The escalation of conflict in Ukraine continues to fuel a devastating humanitarian crisis that is affecting the lives of millions of people. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) is helping to coordinate emergency response in Ukraine and other countries impacted by the conflict, in collaboration with local Red Cross and Red Crescent teams. 510, the Data & Digital initiative of the Netherlands Red Cross, has supported the Ukrainian Red Cross and other National Societies over the past year with data & digital products and services through the IFRC regional support structure in Budapest. Through this coordinating structure, our remote teams focus on Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) and Digital Community Engagement and Accountability (CEA).

Reach out to us

Please read more about our products and services here or reach out to us with any questions:
Cash and Voucher Assistance: Lars Stevens (
Community Engagement and Accountability: Jonath Lijftogt (

‘Community Engagement and Accountability is crucial for any Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) program to be successful. It is essential to ensure that the resources are used for the intended purpose, and that the CVA program meets the needs of the community and People Affected.’

Güneş Alpan (IFRC CEA for CVA Delegate)

The Netherlands Red Cross and 510 supported the Ukraine & Impacted Countries Emergency Appeal by supplying highly skilled team members who provided strategic and operational support. On the CEA side, 510 has developed a process for Social Media Listening, providing insights into needs for National and Regional CEA Coordinators, and has helped implement a CEA Coding Framework across the operation to enable a structured analysis of feedback from communities and People Affected .

On the CVA side, the Netherlands Red Cross and 510 have developed a centralized case management system, a data management solution for Shelter programs in Poland and Slovakia, help roll out cash programs in all surrounding countries, and provide operational insights to decision-makers.

Cash and Voucher Assistance

‘Giving cash to People Affected by disasters is an effective, efficient, and transparent way of providing humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable. It ensures people have the freedom, dignity, and independence to decide on their own recovery.’ (IFRC). The IFRC is a world leader in cash and voucher assistance and is committed to delivering 50% of its humanitarian assistance through cash and vouchers by 2025.

In the Ukraine and surrounding countries, Cash and Voucher Assistance is a major component of aid being distributed. 510 supported with Cash Information Management (Cash IM). Cash IM is used to track and monitor the impact of cash assistance programs, identify gaps and inform decision-making. This helps to ensure that cash assistance is distributed to People Affected in a timely, efficient, and transparent manner. By collecting and analyzing data, Cash IM also helps to improve program design, delivery, and accountability.

‘Cash and Voucher Assistance is scaling up. The Ukraine and surrounding countries program is a clear example of this. It’s essential to set up Cash Information Management systems to efficiently and effectively handle cash programs.’

Maarten van der Veen (Founder and team lead 510)

‘Community Engagement allows People Affected to have a voice and be involved in shaping decisions and policies that directly affect them.’

Jonath Lijftogt (Digital CEA specialist 510)

Community Engagement & Accountability

Community Engagement and Accountability (CEA) is an approach to Red Cross and Red Crescent programming and operations. Supported by a set of activities that help put communities at the center of what we do, CEA integrates communication and participation throughout the program cycle or emergency operation. Community engagement recognizes and values communities as equal partners and ensures their opinions are heard and used to design humanitarian work. 510 designs and develops digital products and services that support this way of working and that enable National Societies and their partners to maintain close contact with the communities they are helping. The CEA products and services that have been implemented during the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine are Social Media Listening and the Helpful Information Web App.

‘I use the Social Media Listening report in my daily work to adjust and improve the communication of our CVA programs. Having thousands of messages summarized in actionable points, it’s magic.’

Güneş Alpan (IFRC CEA for CVA Delegate)

Social Media Listening

With Social Media Listening, it is possible to scan posts and messages on social media and instant messaging applications. The messages are scraped, analyzed, translated, and clustered to provide a qualitative and quantitative summary of the most discussed topics by People Affected. These insights provide an unbiased understanding of their needs, fears, feedback, sentiments, and experience. It supports the CEA focal points in defining communication campaigns and activities and it can inform programmatic improvements.

In June 2022, 510 started the Social Media Listening project with more than 20 Telegram groups in Ukraine and neighboring countries (Poland, Slovakia, Romania – Moldova and Bulgaria have been added in February 2023). Every two weeks, a data model developed by 510 Data Scientists scrapes and translates thousands of messages posted in these Telegram groups. A large sample of these messages is then read by 510 Human Centered Designers, who cluster them to Frequently Asked Questions, needs, and more general insights.

With this way of working, thousands of messages are translated and presented in a 1-page cross-regional report and a 2-page country report that facilitates the Regional and national CEA teams to define, implement and improve the activities, programs, and campaigns to support the People Affected.

