In the last blog we shared the stories of Oksana Saenko – a potential beneficiary of the MApps project. In this blog we want to take one step back and give room to reflect a bit over how it is to implement a project like the MApps in an ongoing, armed conflict.
When armed conflict is ongoing, the provision of information is often the only tool available to humanitarian mine action responders to protect civilians until capacity is available and areas can be accessed for clearance. Information about safe behaviour can strengthen resilience and can change the fate of potential victims of the deadly hazards.
But testing new tools does not come without challenges when the context is an ongoing armed and deep political crisis. Information gathering is most often considered heavily controversial in conflict situations – and especially information related to unexploded ordnance, let alone locations of mines. This is no different in the current context of Ukraine and the pilot team recently had to disable one of the project products and shift focus to a strengthened dialogue with national partners instead of actual implementation. That project implementation could be a challenge was no surprise to the MApps team. However, this challenge is only exacerbated, when national legislation, mandates or roles and responsibilities remain unclear as well as when stances and politics change.
The way the pilot team is handling this challenge is to reinforce focus on dialogue with national partners as well as keeping a very strong focus on continuous context- and stakeholder analysis. Exactly these two focuses are considered to be critical in order to ensure the innovation remains relevant in the given context. Implementing innovative projects is challenging because many adjustments may be necessary before the final ‘product’ is reached; implementing innovation projects in conflict contexts and emergencies adds many uncertainties as the context is prone to unpredictable and sudden changes that profoundly may change the foundation the innovation is based on. This therefore requires the pilot team to be even more open to adaptations, while at the same time staying true to the project objectives. Dialogue, analysis and persistence are the strongest tools at hand to ensure a relevant implementation.
In the next blog we will share more about the advances in our dialogues and analysis in the challenging Ukrainian context.
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