Since last blog
In the last blog we explained how conflict-affected communities in eastern Ukraine will benefit from the innovation. In this blog we want to share key findings from the media- and information baseline assessment implemented with the assistance of our project partners CartONG and SimLab in Slovyansk district, Donetsk region.
One of the effects of armed conflict is that information dries up. Along with general destruction, long established communication channels cease to exist – Donbas, a geographic area in eastern Ukraine, compiling Luhansk and Donetsk regions, is no exception. Since the beginning of the conflict in April 2014, many TV, radio, phone and Internet transmission towers have been severely damaged during shelling. Therefore, the mission assessment team focused on analysis of how our target groups experience the general information flow, the accessibility and reliability of internet coverage and mobile telephony.
During the field work, 313 households were surveyed, 12 key informant interviews were conducted with representatives from the IDPs, media, civil society organisations providing assistance to those in need, and two focus group discussions were held with teachers and students.
Although one might think that conflict hinders usage of internet and communication technologies, our report found that Internet and mobile phones are some of the most preferred channels to receive information among conflict-affected communities (see infographics below). One of the survey’s key findings is that for 68% of internally displaces people (IDPs) mobile phone calls with family and friends is the most important and trusted source of information, and 36% rely on text messages. In contrast, 91% of residents cited TV, 64% mobile calls, and 50% internet as main sources.
In addition to these findings, results of a Knowledge, Attitude and Practice survey – which is part of a broader DRC/DDG Mine Risk Education Project in Donbass, confirm that online and mobile based platforms catch up with traditional mediums in terms of where young people look for information. Thus, out of 264 respondents aged 6 to 34 years, 42% named TV as the most convenient or convenient way of receiving information on mine risks and hazardous areas, while 33% cited for text messages, and 29% social media. In a nutshell, despite the destruction, power outages and other impacts of fighting, mass media, mobile and internet operators have quickly restored their operations in the government controlled areas, which is important information for the further development of the platforms to be piloted.
In the next blog we will present preliminary use cases – a model of potential interactions between the project beneficiaries and a web-platform, developed in consultations with the State Emergency Service, local communities and civil society representatives. We will also share reflections on our prototype web- and mobile platforms.
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