Distributing humanitarian aid

Aid requests

Stables and riding clubs who are in need of humanitarian aid (supplies/feed/hay), are suggested to coordinate internally and submit the aid request. It is very important that people coordinate locally and within their stable / club and submit already consolidated request for one location. 

The request for humanitarian aid (supplies hay and feed) is submitted through the Telegram chat (https://t.me/horse_gum_bot). 

Chat asks about: 

1) name of the club/stable and location,

2) number of horses (ponies, own and refugees horses), 

3) what’s the need most (feed, hay, bedding),

4) what their current level of feed/hay is. 

The information gathered from the Telegram chat is automatically updated into our database. In some cases, some of the info is entered by the volunteers themself. For exanoke when they find it on social media, or someone calls or if necessary because of other reasons. Volunteers also enter the info when some questions are unclear, they contact people who asked, clarify info, add it to the database. 

The official way of capturing the requests is through the Telegram chat bot and we cannot take responsibility for monitoring social media for the help requests.

Information about aid requests is automatically stored in the requests database (Google spreadsheet). If necessary (for a due diligence procedure or to get additional information), volunteers in the corresponding region would  contact the people who have requested help to sort out the details, understand the situation, especially regarding issues related with logistics (are roads open, level of threat etc).

Note that volunteers contact when they miss some information in order to organize the delivery. As the deliveries are planned based on prioritization (see below about the rules) then it means that not all requesters will be immediately contacted, especially when there are no deliveries planned to their region.

Aid distribution and logistics

What kind of decisions are made and how are they made?

We help all horses no matter what their background, status in sports, age or health conditions are. Decisions on distribution of humanitarian aid are done based on the following principles and steps: 

  1. Step 1: Regional distribution. Decisions on the region, where the donated feed or other supplies should be sent, are made based on the analysis of the aid requests database (number of stables, number of horses, urgency and last aid delivery time) and possibility to organize transportation to the region. Volunteers of the foundation also do a simple due diligence procedure by contacting the stables and asking for additional information as well as sourcing information from open sources and social media. In August, the priority was given to the regions close to war zones and/or potentially becoming war zones, like Kharkyv, Mykolaiv and Odessa. This decision is taken by the Head of the Foundation in collaboration with the Ukrainian team of volunteers based on the regional analysis, taking into account all factors mentioned above. The decisions are usually very difficult as the needs exceed three to four times the availability of humanitarian aid.
  1. Step 2: Amount and type of aid to be delivered to the region. The amount and type of humanitarian aid, i.e. hay, haylage, compound feed or shavings, is decided based on needs of the region and the availability of supplies. As a rule, the minimum amount for delivery is one truck, ca 15-20 tons depending on the type of aid. Not always can we match the needs with the supplies as we depend on the donations of feed and shavings from Europe and have limited resources to source feed and shavings ourselves.
  1. Step 3: Allocation of help between stables in the region. Distribution between stables in the region is done after the amount and type of humanitarian aid is decided. The basis for the decisions are the number of horses, including refugee horses in the stable and the urgency of aid. The priority is given to stables with more than 50% of refugee horses. Refugee horses are horses that were relocated to the stable after the war began. As a rule, a discounted stabling fee or no fee taken from the owner and the stable  takes care of refugee horses based on solidarity, i.e. providing feed and stabling for free. The urgency is checked by volunteers of the foundation, the stable owner is asked about the amount of feed available and what period is covered as well as if there are resources to source feed from the local community. In some cases, a decision may be taken to keep 10-15% of the feed delivered to the region in storage for unexpected and critical situations, i.e. if a stable gets damaged or a large number of refugee horses arrives in the region. Decisions on the allocation of help between the stables are taken by local volunteers´ team. 
  1. Step 4: control of delivery, feedback, communications and consultations after delivery. After the feed is delivered, we usually do a public post in the Ukrainian Facebook group / page, including publishing a list of stables that received help. When possible and necessary volunteers contact the receivers of aid to get feedback on the delivery. The receivers of help also do pictures and videos and sometimes also publish thank you posts in social media. The receivers of help can report to us if there are mistakes in delivery or there are concerns regarding the distribution decisions. The circumstances are explained based on the best of our knowledge and understanding of the situation.

How all works from a donator and aid receiver perspective

A donator has decided to send 6 pallets of haylage. She can get the latest update on the humanitarian aid delivery services from our web site and fill in the form: https://helpukrainehorses.eu/en/bring-supplies-en/

She will be contacted by our logistics coordinator to agree on the details of cargo and possible delivery dates. Based on the amount and type of humanitarian aid, we will provide the logistics solution, incl. trucks from Ukraine and a logistic point to meet at.

The 6 pallets arrive at the logistics point in Poland near the Ukrainian border and trucks from Ukraine meet them. They are unloaded/loaded from truck to truck. The delivery paperwork is checked, and the truck is unloaded and then loaded to the Ukrainian truck.

The 6 pallets are delivered to our warehouse in Ukraine. Because 6 pallets is just ¼ of the lorry and it’s quite expensive to send the lorry ¼ loaded, we will wait until we get enough aid for a full lorry. In the warehouse, the delivery is checked and recorded, including amount and type of aid as well as quality. Normally lorries are coming full and there is aid from several donors there. Usually we do not accept any dedicated deliveries – it is not possible to specify to which stable the donated haylage should go.

After there is enough humanitarian aid for 2-3 trucks, the decisions on the regional distribution are done (see previous section for details) and the destination in UKR is decided, for example, if it goes to Kharkyv, Odessa or some other location. In our case, 6 pallets of haylage together with bedding and compound feed will be loaded on a truck to Odessa. 

