If you’re a Ukrainian living in a hard-to-reach part of a city under fire, the chances of the UN being able to get lifesaving aid to you and your family are improving, thanks to an innovative partnership announced on Wednesday, between the UN World Food Programme (WFP), and global transportation platform, Uber.
With conventional aid trucks or other large vehicles unable to access some of those in need in built up areas, the ridesharing and delivery app has developed a new custom-built version of its online platform, “which allows WFP to better coordinate, dispatch and track a fleet of smaller vehicles delivering relief items from warehouses”, the agency said, in a press release.
Through this platform, WFP can get its food closer to those people needing its support, dispatching deliveries in various sizes of vehicle, tracking each trip to its destination, and confirming deliveries have been made safely, the agency said.
Through this collaboration, WFP has already delivered food from its warehouse in the key eastern city of Dnipro - not far from where Ukrainian forces are battling the Russian advance - to other parts of the city, ready for distribution.
Further deliveries are also ongoing in other parts of the country, including Lviv, Vinnytsia, Kyiv and Chernivtsi. The progress of deliveries can be tracked in real-time through the platform.
“WFP is playing a critical role in providing food and cash assistance to those most affected by the war in Ukraine. This technology helps WFP facilitate its response and improves how we serve communities in Ukraine that rely on us,” said Matthew Hollingworth, WFP’s Emergency Coordinator in Ukraine.
“It enhances our access to Ukrainian businesses within Uber’s network, making our operations more efficient while also harnessing local capacities.”
Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s Chief Executive, said the company was “thrilled to be working with WFP to help them more efficiently distribute emergency food relief across Ukraine, by providing free access to a customised version of the Uber platform”.
“Using our technology, WFP can now schedule, dispatch, track, and manage deliveries by a network of cars and small vans to final distribution points within a 100-kilometre radius of WFP warehouses across the country”, Mr. Khosrowshahi added.
This work is in addition to a $250,000 donation made by Uber to World Food Program USA to support the emergency response in Ukraine.
“We thank Uber for helping us deliver critical humanitarian assistance in Ukraine. Private sector collaborations like this are critical in helping us deploy innovative, custom solutions to address complex challenges,” said Barron Segar, President and CEO of World Food Program USA.
WFP has rapidly scaled up its operations in and around Ukraine over the past three months. By the end of June, WFP will be providing food and cash to more than 3 million people per month in the country.