion issues.

“We are talking about mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, with the same hopes and desires as us, except that a twist of fate has forced them to flee their homes and leave their lives behind. We must all address the challenge of the massive internal displacement in Ukraine by promoting tolerance, mutual respect, understanding and solidarity,” Hiemstra continued.

Encouraging signs show that outflows of IDPs from conflict areas have slowed down, with those living in other regions of the country for over two years beginning to integrate. However, while some IDPs have found housing and employment, many are still struggling to get by and are in need of support and, most importantly, acceptance by their host communities.

“IDPs and host communities must work together at all levels, in their neighbourhoods, at work, online and offline, until fair, lasting solutions to the displacement crisis in Ukraine are found. We’re convinced that this campaign will help amplify those voices of welcome, and promote effective and positive interaction between IDPs and host communities.”

Positive messages, constructive discussions and raising awareness can all make a difference. Follow @UNDPUkraine on Facebook and Twitter and get updates on the #EachOther feed. Let’s speak up together, loud and clear, for peace, security and solidarity!

Read more about the festival “Donetsk Region for Tolerance”.

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