Lutheran Disaster Response and Lutheran World Relief partner to support farmers and families in newly liberated areas of Ukraine

8/3/2023 12:00:00 AM


Lutheran Disaster Response, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)'s ministry to provide short- and long-term recovery when disasters strike in the United States and around the world, is responding to urgent humanitarian needs and supporting agricultural livelihood recovery in Ukraine though a $1 million grant to Lutheran World Relief, a Corus International organization.

The Supporting Farmers to Restore Resilient Livelihoods in Kharkiv (SPARRK) project will run through November 2024 and is centered in Kharkiv Oblast, one of the first regions targeted by the Russian offensive and where Ukrainian forces have reclaimed thousands of square kilometers of territory.

The funding will significantly scale up existing Lutheran World Relief humanitarian response operations in Kharkiv, more than doubling the number of families that will receive critical support. SPARKK will reach more than 7,000 families, including returnees, residents that remained in Kharkiv, and families who fled their homes and now reside in Kharkiv.

"Even as the Russia-Ukraine war continues, the SPARRK project will provide concrete support for families in Kharkiv and serve as a sign of hope for the future of Ukraine as crops are planted and farms reestablished. Lutheran Disaster Response is glad to support the SPARRK project as part of our commitment to long-term recovery," said Maryn Olson, Director, Lutheran Disaster Response.

Support includes both material and technical resources to restore or establish small farms and prepare for the harsh winter season. Participants in the project are receiving inputs depending upon their needs, like vegetable seeds, gardening tools, canning kits and pickling containers, chicks, chicken coops and feeders. Local agriculture advisors are providing training in small-scale, climate sensitive farming practices, that can include planting, composting and harvesting, and winterization preparedness, which involves drying, packaging and storing crops. Additionally, farm restoration grants will be issued to households that have lost assets as a result of the war and require a financial boost to expand their farming.

SPARRK will also address urgent needs of the most vulnerable in Kharkiv through distributions of essential items like personal hygiene kits and medical supplies, which will be delivered to local health centers.

"The SPARRK project will serve as a model for effective humanitarian lifesaving and recovery efforts. By addressing both agricultural and humanitarian needs, the project will improve overall outcomes and contribute to the restoration of resilient livelihoods in conflict-affected regions." said Daniel Speckhard, President and CEO of Lutheran World Relief and Corus.

The project is part of Corus International's large-scale response in Ukraine, which brings together experts from Lutheran World ReliefIMA World Health and CGA Technologies and includes emergency shelter, essential health care and psycho-social support, material resource distribution, protection and gender-based violence (GBV) prevention services, and technical assistance for cash transfer programs.
For more information, please contact Maryn Olson, Director, Lutheran Disaster Response at or Muhammad Tahir, Sr. Media Relations Manager, Corus International at


The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with 3 million members in more than 8,700 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands.," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.  
Lutheran World Relief 
Founded in 1945 by Lutherans in the U.S., Lutheran World Relief is an international development and aid organization working across Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. We collaborate with local partners to grow inclusive and climate resilient rural economies, reduce poverty, and we respond to natural disasters and humanitarian crises. Lutheran World Relief leads rural economic development programming at Corus International, an organization that unites an array of world-class nonprofits and businesses, each with specialized expertise. Our reach and capabilities are amplified by the other global leaders in our Corus family, including IMA World Health, CGA Technologies and Ground Up Investing. Together, we bring the multi-dimensional, holistic solutions needed to truly achieve lasting change. 


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