SoDA

The tech sector has a responsibility to support people during times of crisis; the war in Ukraine is no exception

Organisations across the globe have voiced their support for the people of Ukraine since the war began at the start of 2022. It’s a devastating time for many, and for those of us watching from afar it can feel like there’s little to be done. However, for the tech sector, it’s a very different situation. Using technology for good is fundamental to supporting and shaping society in a way that benefits people and communities. Now, as Ukrainians face a war on the ground and online, it’s crucial that tech giants and SMEs alike put their solutions, applications and products to use for social good.

Tech for good is a growing trend for many IT and tech organisations that want to offer their services, solutions and innovations for a range of causes. For example, technology is being harnessed to tackle climate change, evolve healthcare practices and so much more, and a humanitarian crisis should be treated as just as much of a priority.

Collaboration is key

As the war in Ukraine continues, tech and IT companies need to focus on helping people on the ground, as well as refugees who are leaving their homes to find safety. To unlock the potential of IT and technology for social good, it’s essential that tech leaders’ access and collaborate with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that can direct assistance in the most effective way possible.

Refugees and people in Ukraine can benefit from tech organisations working with NGOs in a number of ways, from tackling the spread of disinformation to providing people with information and support. That’s exactly what dozens of Polish IT and tech companies are doing through Tech to the Rescue, an initiative that connects technology and IT companies with non-profit organisations (NGOs) to boost the impact of tech for good, enabling the creation of innovative solutions for the world’s most pressing issues.

There are already 60 matched projects that are making a difference to people’s lives, from finding suitable accommodation for refugees settling in Poland, to therapy apps for children to help them through the trauma of the war.

Supporting refugees with innovative solutions

Tech to the Rescue is the brainchild of Tomasz Karwatka, CEO of Divante, an eCommerce solutions company and a member of SoDA. So far, more than 700 IT and technology companies have rallied to support 150 NGOs aiding Ukrainian refugees, of which four are members of SoDA, including Netguru, Divante, 10Clouds and SoftServe.

10Clouds has been working collaboratively with Humanosh and also recently finishing a project with Akademia Pedagogiki Specjalnej. Divante is currently working on a web development project for non-profit company Renaissance, while SoftServe has recently finalised a project providing insights into how Ukrainian refugees can transition to online learning in order to continue their education beyond the war.

Physical and emotional wellbeing

One example of a major Tech to the Rescue project is UASOS, a platform that connects refugees seeking accommodation with individuals, institutions, NGOs and accommodation providers that can offer safe housing. Another is Yesterday Today Tomorrow (YTT), a free app offering psychological support to Ukrainian children, developed by AI Quotient. The app can be used by parents and caregivers to help children through the trauma of the ware in Ukraine.

Integration for new migrants

For Ukrainian people leaving their homes, Safe Ukraine is a platform that gathers questions and answers to help them with their first steps towards building a life in Poland. It includes practical information on obtaining assistance, understanding basic legal issues and support with residence status.

Addressing the cyber war

Projects have also been established to tackle cybercrime and the spread of misinformation, as much of the war is being fought online. The software development company, Vazco, is working with Demagog to bolster its website and provide cybersecurity solutions to fight against disinformation and propaganda. This partnership started many years ago and is now being ramped up in response to the war in Ukraine.

MIM Solutions has created an AI-based model that detects anti-Ukrainian content on Twitter. The algorithm scans tweets in Polish to identify accounts that generate pro-Russian propaganda. Alongside this, Zglostrolla is a platform that counters fake news to fight the spread of misinformation. People can report suspicious content to the site, which is sent to analysts for initial review. It then goes to NASK – a state-owned research institute that focuses on the security of Polish cyberspace – for verification, before being submitted to social media platforms.

Making a difference through tech

There is an incredible amount of work being done by tech companies and NGOs to help the people of Ukraine, and the projects being carried out by Polish IT and tech organisations is a shining example of what is possible.

Through collaboration, determination, and a shared passion to do what is right with the power that they have, a real impact is being made on people during a time of crisis. While we hope that the war in Ukraine and other crises happening across the world end swiftly, we also hope that when disaster does strike – whether natural or manmade – the tech community will come together to support communities and the planet.

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