As an organization dedicated to promoting democracy and inclusive government, CitizenLab stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to wear on its people with physical and psychological damage, we cannot passively watch – we must organize in support of Ukraine and its people. Communities in CitizenLab’s network have already acted swiftly to launch support efforts. From coordinating volunteers to collecting donations for Ukrainian refugees, we want to recognize and share these initiatives to inspire other cities around the world to action.
How local governments are using community engagement to support Ukraine
Denmark: ideation in Hørsholm Municipality & Rudersdal Municipality
Denmark’s Hørsholm Municipality and Rudersdal Municipality quickly set up projects in support of Ukraine using their community engagement platform. They used the projects to gather ideas from the community so that those willing to support the municipality’s efforts could volunteer and also suggest their own initiatives. The municipality frequently updates the page to let the community know what the latest status of their support efforts is. To date, they’ve launched welcoming initiatives to offer public and private housing, as well as donations to Ukrainian refugees. In Hørsholm, the local Beekeepers’ Association and local school association have also set up programs to welcome refugees, while refugee-serving organizations such as the Danish Refugee Council and Red Cross are promoting their services and encouraging local residents to volunteer. In Rudersdal, there have been proposals for communal dining, translation services, mentors, accommodation, donation drop-off locations, and a citizens’ meeting for volunteers willing to help on an ongoing basis.
France: volunteering in the City of Annemasse, City of Rueil-Malmaison, & Commune of Ville-d’Avray
In the French City of Annemasse, more than 50 people volunteered to collect donations for Ukrainian refugees through the City’s community engagement platform. The project ran through March 10th, after which trucks full of 900 boxes of donations (food, hygiene and baby products, clothes, and medical supplies) drove to Sieradz, Poland. France’s Rueil-Malmaison and Ville-d’Avray also used their community engagement platforms to mobilize additional support for Ukraine. From making financial donations and volunteering to welcome refugees, the City offered residents an easy way to indicate their availability to support various initiatives. They also used their platform’s project page to update the community on the steps they’ve taken to offer city services to the national government.
United Kingdom: information sharing in Wokingham Borough Council
In the UK, Wokingham Borough Council quickly recognized their community’s call to action in support of Ukraine and its people. They used their community engagement platform to share information about their work with the Ukraine Community Center in Reading and to point the community to the government’s website, full of advice on how the community could best show their support. On their platform they also shared a photo of the Ukrainian flag flying over the borough council’s Shute End offices to show solidarity with Ukraine, stating that the borough council had pledged to play whatever role it is asked to support any Ukrainian refugees and the wider community.
How you can mobilize for Ukraine using community engagement
We recognize that many people want to help, but don’t know where to begin. Hopefully, this post has given you a few ideas of what your city can do through community engagement. Since our platform has an open core model that frees up our essential functionalities, anyone can run the platform on their servers and power basic engagement projects, free of charge. We encourage you to explore our open-source page if this is of interest to you. In the coming weeks, we will also support community organizing efforts by offering our platform to Polish organizations on the frontlines of welcoming refugees.
To help cities and towns eager to support efforts for Ukraine, CitizenLab has also developed ready-to-use templates for its clients to quickly mobilize resources and community members. The templates can be used to share information, coordinate volunteers, offer accommodation, or anything in between.
Our goal is to help governments ensure they waste no time in their efforts to support Ukrainians. Reach out if you have any questions or need support getting started.