Diia appThe Ukrainian government released the Diia app in 2020 to help the government reach all citizens and ensure access to a wide array of governmental services. Now, amid the war that began in February 2022, displaced citizens are using the Diia app to access monetary assistance, digital versions of official documents and other modes of aid.

The Functionalities of the Diia APP

Ukraine’s official site,, states that one of Diia’s goals is “to make 100% public services available online.” The available services include access to digital documents, such as one’s driver’s license or passport, that have the same legal strength as a physical copy. Furthermore, the app also allows Ukrainians to make payments to the government or register new businesses quickly.

The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change reported 13 million Diia users in Ukraine by the close of 2021, which was partially influenced by the introduction of COVID-19 aid and vaccine certification through the app. As the population in Ukraine in 2020 stood at about 44.13 million, around 29.5% of the Ukrainian population used the Diia app in 2021.

Post-War Digital Connections

However, the Diia app became significantly more important following the February 2022 Russian invasion. The United Nations Refugee Agency recorded more than 6.3 million Ukrainian refugees across Europe as of August 10, 2022. As early as May 2022, the United Nations estimated that more than 8 million Ukrainians faced internal displacement within Ukraine itself. Despite this, the app can still track the locations of registered Ukrainians no matter where they are and provide limited cash aid as well as the services mentioned above.

The government also introduced a simplified identification process that allows Ukrainians access to certain neighboring countries such as Moldova and Poland. Furthermore, it adopted the aid system used for COVID-19 to send “the equivalent of the monthly minimum wage” to anyone working in war-affected regions. Thus, the government is providing financial assistance to those both in and outside of Ukraine to support citizens and keep them out of poverty.

Finally, the app allows Ukrainians to keep track of the events taking place in their home country from firsthand sources. In an interview with the news site Emerging Europe, Ukrainian Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov stated that the app gives constant information on the state of the war and allows citizens to directly support the military with funding. This is important because the Diia app bypasses language barriers and disinformation to directly inform its citizens regardless of where they are.

The Future of Digitalization

Although not intended for a wartime scenario, Diia is making a massive difference to keep displaced Ukrainians financially secure and aware of current events. Not only does this help keep citizens afloat and out of poverty but it also helps keep their spirits up by informing them about the events occurring in their home country.

Diia’s widespread post-war availability proves the advantages of reaching out to those unable to easily access government services due to location, physical handicaps or poverty. Digital systems that aid those struggling in society can often be adjusted and reused in times of crisis to aid the general public and keep them from falling into poverty themselves.

– Henry Bauer
Photo: Flickr

Since appearing on the popular show Shark Tank, the LuminAID solar lantern has become well-known for its durability and variety of uses. The company designed its first lamps after the Haiti earthquake in 2010. They are designed to be an easy way to access light in areas without electricity and are marketed to individuals in countries lacking infrastructure or refugees who are living in transit.

New and Improved Design

The organization has now invented a new version of its lantern: the PackLite Max Phone Charger. The lantern is like the original, but also includes a battery and a USB port that can charge mobile devices. The battery can be charged by the solar panel through 12 to 14 continuous hours of direct sun exposure. The fully-charged lantern can then give 50 hours of light and fully recharge a smartphone.

The new lanterns target refugees. LuminAID noticed the need for phone charging capabilities while distributing its original lantern in refugee camps. Refugees use their mobile devices to contact family members and get help in emergency situations. One nonprofit partner, SCM Medical Missions, already plans to ship aid supplies to Syrian refugees in Jordan, having previously distributed the first LuminAID model to refugees living in Greece.

The LuminAID solar lantern is part of the organization’s “Give Light, Get Light” program, which prioritizes giving lanterns to people living in areas lacking traditional sources of light. The lanterns are inflatable, lightweight and waterproof, making them essential for individuals living in especially unforgiving situations.

Helping Those In Need

LuminAID also sells to consumers in retail stores and through its website, but emphasizes humanitarian efforts. It partners with numerous nonprofit organizations and NGOs throughout the world to distribute the lanterns. One consistent customer is ShelterBox USA, which provides disaster relief to communities in unexpected danger. The organization obtains donated lanterns from LuminAID or buys them at a lower price.

Backers of the LuminAID solar lantern’s online Kickstarter campaign can receive the LuminAID solar lantern and a charging cable for $30. Backers can also pledge more to receive a lantern and send one to a Syrian refugee. The company also has a goal to send 500 lights to refugee camps in Jordan.

The campaign already surpassed its fundraising goal, and the new solar lantern is expected to be an extremely helpful product for refugees from Syria and other war-stricken countries who need constant access to their mobile devices. Refugees rely on mobile phones as an essential support system to contact their families and others who have been through similar situations. LuminAID’s new solar lantern with phone charging capabilities will help refugees remain connected throughout their journeys.

Lindsay Harris

Photo: LuminAID


The Rural Distribution Network India (RUDI) has introduced a mobile phone application to quadruple the incomes of rural Indian women, according to an article by the Guardian on June 10.

RUDI is a large rural cooperative founded by India’s Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) whose mission is to empower Indian women.  The RUDI network is designed to gather produce from a collaboration of India’s poor farmers and allow them to obtain higher prices on wholesale markets.  Once the produce is sourced from these farmers, rural saleswomen travel throughout villages to sell the goods.  This simple business model has rapidly expanded to include around 2,000 businesswomen in Gujarat, India. However, the success has not been without its drawbacks.

Originally the women involved in the project were sent out into the villages to find sales and then had to travel long distances back to the RUDI centers in order to place these orders.  The majority of the saleswomen’s time was spent traveling to and from the RUDI centers.

SEWA collaborated with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and Vodafone India to create a mobile phone application that allows these saleswomen to place orders through text messages on the low-tech mobile phones that they were already using.  This saves these women the time they used to spend placing orders and allows them to make more sales, which has drastically increased their profits.  One saleswoman saw her income increase from 250 rupees to 5,000 rupees a day.

Empowering these women in such a way can lift whole communities out of poverty.  Women, unlike men, are likely to invest about 90 percent of their income back into their own communities, thereby contributing to economic growth within the area.  According to the Global Poverty Project, women also makeup nearly 70 percent of the world’s 1 billion poorest people, and produce half of the world’s food.  As former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan put it:  “there is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.”

– Martin Drake
Source: The Guardian, Global Poverty Project
Photo: Global Giving