Ukraine’s transition toward a democratic society and a market-driven economy has been decades in the making, hindered by direct interference from Russia, corruption, and social discordance. In 1998, Ukraine became the first country to receive development assistance from Estonia, and in 2006 became a priority target country for Estonian development cooperation. Estonia outwardly supports the reform plan from the 2014 EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which began implementation in 2017 and champions the development of democracy and the strengthening of state structures, including the fight against corruption, the establishment of e-government, and the introduction of information and communications technology solutions.

Since partnership began in 1998, Estonian development cooperation has contributed €24.7 million toward the development of Ukraine. During this period, 492 projects have been implemented in the country. As of August 1, 2023, there are 27 ongoing projects in Ukraine, 16 of which are being implemented by ESTDEV partners.

Rebuilding Ukraine

Since the beginning of Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine, Estonia has sent more than €20 million worth of humanitarian aid, over €400 million in military aid, and has collected €24.6 million in private donations to help Ukraine to win the war.

Estonia is one of the first countries to begin to physically rebuild Ukraine. To ensure children’s education and support women and children affected by the war, Estonia has decided to build a kindergarten in the town of Ovruch. The construction of the kindergarten and the creation of education content is being coordinated by ESTDEV, with work on the ground carried out by Estonian and Ukrainian partners from both the public and private sectors. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has allocated €4.8 million to fund the work.

Estonia’s Areas of Focus for Rebuilding Ukraine:

  • Reconstruction – deliver resilient, inclusive, and sustainable recovery and reconstruction projects
  • Accession to the European Union – support Ukraine in becoming a democratic, independent, and prosperous member state of the EU
  • Digital Transformation – promote and develop transparent e-services across all sectors
  • Education – advance education management, digital skills development, and education innovations, including the digitalization of the education system and developing e-learning
  • Democracy – promote transparent and inclusive governance and the rule of law, strengthen strategic communication, the independent media, and the fight against disinformation

Global Sustainable Development Goals in Ukraine:

Priority Areas of Estonian Development Cooperation in Ukraine

  • Democracy and good governance – contributing to structural reforms, supporting regional development, strengthening independent media, and including civil society in governance and reform processes.
  • Entrepreneurship – contributing to the development of startups, supporting the development of small businesses, and increasing employment.
  • Education – updating the education system to meet the needs of the labor market and developing digital competences.

Relevant Documents

Ongoing Projects in Ukraine

Project Project dates Project implementer
Empowering Female Activists in Eastern Ukraine (acronym I AM @ MEDIA) 01.09.2021–31.01.2023 Tartu Ülikool
Strengthening Ukraine’s Societal Resilience Through Building Regional Expertise and Analytical Capacity in Civil Security Issues 14.06.2021–31.01.2023 The International Centre for Defence and Security 
Cooperation Between Vocational Education Institutions with Vocational Education Institutions of the Volyn Regions in Ukraine 01.09.2021–28.02.2023 Olustvere Teenindus- ja Maamajanduskool
Development of Technological Startup Entrepreneurship in the Eastern Ukraine Region 01.11.2021–28.02.2023 Garage48 OÜ
Up-to-Date Cyber Hygiene Techniques to Enhance the Resilience of the Energy Sector in Ukraine 01.07.2021–28.02.2023 MTÜ Euroopa Küberjulgeoleku Initsiatiiv
Sharing Estonian Experience in Support of Ukrainian Vocational Education Reform in Cooperation with the EU Program EU4Skills 01.06.2020–31.03.2023 Education and Youth Board
Challenger AI – Creation of an Accelerated Program for Aspiring Entrepreneurs and Sectorial Experts in Ukraine 01.09.2021–31.03.2023 Civitta AS
Supporting Vulnerable Women’s Entrepreneurship in Eastern Ukraine (3) 01.11.2021–29.04.2023 NGO Estonian Refugee Council
Improvement of Small Businesses and Development of the University Education System Through Research and Promotion of Tourism Clusters in Rural Areas in Ukraine 01.09.2021–01.05.2023 Tallinna Ülikool
Entrepreneurship Training for Ukrainian Journalists and Veterans 01.09.2021–01.05.2023 SA Estonian Business School
Support for the Rule of Law in Ukraine in the Areas of Police, Public Prosecution, Anti-Corruption, and Good Governance 01.10.2020–31.05.2023 ESTDEV
Supporting Settlements Along the Contact Line with Humanitarian Aid in Eastern Ukraine (2) 01.06.2021–31.05.2023 NGO Estonian Refugee Council
Extension of NGO Mondo’s Digital Competences Programme to Luhansk Oblast’s Schools and Psychosocial Support in the Crisis Area of Ukraine 01.06.2021–31.05.2023 NGO Mondo
Capacity Building of the Under-Reform Hennadii Udovenko Diplomatic Academy of Ukraine 01.07.2021–30.06.2023 Estonian School of Diplomacy Foundation
Support to Ukraine’s Efforts in Tackling Disinformation 01.03.2022–31.08.2023 ESTDEV
Raising the Awareness and Skills of Ukrainian SMEs and Creative Entrepreneurs in Online Marketing and Sales 01.11.2021–31.10.2023 SA Tartu Loomemajanduskeskus
Development of Innovative Capacity and Entrepreneurial Competence of Ukrainian Universities: Sharing Best Practices of Estonia (UnivEntre) 01.10.2021–01.06.2024 Tartu Ülikool
Stair to Excellence: Enhancement an Efficient and Solid Higher Education System in Ukraine 01.10.2021–30.09.2024 The Education and Youth Board