Addressing engagement and humanitarian challenges in Poland & Ukraine
Loop Report - Q3 & Q4 2023
*This report reflects information from July 2023 to December 2023.
Thanks to the support of Global Giving, Loop continued to be available for Ukrainian, Polish and Russian speaking people in the region of the Ukraine crisis throughout 2023. In the last half of 2023 we see some significant changes to both contexts which has directly affected our partnerships and our strategy going forward.
We saw increased conflict and insecurity in parts of Ukraine, and a shift to discussions of reconstruction in other parts. This was coupled by a move away from the global focus on the Ukraine context to other global crises, thus reducing finances overall. At the same time, the humanitarian system and structures in Ukraine were more structured with more consistent staffing and systems in place, including a rightful role for the Ukrainian government. We saw a noticeable decrease in humanitarian aid and a shift towards an integrative approach for IDPs.
As a result, Loop has focused its efforts within the official system in Ukraine as well as with philanthropic regional networks. We see progress in both areas, for example we are in discussions with the Cash Cluster to use Loop as a collective complaints reporting mechanism and with Philanthropic networks to use Loop to increase their accountability and public awareness of positive impact.
We continue to engage with the AAP and SEA cluster system in Ukraine and are exploring how to position ourselves as a tool to support accountable reconstruction, addressing some of the concerns about Aid Diversion and corruption in the recovery phases. This requires input from our Sensitive Feedback Lead and others on numerous coordination bodies.
During the last half of 2023 we saw significant changes in the structure of funding and humanitarian actors across Poland. The UN fund, led by UNHCR, committed to only partner with national actors from 2024 onwards. Many INGOs' own funds also came to an end. Together this resulted in a significant reduction in the amount of funding and the funding flows across different actors (UN Agencies, INGOs and NGOs).
The last half of 2023 was therefore dominated by partners focusing primarily on their own internal changes, scaling down and out, and capacity building of national partners to take over projects and donor reporting. 2024 will see a significant reduction in funding for all organisations working with refugees, affecting all services but also the makeup of civil society across Poland.
In the first part of the year there was a vibrant civil society, self organising and producing Open Letters, calling donors to be more accountable and developing an optional Letter of Partnership to support more equitable partnerships between local organisations and international partners. We hope that there will be sufficient funding to ensure this vibrant and capable sector can continue and even flourish under the new Government.
In Poland there continues to be a reduced flow of Ukrainians coming across the border and a resulting closure of several facilities. Our team will focus on integrating with existing accountability advocates, such as Our Advocate, Our Ombudsman and the NGO Forum. We will be adaptable based on the needs of the reconstituted civil society, which is likely to address trafficking, exclusion and gender based violence.
Who used Loop in Ukraine and Poland?
The majority of feedback was thanks followed by suggestions. Feedback was primarily about food security and cash. This is significantly different to the height of the migration and conflict when we had a greater percentage of sensitive reports as well as questions (often about legal rights and project details) and requests for support.
We continue to observe that the primary users of Loop are women aged 30-59. They tend to ask questions or report things on behalf of others. The feedback is primarily positive, with some suggestions gently couched in the feedback.
This reinforces a learning in many of the awareness raising and training events, outlined in both Poland and Ukraine, about a lack of cultural awareness of the concept of feeding back. People talk about their needs and experiences but the concept of giving feedback and expecting that to impact a service is not widely accepted or experienced in Poland or Ukraine. Training for Polish and Ukrainian staff needs to start with why feedback is important, that it will help to improve services and that it will help to build strong relationships with communities they serve.
We have seen some of the most engaged feedback from Polish organisations working with Ukrainian populations resulting in positive impact and changes in programming as well as increased funding as a result but we can not assume a level of expectation to give or receive feedback, that we might see in the Philippines for example.
Ukraine and Poland continue to get feedback through a variety of channels. The most used is via the web link (33) followed by Telegram for Ukrainians (28), we receive significantly more than expected through WhatsApp (12) and from Facebook (8), as people said that they don't tend to use these channels as much.
In addition we see feedback in English and in Polish but primarily in a mix of Ukrainian and Russian (89%). At the beginning of the conflict people felt like the platform should not be available in the Russian language as it would reduce the trust in who is listening and engaging with Loop, a new digital mechanism in this context. In 2023 we saw an increased amount of feedback being submitted in Russian from Ukrainians, since 34% of the Ukrainian population speak Russian. As a result we have added Russian onto the platform but this will only go live in January 2024.
