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Waiting for the Sky to Close: The Unprecedented Crisis Facing Women and Girls Fleeing Ukraine - Hungary Assessment Report

May 25, 2022

The global humanitarian community is failing to meet the needs of women and girls displaced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and adequately support women- and girl-led organizations on the frontlines of the emergency response, according to a new, seven-part regional assessment from VOICE, in partnership with HIAS.The reports were developed by VOICE's 10-member assessment team, who spent four weeks speaking to women's rights organizations, frontline workers, local NGOs, government workers, United Nations agency actors, and internally displaced and refugee populations in Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. VOICE also conducted virtual interviews with women's rights groups and other local organizations in Ukraine.The reports paint a vivid picture of the challenges faced by women and girls who have been displaced by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, as well as the need to ensure that women's rights organizations and other local actors are integrated into response design and leadership from the beginning.

International Medical Corps Situation Update: Report #5

March 14, 2022

Since February 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a "special military operation" in Ukraine, at least 1,663 civilian casualties have been reported in the country, including 596 killed— far more than the 353 conflict-related civilian deaths recorded in the six years leading up to the invasion. Even so, UN OHCHR believes these numbers to be much higher, as casualties in some areas remain undercounted.As of March 13, Russian military attacks had moved to western Ukraine, with one airstrike at a military base and another at an airport in a separate oblast. Large scale evacuations continue in eastern and northern Ukraine, but have experienced delays or postponement due to hostility along evacuation routes. More than two weeks since the invasion began, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians remain without basic utilities or needs. Many of these people are trapped due to infrastructure or security risks, preventing movement. According to the Ukrainian Energy Ministry, 264,000 users are without gas supplies and 960,000 are without electricity. The security situation continues to obstruct the delivery of humanitarian aid to affected populations who are in critical need. Despite the challenging context, humanitarian assistance has reached 600,000 people. However, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) warns that if the security situation continues to prevent access to basic needs, those affected by the crisis will die of starvation, dehydration, and lack of essential medicines and services.Since the invasion, more than 2.8 million people have fled Ukraine. As of March 14, 1,720,227 people had crossed the border from Ukraine into Poland, 84,671 people had entered Romania, 255,291 had entered Hungary, 106,994 had entered Moldova, 204,862 had entered Slovakia, 131,365 had fled to Russia and 304,156 had fled to other European countries.

International Medical Corps Situation Update: Report #4

March 10, 2022

Since February 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a "special military operation" in Ukraine, at least 1,424 civilian casualties have been reported in the country, including 516 killed—more than the 353 conflict-related civilian deaths recorded in the six years leading up to the invasion. Even so, UN OHCHR believes these numbers to be much higher, as casualties in some areas remain undercounted.Two weeks since the initial attack, shelling and bombing have continued throughout Ukraine, targeting additional cities and moving toward the capital. On March 9, a Russian air strike hit a children's hospital in Mariupol, despite a ceasefire agreement intended to allow civilians in the city, who had been trapped for weeks, to safely evacuate. The Russian Federation and Ukraine have both agreed on a humanitarian corridor to allow for the evacuation of civilians and delivery of humanitarian aid. The corridor is intended to be based out of Sumy in northeastern Ukraine.In the last two weeks, more than 400,000 tons of medical supplies have been delivered to Ukraine to address health needs. With women and children the majority of the fleeing population, protection risks are growing, highlighting the need for gender-based violence (GBV) and child protection services. Destruction of infrastructure has left hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians without water and electricity. Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services will need to be implemented rapidly to avoid sickness and death caused by unsafe water. And because Russia and Ukraine combined supply roughly one-third of global wheat trade, the World Food Programme also anticipates food insecurity throughout Ukraine and the globe.Since the invasion, more than 2.3 million people have fled Ukraine. Last week, Poland received the highest number of Ukrainians, with Romania following behind. As of March 10, more than 1,412,500 people had crossed the border from Ukraine into Poland, more than 84,670 people had entered Romania, 214,160 had entered Hungary, 82,762 had entered Moldova, 165,199 had entered Slovakia, 97,098 had fled to Russia and 258,844 had fled to other European countries.

