Shortly after the Russian war of aggression began, the Robert Bosch Stiftung set up an emergency aid program for Ukraine. Around 40 projects received funding from the special budget. The foundation will continue this commitment in 2023, aiming for a longer-term impact.
When the Russian attack on Ukraine began last year, the Robert Bosch Stiftung reacted quickly. The Foundation wanted to help its many partners in the region – with whom it had worked intensively for years – as fast as possible. In the first few months after the war’s start, the focus was on emergency aid.
"We felt a special responsibility to provide immediate help to Ukrainians in need. In the future, we want to think strategically about how to help Ukraine rebuild over the longer term," says Ottilie Bälz, Senior Vice President, Global Issues and coordinator of the Foundation's Ukraine engagement.
It is important to Ottilie Bälz to emphasize that Ukraine funding does not come at the expense of the Foundation's three funding areas of health, education, and global issues. In other regions of the world, such as sub-Saharan Africa, no compromises would have to be made, especially since these are also particularly challenged in part by the war in Europe.In addition, Ukrainians who have fled to Germany also benefit from the regular support work of the Immigration Society and Education teams, which work to promote equal participation and equal opportunities.
Last spring, together with the Robert Bosch Hospital, medical supplies were transported to Ukraine. The foundation supported teachers in Germany who were working with Ukrainian refugee children. Together with the Berghof Foundation, concepts were developed on how to deal with the war in the classroom. The Robert Bosch Stiftung also supported initial psychological assistance for refugees and participated in the French initiative Europe Prykhystok, which gives Ukrainian children and young people a chance to have a break from the war.
As part of a special fund of the European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM), the foundation supports civil society organizations throughout Europe, especially in the countries neighboring Ukraine. A total of around 40 Ukraine projects with great diversity and breadth received money from the special budget in the amount of 4.5 million euros last year.
This year, the foundation has once again made additional funds available for Ukraine. In selecting projects, it is focusing more closely on strategic priorities. One priority, as part of an EPIM initiative, is to build lasting integration mechanisms for Ukrainians who have been displaced in their homeland or outside the country. Team Peace works with its partners with a network of Ukrainian mediation organizations, which, in addition to providing acute assistance, also addresses the question of how society can come back together after the war. At the same time, the foundation promotes the war's documentation by archiving and processing the reports and documentation of scholars, journalists, artists, and many others currently living in Ukraine.
"It is important to continue to strengthen those civil society partners who have been doing good work for a long time and to involve them in the reconstruction processes."
What has the foundation learned thus far from its Ukraine engagement? The organizations that work most effectively in Ukraine and its neighboring countries have been on the ground for a long time; they have therefore been able to build on their previous experience, networks, and structures. Ottilie Bälz calls for long-term thinking: "It is important to continue to strengthen those civil society partners who have been doing good work for a long time and to involve them in the reconstruction processes." Foundations have a special role to play in establishing links between the various stakeholders and thus strengthening the participation of civil society.
Therefore the Robert Bosch Stiftung is one of the first signees of the Philanthropy Statement of solidarity and support to the people of Ukraine by Philea - Philanthropy Europe Association.
The European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM) is an initiative of 25 private foundations with the goal of strengthening the role of civil society in building inclusive communities and in developing humane and sustainable responses to migration, based on Europe’s commitment to universal human rights and social justice.