Our moderator speaks Russian, Ukrainian, Polish and English. She has been able to understand the feedback, translate it into Ukrainian and then post the feedback so it can be translated into English and other platform languages. In 2024 we will have more accurate data about the Russian vs Ukrainian language split on the platform.
We have partnered with different actors and in different ways across the accountability space with an aim to raise awareness of accountability and to represent the voices of people using Loop. This includes, for example:
Meeting the Refugee Rights Team with the Deputy Ombudsman
MSWiA discussions for the Ombudsman looking at a Ukrainian citizens legal status (brpo.gov.pl)
Our Ombudsman and Loop Hospitality or Xenophobia training
Having a stand at the NGO Fair in Rzeszów organised by the "ProCarpatian" Association and local authorities
A panel discussion on "Activating Society" at the NGO Fair
Participation in the W4UA Summit in Jasionka
Discussions about the third sector in Cieszyn, in partnership with the Q Foundation
Loop being represented at the NGO Forum as a member of the Steering Committee in the first term, along with PAH, Care, Ashoka, and others
Mapuj Pomoc Event
Joint activities with the NGO Forum Razem in Poland including the "Strong Together," online event, presenting the direction of collaborative actions by the Steering Committee
An in person event in Wrocław, with the support of the Ukraine Foundation, discussing NGO perspectives for 2024.
Coordination meeting in Kyiv with the Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) Network;
The Shift The Power Summit in Bogota, Columbia.
Hosting an international online panel discussion titled "Why Don't We Listen?". The panel focused on the responsibility to communities and understanding who serves as an expert in extraordinary situations. The event was co-organized by Loop, ZGF, and the Global Fund for Community Foundations (GFCF).
A strong new partner with Loop in Ukraine is the National Network for Local Philanthropy. They fund local organisations across 11 regions of Ukraine.
In November 2023, we launched a collaboration with the National Network of Local Philanthropy Development and ShelterBox in a project aimed at addressing the basic needs of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in small communities across 11 regions in Ukraine.
Assistance is delivered to those in need through local organisations and municipal authorities. Our responsibility in this project is to collect, convey, and localise feedback from individuals who have either received or not received assistance. One of the most significant values the platform brings is the ability to map and locate potential needs, as noted by our partners.
In early 2024, we will commence a second project in collaboration with the National Network of Local Philanthropy Development, allowing us to further expand our network of contacts in Ukraine.
In November, we initiated a new project collaborating with approximately 11 new partners throughout Ukraine. We continue this project with the National Network for Local Philanthropy and Development (NNoLPD). We envision potential expansion of our network of local NGOs and improvements in their safeguarding policies. This project allowed us to assess our capabilities, identify ongoing needs in the Ukrainian context, especially in smaller locations, and verify the accuracy of our platform's location data.
In November, Loop intensified collaboration with the Cash Cluster Ukraine within the OCHA coordination system. We are currently working with our partners from the Cash Cluster to integrate Loop into their new Telegram Bot through which the Loop platform will be implemented as a CFM (Complaints and Feedback Mechanism) for sensitive reports for the collective Cash programming in Ukraine. We are still in the design and approval stages but this has large potential to add value to a growing network of actors and cash programs.
We also implemented awareness raising and sensitisation campaigns on social media where we had organisations in Poland (10) and Ukraine (92) sign up to Loop. We will follow up in 2024 to do training and onboarding activities.
Plans for 2024
In 2024 the Loop team in Ukraine will:
Increase our work within the Humanitarian structures in Ukraine to integrate with existing approaches including:
- Cash programs as a Collective CBFM and Sensitive reporting tool
- A mechanism to support reconstruction efforts to limit fraud and corruption.
- Identify opportunities to support safe reporting of SEA and GBV, specifically in high risk locations such as Shelter projects and for high risk communities.
Continue to work with Civil Society and Philanthropic organisations as a tool to increase effective programming and accountability.
To do this we will need to scale up our team in Ukraine, establish a host organisation in Ukraine and establish a regional steering committee for Ukraine and Poland longer term integration.
In 2024 the Loop team in Poland will:
Continue our work with the Polish Civil Society sector including through the NGO FOrum, Ombudsman etc
Explore how we can best add value to the longer term Polish Civil Society, specifically in the areas of trafficking, migration, Gender Based Violence and reporting of SEA.
To do this we will continue to explore the best hosting arrangement, potential long term funding avenues and the changing actors and structures as a result of reduced funding flows.