Introducing Premise’s Open Build Ukraine Project

by | Mar 18, 2022


This week, Premise hosted our first live virtual session as part of the Ukraine Open Build initiative, an effort to allow humanitarian organizations responding in and around Ukraine to commission their own data collection through Premise. In our session, we overviewed some of the data we’re collecting as well as some early insights from the project. 

The goal of the Ukraine Open Build is to hone in on the data most useful to the humanitarian community and provide them access to that data. For example, a large provider of emergency medical commodities is already working with Premise to obtain stock data from pharmacies in Ukraine in order to respond with supplies quickly and in the right places.

The session was hosted by Chris Watson, Director of International Development, and Becca Abu Sharkh, Solutions Consultant for International Development. We’ve provided the time codes for the session below, so you can quickly jump to the data you want to see. 

If you would like to participate in the Ukraine Open Build or receive our weekly situation reports, please reach out to us by emailing [email protected].

View the full session below.

4:00 -Introduction to the Premise insights platform

4:30 – List of humanitarian data collection Premise is currently undertaking

5:30 – Explanation and results of Food Access & Security in Ukraine task

10:24 – Explanation and results of Ukraine Fuel Availability task

12:57 – Explanation and results of Observations of Ukrainian Refugees & Community Willingness to Host task

21:41 – Q&A 

Session contents

The session kicked off with the full list of humanitarian tasks Premise has live in Ukraine and across Eastern Europe. These ranged from surveys on community needs, such as lack of access to safe drinking water and medical attention, to monitoring the prices of staple foods and understanding the largest healthcare concerns in a community. In just the last seven days, Premise has gathered over 7,000 individual submissions in the region, including both sentiment survey responses and photo submissions for observational tasks. 

What followed that was a presentation on a subset of those tasks-those on food security, fuel availability, and refugees in host communities. 

Food Security 

Premise has tasked Ukrainian Contributors with a series of questions to gain an understanding of current and potential food security issues, including how their household obtained food in the last week, their satisfaction with their access to food, any strategies they’ve had to employ to adapt to limited resources, and the availability of food staples like rice, flour, and meat. We supplemented the survey data with observations from grocery stores, asking our Contributors to take photos of shelves and report on stock levels. 

Initial results show that Contributors in the westernmost Oblasts such as Lviv and Rivne report the highest levels of satisfaction with food access in their community, whereas Contributors in Kherson, Kharkiv, and Kiev Oblasts report some of the lowest levels of satisfaction. Flour shortages are most pronounced in Kharkiv Oblast 65%, followed by Kherson 64% and Sumy 56% Oblasts whereas meat shortages are most pronounced in Kiev Oblast 62%, followed by Luhans’k 59% and Sumy 58% Oblasts.

Overall, despite many major cities remaining under Ukrainian control, the number of contributors living with very limited food stocks is worryingly high. Out of 247 total submissions, almost 38% reported they would need to purchase food within the next 2 days. 

Based on this data, one organization involved in food security forecasting is now working with us to collect more detailed data on these concerns in eastern Ukraine. This will enable early alerts when certain areas are no longer being adequately serviced by the market and will need emergency food aid. 

Fuel Availability

Our findings suggest that access to fuel is decreasing across the country, and at many stations not completely out of fuel, certain types of fuel are unavailable. Our data shows that wait times are increasing-60% of Contributors reported wait times of 30 minutes or more-and 63% of Contributors report having to visit multiple gas stations in order to find fuel. This data is critical to humanitarian activities, considering fuel availability is essential to moving any type of goods around the country, and impacts people’s ability to migrate to areas further from the front lines. 

Refugee Support 

Premise has networks in Poland, Romania, Moldova, and Hungary, border countries where Ukrainian refugees are arriving in high numbers. Most refugees are settling in host communities as opposed to refugee centers, and many of those people-especially in Poland-are not registered with any government or non-profit organization. This presents challenges to providing an effective response, so Premise is running a recurring survey to understand where refugees are clustered and what are the most common needs. 

Premise Contributors in Poland, Romania, and Moldova perceive psychosocial concerns related to family separation and overall distress to be the highest concerns among refugees settling in their communities. Beyond that, financial concerns and care for children and elderly household members rank high across the three countries. 

We have also asked questions about host community sentiment toward receiving refugees. We found a high overall willingness to host refugees, but there are concerns about the impact of refugee inflows on their current labor markets, particularly in Moldova where there is the highest number of refugees per capita, and about the spread of COVID-19 and other health risks. 

What’s Next

We know that some of our partners are using data from Facebook and regional telecommunications providers to understand where people are clustering at a zip code-level. It makes sense to follow that up by tasking Premise Contributors with interviewing people there in order to have a very clear situational understanding.

We also expect that access to cash and financing will become a major issue, with emergency cash assistance likely to be rolled out. We hope to launch surveys in neighboring countries to understand the impact that will have on core goods and services. 

Please reach out to us at [email protected] if you have a need for this data, a need for a different type of data that would be of use to your humanitarian organization, or would like to continue receiving updates from us on the project and the data we’re collecting.