‘This service has helped us to continue to listen to affected people, respond to their requests and inform the operation about trends and services that people are requiring. It has helped us to identify gaps in services and to adjust our interventions, listening and responding to people’s needs allows us to make an impact on the lives of the people we aim to serve.’

Diana Medina (IFRC Regional CEA Coordinator)

Helpful Information web-App

The Helpful Information web-App (HIA) can be used to provide Information as Aid. It provides information in an easily accessible and organized way to both People Affected and Aid Workers. The web-App provides (referral) information that is relevant to a specific target group. This can vary from the location of Humanitarian Service Points (HSPs) to information about shelter, medical assistance, and psychosocial support as well as basic rights and legal advice. The first version was launched in 2019 and is a direct result of co-designing and user testing with (undocumented) migrants in the Netherlands, whose experience and suggestions helped design this web-App.

In March 2022, the domestic department of the Netherlands Red Cross started a program supporting refugees from Ukraine who had arrived in the country. From a CEA perspective, different (digital) helplines, contact points, and Humanitarian Service Points were set up where Netherlands Red Cross staff, volunteers, and Ready2Helpers were answering questions). The focal points of these different channels all had to invest a lot of time in searching and organizing the information that was needed to provide answers and they all structured this information in different ways, resulting in a diffusion of answers given to refugees from Ukraine. Co-design sessions with focal points from the different engagement channels and Aid Workers working ‘on the ground’ of HSPs and hotlines showed a need for one central information hub that includes answers to frequently asked questions. Here, the original web-App served as a base to develop the HIA – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) instance. With a slightly different design, including a drop-down menu for each question, the web-App now reveals summarized and actionable information (from for example government websites) in a Red Cross tone of voice and with a clickable link to the official source. This ensures easy access to updated information for Aid Workers, who can then communicate this to People Affected in different ways (via WhatsApp, on the phone, or face-to-face at the physical locations) and adapt to the specific context of the person in need. So far, his version of the web-App has been visited over 7000 times by Aid Workers answering questions from refugees from Ukraine through the WhatsApp helpdesk and the telephone line, as well as at HSPs and in shelter locations.

Helpful Information web-App screenshots

‘We do not want to cause harm because of the data that we process and we reflect carefully to ensure that our digital products perform and are understood correctly.’

Joachim Ramakers (Data & Digital Responsibility specialist 510)

Data & Digital Responsibility Policy

In times of crisis, responsible use is more important than ever. Data and digital technology can help us serve those in need better, faster, and more cost-effectively. When used irresponsibly or incorrectly, data and digital technology can also cause harm. Our Data & Digital Responsibility Policy addresses the responsible processing of data with respect to ethical standards and principles in the humanitarian context. It bears in mind potential consequences and taking measures to avoid putting individuals or communities at risk.

Read more in “Data & Digital Responsibility: Going Beyond Privacy

‘Our amazing volunteers boosted the output of the team during the Ukraine response, ultimately enabling 510 to provide faster support to even more people in need. They are an irreplaceable part of our team and we thank them for their valuable support!’

Corina Markodimitraki (Volunteer Coordinator 510)


Volunteers are a crucial component of 510; they offer extra pairs of hands to boost the team’s existing skills while they also complement us with expertise, such as fluency in languages for translation work. The work of our volunteers is extremely valuable, as was demonstrated during 510’s support of the response to the conflict in Ukraine. Our volunteers were active on multiple fronts within the 510 teams: the DEEP project for Ukraine, the Ukraine Helpdesk, and supporting with translations & design. Accumulatively, they conducted hundreds of hours of work.

DEEP for Ukraine
A group of 12 dedicated volunteers worked intensely on the DEEP project, representing the Netherlands Red Cross in the emergency response for Ukraine. They scanned documents for information relevant to the response of the Red Cross and tagged it with a representative label, so that the emergency operations teams in the field could easily obtain an overview of the situation, such as information on internally displaced people and population needs.

Ukraine helpdesk
510 quickly onboarded and assigned Russian and Ukrainian-speaking volunteers to support the Ukraine helpdesk. This meant that these volunteers answered questions of People Affected in Ukrainian and Russian. Our volunteers answered requests from People Affected, and thereby had a direct positive impact with their work.

Translations & design
Our volunteers also helped conduct user tests to ensure that the product was adjusted to the needs of the end users and optimal support could be given to People Affected. In addition, they helped translate documents making our products and materials more accessible to People Affected, forming a better understanding of the crises and therefore responding appropriately.

Reach out to us

Please read more about our products and services here or reach out to us with any questions:
Cash and Voucher Assistance: Lars Stevens (
Community Engagement and Accountability: Jonath Lijftogt (

Header/cover image: IFRC