In Odessa, the truck will be delivered to larger logistic point (regularly, this is a larger stable with loading and reloading facilities and/or a private warehouse that we can use for the humanitarian aid convoy purposes), from where the smaller trucks will distribute according to aid allocation plan or people pick up themselves. Depending on current situations, sometimes the territories are not safe or bridges are destroyed, but local people know better how to get to the logistic point to pick up the aid. At the logistic point a responsible person accompanied by a volunteer will receive the aid and check the delivery based on the list provided by the foundation, i.e. amount and type of humanitarian aid. 

The volunteers team contacts the people who have requested humanitarian aid to say when their supplies will be delivered so they can be ready to collect it when the truck arrives. The pickup is coordinated between receivers and the responsible person or/and volunteers and noted in the report as delivered. The 6 pallets of haylage may end up in one or several stables in the Odessa region. Unfortunately, due to complexity of operations, we are not able to track individual pallets or packages until the end point. The confirmation from the stables will be asked for by volunteers at the end of the process to be sure the aid has been delivered and sometimes the volunteers do also a light due diligence regarding the data provided by the stables, i.e. check the number of horses or refugee horses. 

The distribution of humanitarian aid is done mostly using the services of the local transportation companies. All payments are done based on invoices and delivery reports from the transportation companies. We also use trucks that evacuate the horses to deliver small amounts of aid to the regions from where horses are picked up from. This is done to optimize transportation costs. 

The transportation costs are paid by the UE-CF using the money from donors and based on invoices / receipts and delivery reports from transportation companies. On average, one truckload delivery from the border with Poland to Lviv and from Lviv to one of the regions cost around 2 000 EUR. The price is high due to increase of fuel prices in Ukraine.

After the end of the distribution, the list of stables that received help will be reported back to donors. The list includes, the name of the stables, contact person, contacts, number of horses, ponies and refugee horses, type and amount of delivered aid.

In case of large deliveries or deliveries to dangerous areas, we post on social media with pictures or videos to celebrate the successful end of the supplies convoy. We regularly post the list of stables by region to ensure the visibility of our actions and to make sure there are no mistakes in our reports. If there is some inconsistency, the stables will contact us and the situation will be clarified.

General remarks 

  • We help all horses disregarding their background, status in sports, age or health conditions. 
  • We produce on average 90 tons of humanitarian aid per month, the need is 200 tons per month. We have to make very difficult decisions. In many cases we just cannot help as there are no safe routes to the stables in war zones or to occupied territories. In every such case, we investigate all possible and impossible solutions and sometimes miracles happen, like in the case of Sumy region, where we managed to deliver humanitarian aid despite the occupation in March.
  • To deliver 15-20 tons from the Polish border to the aid receivers it takes up to 7 days and it costs 2 000 EUR.
  • The full cost of feed and bedding for one horse / month, including hay, haylage, bedding is around 200 EUR if sourced locally. 
  • To distribute the truckload at regional level, up to 50 calls should be made by volunteers to check the details and ensure instructions are clear for all parties of the process.
  • To collect a truckload and receive monetary donations to cover the transportations costs, volunteers write and talk to hundreds of people on a daily basis, answering questions, explaining, and giving more information.
  • We have more than 30 volunteers working every day to organize the logistics and to help sourcing the feed from our European partners and donors. The jobs are:
    • running communications and social media in Ukraine; 
    • running communications and social media in Europe and globally;
    • communicating with aid donors, coordinating the supplies and delivery to logistic point in Poland;
    • communicating with aid receivers and coordinating aid delivery and distribution, asking questions and doing a due diligence tasks;
    • establishing telegramme chat and working with database of requests; 
    • communicating with transportation companies in Ukraine and ensuring logistics services; 
    • loading and unloading, including operating the machines if needed or just lifting the supplies manually;
    • recording the donations and putting together overviews and reports;
    • monitor social media channels for information on aid needs and mapping overall humanitarian and horse welfare situation, including serious cases that would require immediate attention;
    • and many-many other tasks.
  • As the main contributors to our operations are volunteers, we do not have resources to contact each and every stable or aid applicant before we have delivery available for the region. 
  • For security reasons, we do not announce the beginning of convoys and exact routes and warehouses or hubs we use.
  • We do acknowledge that there is a risk of fraud on different stages of convoy and we do our best to minimize the risks using a light due diligence process, marking the aid with the foundation´s stickers and taking all abuse reports very seriously. To investigate the cases reported we would need answers to the questions who, what, when and where. 
  • We do understand that the distribution decisions are at some part subjective and we try to use the quantitative data as much as we can.
  • We notice and appreciate all efforts that are done to keep Ukrainian people and Ukrainian horses safe, we welcome all initiatives and contributions and are open to collaborate and exchange ideas on how efforts can be coordinated in a better way.
  • For the future, we would like to have the local sources of feed and beddings to cut the delivery time, the costs and to support the local producers.

Horses relocations

We organize the horse’s relocation to stables that we have managed to establish in safer areas on the western side of Ukraine.

Finding the solutions for horses is a very complex task for horse owners.

Horse owners must contact us to agree on details, including organizing a special fund-raising campaign to finance the relocation costs.

The routes are from a specific start and end location. Horses are collected from various pre-organised pick up points.

If many horses need relocating from a specific stable, and if it is possible to reach the stable then we can send one large horse truck to them.