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Waiting for the Sky to Close: The Unprecedented Crisis Facing Women and Girls Fleeing Ukraine - Slovakia 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.

HIAS Ukraine Crisis Frequently Asked Questions

March 8, 2022

On February 28, HIAS deployed a humanitarian assessment team to Poland. The assessment results, which will ensure we can provide aid that matches the actual needs, will be ready to be implemented during the week of March 6. From initial reports, the most immediate needs are housing, cash, and other basic support. We anticipate this will change over time.In this post-immediate phase of the response, as is common in many humanitarian crises, the delivery of aid is becoming less ad-hoc and grassroots and more organized and professional. HIAS is actively pursuing partnerships to provide a full complement of humanitarian assistance in Poland and elsewhere in the region.

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.

Conflict in Ukraine: Situation Report #1

February 24, 2022

Russia has launched a multi-effort attack on Ukraine, crossing the border from several points on the eastern and northern border as well as through southern ports and Crimea, with focus on military installations and airports. The offensive has prompted massive displacement from the capital of Kyiv and other parts of the country, with several thousand people entering Moldova and neighboring countries on high alert for continued displacement.Kyiv has instituted a daily curfew, and public transportation stations have opened as shelters as Russian forces attack nearby military bases and airports, and air raid sirens have sounded across the capital since the attacks began on the evening of February 23rd. Ukraine's ambassador to the United States told reporters today that the Ministry of Health has stated hospitals have been attacked by Russian forces, although this has not been confirmed from other sources.According to Ukrainian officials, Russian forces entering Ukraine from Belarus have captured the radioactive Chernobyl exclusion zone. The 1,000-squaremile protective zone lies in the direct shortest path from Belarus into Kyiv. Ukrainian forces attempted to defend the storage unit containing nuclear dust, that if disturbed, could cover Ukraine, Belarus, and other countries in the European Union.The port city of Odessa incurred significant shelling overnight, with emergency services struggling to extinguish fires and rescue citizens. Ukrainians near the conflict zones are lining up to access cash and fuel, and although communications and cell towers are reportedly functional for now, citizens are preparing for significant disruptions to supply chains, health care, and road access.Ukraine declared independence following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the country has had a complicated relationship with Russia since then. In 2014, Russian forces annexed Crimea, and have maintained control of the peninsula since then. A few months later, Russian-backed separatists in Donbas took control of the region, and Russia's President Vladimir Putin recognized Donetsk and Luhansk earlier this week as he paved the way for extensive military action in Ukraine.

Taking the Pulse of the European Foundation Sector : Moving from Proving Impact to Improving Impact

January 1, 2022

This report contains key insights, survey data and case studies from the first year of the European and Spanish Communities of Practice on Impact Measurement and Management (IMM), coordinated by the Esade Center for Social Impact with the support of BBK. These groups of foundation professionals from 15 countries have come together to increase the level of transparency, knowledge-sharing and exchange within the European foundation sector on this topic. Building on the transcribed discussions and surveys of approximately 40 European foundations, the authors have developed several learnings they hope will help the whole European foundation sector, as well as any other organizations that want to measure and manage their impact. In this perspective, the report also includes tables outlining what the different 'levels' of practice might be, so that the reader can understand what the impact management learning journey looks like at different stages (beginner, on the journey, and advanced).In addition to the present report, the following page provides links to the recording of the launch of the report as well as presentation slides: 

Building Trust in Journalism – Slovakia

July 1, 2021

This policy report provides an overview of the challenges and opportunities that the media are facing in Slovakia. Based on a number of interviews that took place with key Slovak media stakeholders, it finds that the Slovak media landscape is currently the freest of the Visegrad countries, despite an increase in both government and oligarch control of media. These findings are in line with its RSF Press Freedom Ranking of 33rd place in 2020, up two places on the previous year. The murder of investigative reporter, Ján Kuciak, in 2018 was a turning point which established sense of solidarity amongst  the  media  profession  which  is  coupled  with an apparent desire amongst some of the public to investigative journalism, demonstrated through their financial support of a number of influential independent media titles. There are some concerns in relation to mainstream media ownership which appears to remain firmly in the grip of a select number of financial groups and oligarchs with strong business and economic interests although a recent sale of shares in leading publication the Denník SME to the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), a non-for-profit investment fund for independent media raises some hope. The government also continues to control the public media through politicised appointment processes and public advertising spend. The popularity of websites, which are typified by health disinformation and anti-European Union narratives, is a further cause for concern as similar narratives are now being disseminated by some of the online media. The tradition for investigative journalism is strong in Slovakia, however, and it is having some impact on policy and tackling corruption.

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.

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.