What will the war in Ukraine mean for civil society organisations in the region?
Apart from the work The Funding Network does to support charities in the UK, TFN International works in collaboration with partner organisations to share the values, principles, and model with different parts of the globe. A major impact of TFN International is through organisations in Central and Eastern Europe where resources are scarce, private initiative and capital has suffered under Soviet rule and cultures of giving are sometimes created one crowdfunding event at a time.
Just three days before the war started, I had received an e-mail from representatives of community foundations in Ukraine signalling their intention to go through training and workshops with TFN which would lead to new partnerships and support of local initiatives and donor education in the country. TFN International also has had a trusting and supportive partnership in Russia, since 2018, where the TFN model has proved very successful among organisations serving urban and rural communities.
One month later, the situation is devastating and volatile, affecting millions of people and creating a humanitarian crisis on the continent. We have checked in with our partners on the ground in Ukraine who are tirelessly working to provide immediate relief. Some of our partners in neighbouring countries of Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Romania have also created networks of support and are addressing both immediate and medium-term needs of Ukrainian refugees as well as providing aid directly to Ukraine. Our partners in Russia find themselves in delicate situations. We must try to maintain communication with them without compromising their livelihoods. Most likely their work will focus more on providing social services to the impoverished population.
While we still don’t know what the future holds, what rebuilding efforts will look like in Ukraine and what challenges the refugee crisis will bring to the region, we continue to stay connected to organisations on the ground and support our partners through know-how and communication.
Knowing how to support Ukraine can be difficult, particularly if you are keen to support local initiatives. The European Community Foundation Initiative has some useful advice on where to start here, which includes links to TFN Affiliate organisations in Hungary (Roots and Wings Foundation), Romania (Association for Community Relations) and Slovakia (Healthy City Community Foundation).
Mihaela Giurgiu, TFN International Collaborator
If you'd like to read more of Mihaela's insights into the role of local philanthropy initiatives in the current context, have a look at Community Philanthropy, or what it means to be a good neighbour in times of war.