Information and Resources for People Fleeing the Conflict in Ukraine

March 8, 2022

This guide is for people of all nationalities who have fled the war in Ukraine. If you are a citizen of Ukraine, you can enter countries in the Schengen area, or Romania or Moldova, without a visa. You can stay in these countries for up to 90 days. Information about entering these countries is below. If you are in a country in the European Union, you will be able to apply for temporary protection status, which will allow you to stay longer in that country. More information about this status is below.If you are not a Ukrainian citizen but are fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, you can also enter the below countries that neighbor Ukraine. This admission may be temporary (for example, to allow you to arrange to return to your home country). You may also be able to apply for a longer-term status, like temporary protection or asylum, if you had residency in Ukraine or are unable to return to your home country. This depends on what your legal status was in Ukraine and whether you are able to return to your home country. More information about temporary protection status is below. If you do not want to return to your home country, you may want to seek legal advice from one of the organizations below.

International Medical Corps Situation Update: Report #3

March 7, 2022

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a "special military operation" in Ukraine, invading the neighboring nation in an attack that has been condemned by world leaders. Missile attacks and explosions have been reported throughout Ukraine, with military troops invading from three sides of the country. Since the start of the invasion, at least 364 civilians have been killed, including 14 children, and 1,684 people have been wounded, including 116 children. However, UN OHCHR believes these numbers to be much higher, as casualties in some areas remain undercounted.According to UN OCHA, the attempted evacuation of civilians from the southeast regions of Mariupol and Volnovaka was postponed after being scheduled for March 5. The attempted safe passage of those who remain trapped was thwarted by increasing attacks along the evacuation route, despite assurances of cooperation with a ceasefire. A second humanitarian corridor was planned for March 6, but did not materialize due to similar circumstances. Additional evacuation routes are being urgently explored, along with a possible humanitarian corridor out of Kharkiv in northern Ukraine. Though more than 1.7 million Ukrainians have fled the country, many remain and are in desperate need of food, water and medicine. Affected populations have been unable to receive relief due to the military attacks in and around various cities. Thirty trucks with humanitarian relief supplies remain unable to deliver provisions, as there is no way to safely reach people.

Sister, brother- or just someone who cares. How Giving Circles celebrate the power of giving and reclaim what it means to be a donor.

December 1, 2021

This study explores how a simple idea, which involves bringing people together with the sole purpose of giving – and giving together – has been shaped and adapted to fit in differentcountries and cultures. It draws on a series of conversations with Giving Circle organizers and practitioners from across the GFCF's global network and beyond, and includes perspectives from Belgium, Brazil, Hungary, Palestine, Russia, Romania, South Africa, United States and Vietnam. Some of these Giving Circles have emerged organically, while others have benefited from external mentorship and support.

Roma Early Childhood Inclusion Overview Report

February 24, 2020

The Roma Early Childhood Inclusion (RECI) studies and reports aim to build a comprehensive and detailed picture of the extent of early childhood provision and services, available to Romani families. The studies have been carried out in five countries—Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia—and  endeavour to identify the major obstacles that Romani families face in accessing high-quality, socially inclusive, early childhood care and education. More generally, the studies and reports deliver data and information about communities that are often ignored or misrepresented by official statistics, government policies, ministerial strategies and plans for spending.As previous studies carried out by Open Society Foundations have shown—No Data—No Progress, 2010—the lack of reliable data hampers any attempt to measure the impact of government or international NGO intervention. Planning services and allocating resources to Romani communities are the consequence of "guesswork" rather than knowledge and careful study. The Roma Early Childhood Inclusion reports present a distillation of the most recent and reliable data to be had, in these circumstances, drawn from the actual communities themselves, through interviews and focus groups. Government strategies, policies and action plans are all assessed in this context; what has been the effect of the initiatives aimed at improving the economic and social position for Romani families, in these countries?This Overview Report draws upon data from the five country studies, carried out by Romani and non-Romani researchers working together, to present what are the themes and topics of most relevance to families and young children in settlements and neighbourhoods across central, eastern and south-eastern Europe. A profound lack of equality of access and services, beset by numerous obstacles, characterizes the overall picture, for Roma. The numbers of Romani children that have access to good quality, early childhood education and care provision or who can participate in community and home-based learning programmes, remains minimal in comparison with the surrounding, majority populations.The desperate need for Romani children to be able to access, at least for two years, high-quality, socially inclusive, early childhood education and care services and benefit from effective home visiting and community-based early childhood development (ECD) programmes, is a particular theme throughout the report. This is a minimum requirement that the partner organizations (UNICEF, Open Society Foundation's Early Childhood Program and Roma Education Fund) advocate for at national and international levels, if progress is to be made in improving education outcomes for Romani children.The scale of the changes that need to be undertaken in order to provide equal opportunity for Romani children and families requires that national governments and international institutions (such as the Council of Europe, the European Commission and the European Union's Parliament) act, following the recommendations that these reports deliver.

Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe: Monitoring 2019

August 1, 2019

Presently, the culture of open discussion seems to be threatened in an increasing number of countries. In Central and Eastern Europe's (CEE's) democracies, recent political developments appear to jeopardize progresses made in the past. Against this background, this study aims at shedding light on the dynamics of CEE'scivil society and gives a brief overview of the status quo and recent developments that directly affect civil society. The study was conducted by the Competence Center for Nonprofit Organizations and Social Entrepreneurship at WU Vienna (Vienna University of Economics and Business), commissioned by and in collaboration with ERSTE foundation as well as with a group of country experts. The inclusion of expert assessments on civil society aims at giving a voice primarily to practitioners. Therefore, the study included an online survey in each participating country, addressing CSO representatives operating in various fields of activity.

Open Society Hungarian Grantees 2016

March 3, 2017

The Open Society Foundations have been present in Hungary for 30 years, supporting organizations and individuals who play an active role in defending democratic values, minority rights, freedom of the media, and quality education for all.We are proud to present here the organizations we supported in Hungary in 2016.This brief publication aims to provide insight on our work in Hungary. A note on terminology: we define "Hungarian grantees" as organizations based in Hungary and/or organizations with significant activities in Hungary.

Revisiting the EU Roma Framework: Assessing the European Dimension for the Post-2020 Future

March 1, 2017

In this report, commissioned by the Open Society European Policy Institute, the author, Anna Mirga-Kruszelnicka, sets out to provide a shadow report to the European Commission on the practical implementation of the EU Roma Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies between 2011 and 2016.The report is based on desk research and 27 responses to a questionnaire distributed to active Roma and pro-Roma civil society organizations in nine countries: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. It focuses primarily on the European dimension of the design and implementation of the EU Roma Framework, providing a critical overview of its relevance for the process of implementation of the National Roma Integration Strategies in member states.The report finds that although the very existence of the EU Roma Framework is an achievement in itself and represents a turning point for Roma communities in Europe, by design, it has several major shortcomings. It concludes that post-2020, the EU Roma Framework should be maintained but should undergo a substantial reform that will reorient the current policy design. The recommendations for the EU Roma Framework reform post-2020 are detailed in the report.

Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe: Challenges and Opportunities

March 1, 2017

More than two decades have passed since nonprofit and third-sector researchers "discovered" Central and Eastern Europe as an area of scholarly interest. After the collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the fall of the Iron Curtain, scholars noted the emergence of new civil society actors and were curious to understand the role these actors would play in their societies. Since that time, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) has experienced intensive periods of transformation, conflict and renewal. This study is guided by the intention to develop a better understanding of the current state of civil society in Central and Eastern Europe, the diverse pathways of its development, and its possible future trajectories.

Highlights from Over 30 Years of the Open Society Foundations in Hungary

November 4, 2016

The Open Society Foundations, which now work in over 100 countries, began in 1984 in Hungary, when George Soros set up his first philanthropic foundation in what was then a communist country. Over the years, the development of what was then called the Hungarian Soros Foundation reflected the dramatic political events that unfolded in that country.These earliest developments helped set the priorities that guide the Open Society Foundations today. This publication chronicles how our work in Hungary has evolved over the past three decades, increasing in scope to include everything from journalism to education to health care. Today, the Open Society Foundations continue to fund groups in Hungary, providing over $1 million per year to over 30 Hungarian NGOs.