Helping hand

transforming jobless people into employers


Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine and the World Bank

About the Project

Every year about one million Ukrainians receive governmental aid targeted at low-income citizens. At the same time, there is at least one unemployed adult of working age in 30% of such families. Governmental aid is the only source of income for some of those families. And the longer the unemployment period lasts, the harder it is to find a job and self-actualize. In these conditions it is easy to lose motivation to work and strive for better life, and social welfare support of the state cannot fix it.


“Helping hands” Project was established for this category of people. This is a completely new mechanism for Ukraine, which envisage engaging participants in economic activities taking into account the characteristics and aspirations of the each of them.


“Helping hands” is a pilot project of the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, which was implemented with the support of the World Bank. The Pilot Project covered three regions in Ukraine – Lviv, Kharkiv and Poltava, as well as three territorial communities of Donetsk, Chernihiv and Zhytomyr regions.


The goal of the project is to help IDPs and members of low-income families to stop dependence on social benefits, get jobs or start-up businesses.

  • 1.Create a functioning governmental business incubator which people will trust to.
  • 2.Test new institutional, financial and economic mechanisms of providing jobs to recruiting employable unemployed recipients of governmental low-income citizen benefits and internally displaced persons.
  • 3.To engage as many citizens from target groups – low-income able-bodied unemployed persons and IDPs - as possible.
  • 4.To develop and introduce a mechanism of interaction between local authorities, social services, employment centers, NGOs, aimed at efficiently engaging low-income unemployed and IDPs in working activities.
  • 5.To carry out a public awareness campaign on new opportunities for participants and socio-economic development of the regions.
  • 6.To develop a curriculum and hold workshops, trainings for experts, whose duties are directly related to the project implementation in the regions.
  • 7.To lay the foundation for long-term public support for promoting self-employment of temporarily unemployed citizens.
  • 8.To create a basis to change the thinking of paternalistic communities from poverty and despondency to development and economic self-sufficiency.
  • 9.To demonstrate transparency of the pilot project and build public confidence in it.

ShiStrategies managed and directly implemented the project.


The activities covered the three main components:

  • Organizing and consulting support to the project implementation.

    Project offices were established in each of the pilot regions, which provided organizational, administrative, legal and business consulting services. In total, during the implementation of the “Helping Hands” Project, the regional consultants delivered about 15,000 consultations to potential and actual participants of the project, representatives of local authorities, employment centers, NGOs and businesses.
  • Training social workers who were to become the main source of information, inspiration and support for participants.

    We developed a study program and delivered 28 workshops and trainings, where about 700 managers and experts engaged in the pilot implementation in six regions were trained.
  • Communication support

    We developed and implemented an efficient mechanism of communication between the ministry, regional state administrations, amalgamated territorial communities, social services, employment centers, project participants, NGOs. We conducted large-scale public awareness campaigns.

    They held about 30 public events: conferences, round tables, press conferences, press tours.

    Some 4,500 materials were published in mass media, during the project period, about the essence, progress and results of the “Helping Hands” project, as well as about the first successes of startupers who participated in the project.

The pilot project operated from December 2016 to the end of 2018. During this period:


2145 unemployed got jobs.


930 persons got temporary employment.


237 members of low-income families and IDPs started their own businesses, with only 3 subsequently wound up their activities.


66 jobs were created by the former governmental aid recipients.


92 small businesses in regions took part in the project as employers and employed 189 persons.


The number of low-income citizens in all pilot regions dropped 1.6-fold.


Revenues of budgets at all levels in pilot regions increased.


The project participants – startupers – paid over UAH 7 million of the unified social contributions.


The incomes of the project participants increased.


The level of public confidence in central and local authorities, employment centers and social services has significantly increased.


Social services acquired noticeable features of service departments, learned to interact more efficiently with low-income citizens and local entrepreneurs.


“The experience of “Helping Hands” pilot project proved its capacity and efficiency. Obviously, it is time to replicate it all over the country. ” A. Reva, Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine, December 2018.