A United Nations project to promote energy efficiency among Ukrainian homeowners has found a second life – informing 1.8 million of the nation's citizens on how to combat the COVID-19 virus.

Home Owners of Ukraine for Sustainable Energy Efficiency Solutions, also known as HOUSES, was initially designed to help Ukrainians lower their energy costs, better their livelihoods, and reduce the country's carbon footprint, the UN press service reports.

Since its launch in October 2018, it has helped hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians in 24 regions to manage their homeowners' associations, develop energy efficiency projects and apply for subsidies under the Ukrainian Energy Efficiency Fund.

"Little did we know at the time we set it up that we could use this same network to communicate urgent information about the pending pandemic," said Dafina Gercheva, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative in Ukraine since 2019.

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Piggybacking on HOUSES's network of 24 coordinators, 344 local authorities and nearly 4,000 homeowners' associations, and working with World Health Organization (WHO), UNDP produced more than 100,000 posters detailed information about the new coronavirus, how to avoid contracting it and how to protect families.

Going a step further, many of the homeowners' associations came up with creative ways to sanitize buildings and footwear, support the elderly and sew protection masks and suits for doctors, medical professionals and vulnerable neighbors, UNDP said.

One community made 1,300 masks and 76 suits in the space of a month.

The HOUSES programme, which continues through September 2020, is supported by EUR 4 million in European Union funding.