Half Year Report 2021

Making the world a better place while sitting at home? 10 projects, where we did it

We’ve been making the world a better place while sitting at home, and here are ten projects we’ve been working on to do so!

This summer, our NGO Internews Ukraine turned 25. This quarter century at work passed very quickly for our team. Needless to say, the last six months have just flown by! Even though our organization spent this time following a work-from-home policy, we believe that we have still been able to change the world for the better. We have ten great examples of what we’ve been doing in this respect during the first half of 2021.

1. Taught the media to talk about issues in the right manner and find solutions

The development of the Ukrainian media has been one of our top priorities throughout our 25-year history. In 2021, we have remained committed to this goal, which is why we organized a series of events for journalists covering topical issues.

On April 14, we successfully hosted an online-forum on Solutions Journalism with speakers including both Ukrainian and international journalists and media experts. The livestreams of all three of our forum sessions garnered around 50000 views! Through this forum, we continued promoting Solutions Journalism in Ukraine as well as building a network of Ukrainian media professionals working in this field.

The Internews Ukraine analyst team conducted research, supported by the UN Women, on gender stereotypes and sexism in regional media. Based on their results, we developed an educational program and organized four trainings on gender-sensitive journalism for media professionals from different regions of Ukraine.

We also organized a two-day online workshop called Ukrainian Mowa (language): New Learning Opportunities for members of media outlets from Chernivtsi and Zakarpattia Oblasts. During our sessions, we shared useful tips for creating viral stories and top-quality multimedia projects with a focus on the Ukrainian language.

2. Made regional media markets more transparent

Over 150 representatives of international organizations, embassies, universities and state institutions have gained more knowledge about Ukraine’s regional media scene thanks to our Ukrainian Regional Media Guide 2021. We covered the main trends of mass media development in all Ukrainian regions, as well as data on the editorial boards of popular local publications, including their (un)official owners. We recorded the main changes faced by Ukraine's regional media space after the 2020 local elections.

3. Exposed new ‘tricks’ of anti-Western propaganda

Nowadays, pro-Russian disinformation in Ukraine has become much more insidious than it was seven years ago. That’s why Internews Ukraine analysts keep a close watch on the hydra of anti-Western propaganda.

In order to understand why Ukrainians believe in conspiracy theories and fake news spread to undermine democratic values in Ukraine, we conducted joint multidisciplinary research together with the Arena program, the Kharkiv Institute for Social Research and Public Interest Journalism Lab. The report is available via the link.

As part of the project Antibot: How to Resist Information Manipulations, we not only held around 10 complex training sessions (with basic and advanced levels) for activists and media professionals, but also discovered how Russia has used Facebook to spread a narrative about Ukraine’s ‘external governance’, strengthen its control over Crimea and attract new followers in Germany.

This year, our team’s analysts have also started to use CrowdTangle – a Facebook tool that allows users to conduct in-depth analysis of messages on the platform. Internews Ukraine is among few organizations in Ukraine which have got access to the tool.

4. Engaged street artists in fighting fake news

Only 3% of Ukrainians can tell the difference between the truth and a lie in a set of three news items. In order to change this situation, we decided to use the language of street art and launched a unique international project called ARTIFAKE. We engaged almost 50 street artists from Ukraine, Poland and Armenia in fighting propaganda. During a five-day creative online workshop, they discussed ‘anatomy’ of lies as well as efficient methods of countering fake news.

We chose three ideas among all the creative concepts presented by our participants and brought them to life in different small towns. The first murals on media literacy appeared in the Ukrainian towns of Kakhovka, Bakhmut and Tokmak – communities that were selected by voting of over 10 000 people.

5. Laid the groundwork for mutual understanding between Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars

In order to counter stereotypes of Crimean Tatars and fill the void of information on their culture in Ukrainian society, our organization created the documentary Mountain Breeze. The plot is based on the stories of three Crimean Tatars who had to leave the peninsula after the arrival of the Russian occupation and search for their new ‘home’ in mainland Ukraine.

