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IRC and Google back United For Ukraine with a grant and a team of Google.org Fellows to support people fleeing Ukraine with critical information

May 3, 2022

Google.org has committed a $1.5M grant to help the International Rescue Committee (IRC) expand access to critical information for those impacted by war in Ukraine. Through shared personnel and Signpost resources, the IRC is supporting United for Ukraine, a new online portal for people fleeing Ukraine to get support with accommodation, psychological support, legal aid, and jobs. For the next six months, a Google.org Fellowship team of 13+ Google employees will be working hand in hand with the IRC, full-time and pro-bono to help build United for Ukraine and expand Signpost globally.

UNHCR has estimated that more than 5M refugees have already fled Ukraine into neighboring countries. The United for Ukraine platform will provide those displaced with accurate and timely information about services such as temporary housing, and legal aid through a network of 400+ highly experienced legal experts and psychological support professionals across 30+ countries. The platform will be a trusted resource to consolidate and simplify the process for displaced people to flee the country safely and find long-term solutions. United for Ukraine began as a grassroots organization, and will continue to remain a civil society effort, now supported by Signpost’s technology, IRC, and Google. The platform is also powered by technical assistance and tools from Zendesk and Cisco, key global tech partners for IRC and Signpost.

David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, said: “As millions continue to flee the crisis in Ukraine, it’s clear that we need bold commitments and forward-thinking solutions - not just from governments and NGOs - but from the private sector as well. Google.org’s long-standing support of the IRC and the Signpost project exemplifies the bold and innovative thinking we need, and the IRC welcomes this continued collaboration in creating solutions to the humanitarian emergency in Ukraine. By harnessing Signpost technology and resources, we will expand the reach of the United for Ukraine platform, providing displaced families and people with critical information about legal services, housing support, and more.”

Rowan Barnett, Director Google.org in EMEA, said: “Providing access to authoritative information and connecting displaced people fleeing the war on Ukraine to critical services is crucial. We're proud to have a team of 13 Google.org Fellows who for the past six weeks have joined the IRC Signpost team to build this platform, and who will be working pro-bono and full-time for the next six months to help scale this vital effort."

Nina Levchuk and Olga Hamama, co-founders United for Ukraine, said: “ Empowered by the unprecedented spirit and strength of our community, we vow to never stop our action. As soon as the war is over, we will channel this power to rebuilding Ukraine and creating the cradle of Contemporary Democracy and Modern Economy.”

David Miliband, CEO and President of the International Rescue Committee visited the Google office in Berlin today, where he met with United for Ukraine’s founders and Google executives.

In the coming months, the private sector and aid agencies will continue to collaborate together to build a meaningful response to the fallout from the war brought to Ukraine.   What is built for the emergency of today will also remain in the toolkit for future responses to crises as Signpost continues to scale worldwide.

Signpost was originally launched by the IRC and Mercy Corps in 2015 at the height of the European refugee crisis. Google became a supporter of the Signpost project at the same time, collaborating to create the first version of Signpost for refugees in Greece. Since then, Signpost has expanded to 15 countries on 5 continents. Two additional nonprofit partners - Internews and NetHope - have joined the collaborative project. Signpost has reached over 20 million people with information to equip its clients to make critical decisions and find reliable access to vital services.