Enabling the local response: Emerging humanitarian priorities in Ukraine March–May 2022


Project summary 

In collaboration with the UK Humanitarian Innovation Hub (UKHIH), Humanitarian Outcomes conducted a rapid desk-based review of the humanitarian response as it is currently taking shape inside Ukraine. Through interviews and data scoping research during April-May 2022, the review produced a snapshot of the first three months of the humanitarian response—a primarily local/national endeavour with a still small but growing support and programming presence by the international humanitarian system. The project sought to identify the key issues, challenges, and potential areas of opportunity to avoid past mistakes or at least mitigate the negative externalities and skewed incentives often seen when the international humanitarian sector is activated in a major emergency. 



Key informant interviews
Using a standard interview guide structured along the above research framework, in this first phase the team conducted remote interviews with approximately 50 key informants, from the national and international humanitarian response efforts. 
Literature review
The team gathered a small corpus of documents consisting of formal and grey (internal) literature for background on the context and the latest information on policy, operations and thinking on the issues being explored. Documents were systematically reviewed and excerpted according to the research framework areas and used to support, contextualization, or contrast the primary evidence represented by the interviews and data.
Quantitative: Data scoping and operational mapping
Using preexisting data contacts and information from interviewees on their key sources of information, the project assessed the main data streams of existing operational and other relevant information from OCHA, HDX, and other databases and aggregators/repositories. The purpose was to identify current information gaps as well as to ensure that the project’s own operational data mapping made use of the latest available, reliable data. The mapping exercise aims to superimpose operational presence over levels of need by oblast, identifying national and international efforts.

Research framework 


Area of inquirySub-questionsInformation sources

Operational state of the humanitarian response at month 3

  • Numbers and types of agencies operating by location, sector, and programming level (i.e., remote support, one-off deliveries, or sustained programmatic presence)
  • Estimate of aid worker numbers – nationals and internationals
  • OCHA 3/4Ws
  • Cluster information
  • Agency publications
  • KIIs for verification and elucidation
  • What is the current organisational population of formal NNGOs (pre-existing and newly established)?
  • What CBOs and still-informal volunteer groups are emerging as important players?
  • Relative role of government aid, social protection and key services and activities

Localisation, coordination, and risk management challenges 

  • Where are aid actors getting their information from in terms of needs, security information, other?
  • KIIs
  • Database scoping
What are the current levels and emerging issues around programmatic partnerships between national (including national and local level) and international entities?
  • KIIs
  • NNGO outreach
  • Literature review
What are the specific coordination challenges and how can the international community better support the Ukrainian government and civil society sector based on lessons learned?
  • Literature review
  • KIIs
  • NNGO outreach

For humanitarians, what are the principal operational challenges in terms of: 

  • Security risk
  • Fiduciary risk
  • Funding modalities and availability
  •  Other
  • KIIs
  • Literature review

Promising practices and areas of exploration

What, if any, innovative practices have been observed to date?
What innovative practices from elsewhere might be usefully mainstreamed into the Ukraine response?
What non-traditional humanitarian actors are potentially able to play larger roles?
  • KIIs - all
  • NNGO outreach



  1. Enabling the local response: Emerging humanitarian priorities in Ukraine March–May 2022
  2.  EnglishUkrainian