One year of war: A call to keep supporting the Ukrainian cooperative movement

21 Feb 2023
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One year has passed since the war in Ukraine began. We contacted Illia Gorokhovskyi, COOP Ukraine's Chairman to better understand the impact of the war, and how the international cooperative movement can continue to help them.
What has not changed since the war began is the need for a more reliable source for electricity. Gorokhovskyi stresses that frequent power outages make it almost impossible for any form of communication to take place, businesses cannot operate, and food and medicine cannot be refrigerated.
"Enterprises and organizations of COOP Ukraine need a significant number of generators with a capacity of 4 to 10 kW and in the near future, he said, "We cannot do this on our own."
Another serious problem is the destruction of many cooperatives that were located in areas of combat operations.
 “Any assistance from foreign colleagues and cooperators of the world will be extremely useful and necessary and accepted with great gratitude.” 
The international cooperative movement has stepped up to help, and have been actively providing direct financial assistance to COOP Ukraine. These funds are directly dispersed to consumer cooperatives of Ukraine.
“At the moment, our accounts have received assistance from colleagues from the USA, Japan, Ireland, Great Britain, France, Germany, Bulgaria, Australia, the Philippines, Malaysia, South Korea, and others," said Gorokhovskyi.
“We are truly grateful that the global cooperative community supports my country and the cooperation during such difficult times," he added. "We remember that as members of the ICA, we have a billion friends and colleagues from all over the world who sympathize with us and want to help us. This supports us, gives us strength and inspires us to believe in victory."
Read the message addressed by the ICA President Ariel Guarco one year ago here. 

The cooperative movement in Ukraine today

The war has reduced the number of existing cooperatives, and information from cooperatives located in occupied territories is sparse. However, there is activity in the liberated territories and evidence that communities are trying hard to regain their lives and livelihood. And despite serious challenges, cooperatives adapted to continue their mission to serve their members.
"In the liberated territories, our people are returning to work, facilities are being restored, and logistics are being adjusted. Despite all the dangers and difficulties, we are trying to provide local consumers with the most necessary goods, even in the newly liberated territories. Complete restoration of cooperative facilities is possible only after the war. We will do everything to restore the work of all cooperatives that were destroyed,” said Gorokhovsky.
"At the same time, the process of educating and training qualified specialists in cooperative educational institutions for various spheres of the country's economy has not stopped. Educational institutions from war zones were relocated to safer regions and continue their work there. Despite the difficult situation in the country, in 2022 there was a positive increase in the admission of students to cooperative universities, institutes and colleges." 

Charity Fund

In the spirit of Cooperative Principle #6 - Cooperation Among Cooperatives COOP Ukraine's Board of Directors created a charity fund to receive international aid for the affected cooperatives in Ukraine. A new set of regulations was created to ensure transparency in the process that will ensure that the funds will be allocated to the Ukrainian cooperators. A special commission was also created to review all requests and applications for funding and support.
Last year, funds were distributed to the Union of Consumer Societies of the Mykolaiv region at their request. Today, COOP Ukraine is working to meet requests for support from the unions of consumer societies from Kherson, Zhytomyr, Chernihiv and Sumy regions.

The role of the cooperative identity

Last year has shown that identity is very important, including on a geopolitical scale. Gorokhovskyi stressed that the work of COOP Ukraine during the war, and the efforts to gain support and not to lose hope is supported solely on the cooperative principles.
“Our system has always worked as a single family, and during the war, cooperative principles helped us not to be lost in the face of fear, to be resistant to challenges and threats. We did not give up, kept in touch, looked for ways out of various situations, helped each other and believed in victory," he says.


To transfer funds in EURO:
Company name: Ukrainian Central Union of Consumer Societies
IBAN code: UA423052990000026002016718688
Company address: UA 01601, Kyiv, Khreshchatyk street, 7/11
To transfer funds in USD:
Company name: Ukrainian Central Union of Consumer Societies
IBAN code: UA833052990000026007046709792
Company address: UA 01601, Kyiv, Khreshchatyk street, 7/11

Photo credit: Mathias Reding


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