The work on the documentary started under the Diversity Enriches project supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ukraine. We also got financial and expert assistance for its further implementation thanks to winning the Pitch UA 3 contest. Foreign journalists who attended a private screening of the documentary we organized during the Crimea Platform Summit offered glowing reviews. While we are preparing the first public screening of the documentary, we invite you to watch the trailers via this link.

6. Reminded international journalists that Crimea is Ukraine

In order to keep the issue of Crimea’s return to Ukraine relevant in foreign media, the Internews Ukraine team organized a press trip for foreign journalists to the first Crimea Platform Summit. In total, 24 journalists from well-respected media outlets including Le Monde, El Pais, Politico, France 24 and Gazeta Wyborcza attended events as part of the Ukrainian diplomatic initiative. Following the press trip, millions of people from Europe and America saw the materials on the Summit.

7. Brought Ukraine closer to the world and brought the world closer to Ukrainians

Our English-language publication UkraineWorld continued telling the world about Ukraine. For over a year, we informed international audiences on events related to the COVID-19 pandemic in Ukraine on our special Coronavirus in Ukraine page, posting live updates. When we concluded the project in May 2021, it had garnered 50 000 views.

Under the ‘Stories from Ukraine project, our journalists made major strides in developing mobile storytelling. We produced 40 video reports on people and initiatives that are transforming Ukraine, thus working to break established stereotypes and negative perceptions about our country abroad. The format has turned out to be an incredibly efficient way to communicate positive narratives, since the project videos have been watched almost 400 000 times!

This is why we have decided to use mobile storytelling in our new Values Through Stories project about people who are shaping the European future of Ukraine. Videos from this series show stories of people from different regions which prove that human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, human rights, diversity and responsibility are not mere buzzwords, but values that have been already embraced by Ukrainians.

8. Launched a program for new leaders of change in eastern Ukraine

Together with the East Europe Foundation, we launched the Academy of Public Activism: a comprehensive study program to develop and support civic leaders in Donetsk, Luhansk and Kherson Oblasts. 175 Academy students improved their communication skills thanks to 24 issue-related webinars.

Public activists applied the skills they acquired when they participated in a large-scale online networking eventa two-day hackathon on public activism. The participants formed 20 coalitions and, while being mentored by experts, built up concepts for future projects. Judges selected 12 winners who would move on to compete for grants of 200 000 UAH to implement their initiatives.

9. Made the parliament more accessible to the Ukrainian people

To make the work of the Verkhovna Rada more understandable to Ukraine’s citizens, we organized a series of public events and study activities under the USAID RADA Program. Almost 1500 people attended the Days of Parliament held in several oblasts (Volyn, Khmelnytskyi, Kyiv and Kharkiv Oblasts). Moreover, 20 000 watched live broadcasts of the events. We also sent kits with Rada-info mini-displays to 65 higher education institutions to explain how Rada deputies do their jobs, the functions of committees, and the features of the legislative process, as well as possibilities for citizens to participate in this process, to Ukrainian students in a clear and interactive way.

10. Supported the development of transparent privatization and small agribusiness

To facilitate the democratic development of Ukrainian society, we have been actively working on communications for important reforms. For example, the Internews Ukraine team successfully held a series of webinars on transparent privatization and leasing of state property. Around 100 journalists and civic activists were instructed on the features and opportunities of this reform, as well as on the subtleties of working with and covering open data. We have also created several communications projects to help people find out more about privatization itself, namely publications on how to purchase state property and a brief quiz on what kind of investors readers are in a special project by

Communication experts from our organization also provided support to the USAID AGRO project to help small and medium agribusinesses. We write articles on agricultural hubs and use of drones in agriculture. We also create videos about how Ukrainian sun-dried tomatoes and craft goat cheeses are produced.

And while the future will have new challenges in store for us, Internews Ukraine continues to make every effort to help develop an efficient society and a successful Ukraine. Thank you for supporting us along the way!