United for Ukraine: A Year of Impact and the Journey Ahead

January 4, 2024

As we kick off 2024, the UFU team sat down to reflect upon our achievements and impact in 2023 and consider the journey ahead.

Our team's hard work, impactful partnerships and commitment to making a difference have resulted in remarkable achievements. Here's a glimpse of what we've accomplished together:

UFU Platform

2024 started in Ukraine with the most severe attacks on the civil infrastructure as the battle on the frontlines rages on. In 2023, UFU carried on its mission to provide qualitative support to Ukraine’s most valuable resource - its people. Building on the successful launch and development of the UFU Platform in 2023, the UFU team, supported by its partners, continued providing critical information and services, such as legal aid and housing to people displaced by the Russian war. 

As our services spanned 40 countries in 2022, in 2023, we expanded our reach to Ukraine. This development was first prompted by the number of people returning to Ukraine and an increasing number of internally displaced and affected individuals. As the governments and various institutions stepped up their systematic support abroad, we have also reacted to the changing realities and focused the support of our digital liaison officers and service teams on specific emergency cases. Staying true to our DNA, we have partnered with other NGOs to provide meaningful and qualitative support to those who most need it. For example, UFU started cooperating with Helping to Leave, Sunflower Care e.V., Lobby X, Find Refugee, AI4Good, Danish Refugee Council, Caritas Ukraine and numerous other organisations to support individuals who are being evacuated from the front zones or de-occupied territories, veterans and their families leaving Ukraine for treatment abroad, children and their families who receive medical treatment abroad, etc. We have further extended our cooperation with AirBnB and Phineo AG to continue our offering of free housing in critical situations. 

UFU’s quality of services tremendously benefited from the support of the International Rescue Committee, MercyCorps and Meta - organisations that not only supported the development of the technological layer of the UFU Platform but have also funded the creation of a fully operational team of digital liaison officers who respond to inquiries and provide contentious live support to our users. As much as we cherish and continue relying on and further developing the technological layer of our services and organisation, the human element remains indispensable, especially in a humanitarian crisis of this magnitude. UFU is grateful to its partners for the possibility to develop and successfully implement this pillar of our services. 

As the critical situation abroad is becoming less pressing, about 70% of requests that UFU received in the last year came from Ukraine. Overall, the number of requests and services provided remains very high. With the ongoing war, intensifying attacks on civil infrastructure, and, frankly speaking, uncertainty about the length, the intensity of the war, and the scale of future damages and needs, the UFU Platform will remain one of the core pillars of UFU’s services. 

UFU Platform Results as of the end 2023:

54000 + individual requests processed by our digital liaison officers

8200 +  individual legal aid requests answered by our team and pro bono partners

13000 +  individuals received housing support 

71000 + views on YouTube 

700000 + monthly reach of out social media platforms

UFU as an Emerging Leader on the Global Stage

The growing number of users of the UFU Platform is the primary indicator that we remain on the right track, deliver qualitative informational support, and tailor services where and when these are needed most. We are also proud that the hard work of the team and the unwavering support of our partners have also been recognised on the highest level internationally. UFU team was excited and humbled to receive the following recognitions in 2023:

  • SXSW Social Innovation Awards 2023
  • 2023 Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Awards 

New Projects Ahead

As a young organisation, we naturally cannot rest on our laurels, especially as the situation in Ukraine and the overall impact of the Russian war on Ukraine remain dire. Thus, our team is relentlessly analysing the requests we receive from the people affected by the war, the country's needs, and the situation in the host countries. As we constantly improve and develop our services, UFU looks forward to launching two new programmes in 2024:  #Homecoming and #UnitedForHeros. We have already finished the first stages of developing concepts and obtaining the support of the first critical partners for these programmes, and we cannot wait to launch powerful and critical projects this year. Please stay tuned for more updates and reach out if you want to learn more and become a part of these impactful initiatives.

