Celebrating the bravery, resilience, and innovation prowess of the people of Ukraine

  • November 2022

Last month, CARE International and Here I Am Studio, won a tech award for Fatima’s help in collecting the voices of marginalised people in Ukraine. Fatima played a small role in a bigger, complex, and high-risk project in Ukraine that was led by local people.

We want to use this moment to highlight and celebrate the work of the people in Ukraine who made this project possible – especially the 36 enumerators who conducted interviews on-the-ground with 179 people in just 5 days. In any context, five days is an extremely rapid timeline. But within the context of an escalating conflict zone, whilst facing extreme stress and trauma plus frequent movements to find safe locations – is an astounding achievement. Since the escalation of the war began, we have been humbled by the determination, bravery, and resilience of the people of Ukraine. We feel very privileged to have worked with such an incredible team.

Thank you to everyone involved in the Ukraine project–including Felicia Dahlquist, Merit Hietanen, Christina Haneef, Ganna Kvit, and Oksana Potapova – for allowing Here I Am Studio to be part of your team.

Ukrainian Innovation amid a conflict zone

The innovation that emerged amid Ukraine’s escalating conflict zone is inspirational. Beyond Ukraine’s skillful and charismatic use of social media, Ukrainian tech companies – which are used to building commercial digital products and services – have unveiled numerous of their own life-saving tools. Many of these tools were created in addition to individuals’ full-time jobs and the chaos of living in, or leaving, a conflict zone.

With so many new innovations unveiled, choosing which to highlight was difficult. Here are four of the digital service innovations that really inspired our team:

Air Alert: An app that sends life-saving warnings to users amid airstrikes

Built during the cold war, the alarm system used to warn civilians of imminent strikes was reported to be inaudible for many civilians across Ukraine - a life-threatening flaw for Ukrainians desperate to evade surprise attacks.

In a single sleepless day, Ajax Systems created Air Alert: an app that can send alerts to people’s smartphones whether or not they’re on sleep or silent mode. Within a day of Air Alert’s debut on app stores, it was downloaded more than 100,000 times. Now, more than 4 million people use it daily. Google has since made the alert notifications available for all users in Ukraine.

“Yesterday, some soldiers told us this app had saved their lives. We feel very proud to help the country to fight.”

Pomich: A mobilisation platform to link truck owners with humanitarian efforts

Cargofy, a Ukrainian freight tech start-up, rapidly launched Pomich: a platform to link truck owners with people seeking to move food and humanitarian supplies. This brilliant pivot transforms an existing transportation infrastructure into a lifeline for the people of Ukraine.

Diia: A government-led, full-scale companion app

The Ukrainian government has doubled down on its technology capabilities. The ministry’s app, Diia,has rapidly expanded into a full-scale companion for Ukrainians at war. The app features remote job listings for Ukrainians seeking work, a portal of cash payouts for citizens fleeing from combat, plus video-learning lessons and maths classes for children stranded away from school.

eVorog: A chatbot for disclosing Russian military information

People looking to report Russian military locations and behaviours can now send information to eVorog - a ministry Telegram-based chatbot. After verifying that the sender is not Russian, the chatbot asks for the exact location of the military “equipment or occupiers” alongside a photo or video of the scene. That information, the ministry says, is then shared with the Ukrainian military to “quickly repel the enemy.”