© Patrick Rohr

Helvetas Awarded USAID Program to Build Community Resilience in Moldova

26. September 2023
© Patrick Rohr

Helvetas USA is delighted to announce the award and start of work on the USAID/Moldova - Building Resilient Communities in Ștefan Vodă Rayon Activity. The project is funded by USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) and will operate for one year from September 2023-2024. This is the first USAID BHA prime award for Helvetas, and the second USAID prime award in our portfolio (joining the ongoing USAID/Bangladesh Shamortha Plus Activity). 

Bordering the Transnistria region and Ukraine, Ștefan Vodă, a district in the southeast of Moldova, is at high risk of conflict, food and economic insecurity, extreme weather and other disasters. As of December 2022, over 715,000 Ukrainian refugees had crossed into Moldova, making places like Palanca Village a hotspot in the Ukraine displacement crisis. The refugee influx to Palanca Village stressed local infrastructure, creating social and healthcare service access difficulties for more than 63,000 residents. As of April 2023, 31% of households in Ștefan Vodă reported having experienced increased difficulties accessing basic services.

In addition to the challenges of managing so many new arrivals, several hazards exist and are exacerbated by the war. These include possible poisoning and contamination from accidental ammonia leaks due to the proximity to Odessa, flooding, snowstorms, widespread fires, conflict spillover, and the scarcity of basic goods – all are ongoing risks to be managed. Emergency response capabilities currently exist in Ștefan Vodă in the form of emergency services, rescuers, and a network of volunteers. United Nations agencies and local authorities are also providing assistance, but there have been no concerted efforts to enact preparedness measures at the community level. Creating solutions to these challenges is the primary focus of this project.

“As vulnerabilities among Ukrainian refugees and hosting households in Moldova compound and the conflict in Ukraine becomes protracted, Helvetas’ Emergency Response Team will help build the resilience of Moldovan communities in Ștefan Vodă Rayon,” said Hector Vivero, the Emergency Response Representative for Helvetas Moldova. “By helping these communities identify, prioritize and mitigate social, economic and environmental risks using an all-hazard approach, the project will strengthen localities across Ștefan Vodă through concrete risk management actions that can be championed at the local level.”

Preparing Communities to Respond to Emergencies

The project aims to reduce existing risks in Ștefan Vodă and prepare the communities to better respond to emergencies through activities that include:

  • An in-depth assessment of all hazards and risks present in communities and the specific needs for early warning systems.
  • A ranking of the most relevant hazards and vulnerabilities by community stakeholder groups, and the development of proposals to address them.
  • Presentations and round table meetings focused on emergency response plans, data collection plans and early warning systems.
  • The creation of emergency preparedness plans and early warning systems that outline all responsible entities, specific actions to be taken to reduce risks, and emergency response procedures. At least one comprehensive plan and system will be developed for four locations: Ștefan Vodă City and the three largest villages in the district.
  • Awareness-raising campaigns for further risk reduction and early warning systems across communities and educational institutions.

This project is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of Helvetas and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

For more information:

Contact Tim Lann, USAID Program Manager, at tim.lann@helvetas.org.