UFU Recovery

Following numerous humanitarian and advocacy projects in 2022 and 2023, our primary focus was building a consolidated and solid second pillar of our organisation - UFU Recovery. UFU Recovery aims to provide know-how and funding for Ukraine's sustainable and equitable economic recovery. UFU Recovery equips change-makers, individual entrepreneurs, and small and medium-sized enterprises with the resources to remain resilient and develop and build sustainable economic solutions.

In 2023, we have developed vital concepts and concluded key partnerships to deliver our flagship programmes in collaboration with international partners: Green Leadership Academy and Women LEAD programme.

Green Leadership Academy - in cooperation with EIT Climate-KIC, Europe’s largest climate-focused public-private partnership with a mission to innovate towards a net zero, carbon-resilient economy, UFU will deliver the Green Leadership Academy for Ukraine. Supported by international partners and in collaboration with experts and industry leaders across Europe and Ukraine, the Green Leadership Academy will provide the know-how, practical experience and unparalleled network for generating enduring environmental and social impact. 

Women LEAD - UFU’s continuous collaboration with the Nobel Women Initiative prompted them to design and deliver an actionable programme supporting female entrepreneurs and female-led initiatives focusing on sustainable development in the areas of health care and wellbeing, education and economic development. The programme has been inter alia based on learnings and observations from the NWI Delegation to Poland and Ukraine in 2022 and Oh, Sister Documentary - a documentary about six women facing the challenges of the ongoing Russian invasion and fighting for peace, justice and freedom in Ukraine. 

Starting in September 2022, the Oh, Sister documentary has been screened in New York, Brussels, Berlin, Oslo, Geneva, Washington and other places, with the support and involvement of powerful international partners, such as BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt, Brian Kelly, Gbowee Peace Foundation, Tawakkol Karman Foundation and others. Overall, the views reached more than 25,000 online, 60,000 on TV, and over 5,000 at special screenings.

The first call for applications for the Women LEAD Programme was launched in August 2023. Twelve out of more than 120 applicants will receive funding, tailored mentoring, and access to educational programmes to develop and succeed with the business ventures and initiatives aimed at fostering and advancing Ukraine's sustainable recovery in healthcare and wellbeing, education, and sustainable entrepreneurship. We are looking forward to providing more details to you soon!

UFU has also been one of the prominent supporters and presented the Women LEAD programme advocating for the support of Ukraine’s entrepreneurs at the I AM U ARE creators fair in Los Angeles. I Am U ARE gathered 180 creators from the Tech, Fashion, Art, Ethnology, and Object Design fields and created a one-of-a-kind immersive experience at the fair in Los Angeles. The UFU Team is proud to support this critical initiative and was impressed by the number of sustainable solutions presented during the fair.  

Entering 2024 as a robust and ambitious international organisation

Last but not least, 2023 has been demanding from an organisational perspective. As a young organisation, building a sustainable team, structures, and processes takes time, patience and resilience. We are proud to enter 2024 with robust policies and procedures in place, a dedicated team, expertise-based volunteers and our partners. Having incorporated our Ukrainian entity in October 2023, we further very much look forward to expanding and strengthening our organisation and our impact even further. 

Looking ahead to 2024, we first and foremost believe in achieving extraordinary and qualitative results by deploying the power of cooperation, solid partnerships and expertise-based volunteering. As the devastating Russian war drags on, the UFU team remains resourceful and confident in the victory of Ukraine and the whole democratic world. To stay on track, we keep reminding ourselves that we are not helpless.  On the contrary, we are privileged, as we can always choose to act and provide support. United, we can rely on each other's strength and expertise, become even more powerful and provide more positive and lasting impact.

A heartfelt THANK YOU to all our partners, colleagues, volunteers, friends, and those who follow and support UFU’s mission!

Let 2024 be a year of unity, extraordinary resilience, powerful cooperation and relentless action. 

We are always grateful for your donations, referrals, new partnerships and collaborations. Do not remain silent, do not become indifferent, believe in positive change and peace with us!

Your UFU Team    

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