At the beginning of 2020, the world faced a new challenge – COVID-19. Ukraine has become one of the priority partners in receiving aid from the European Union. Vaccination, humanitarian and technical assistance, medical training, small and medium business support, as well as support for vulnerable populations were the key focus areas of EU assistance to Ukraine in the pandemic relief agenda.
According to the results of a survey by Communicating EU for Ukrainians Project (CEU4U) in October-November 2021, about one third of Ukrainians demonstrated awareness of the EU aid related to COVID-19 or received such aid directly. Some 40 % of respondents were convinced that the aid received from the EU improved the health care sector’s performance.
The Project’s objective was to design and implement an efficient communication campaign to position the EU as a reliable and effective partner for Ukraine, which helped in minimising the COVID-19 aftermath for various population groups.
The strategic approach to meeting the objective involved two phases:
This phase focused efforts on raising awareness among Ukrainians about the benefits and key features of the Digital COVID-19 Certificate for various age groups of the population. The launch and mutual recognition of the digital certificates between the EU and Ukraine was possible thanks to the elaborate cooperation between the EU and the Government of Ukraine, in particular, the Ministry of Digital Transformation.
At its kickoff, the campaign was targeted at communication with the general public with a focus on certain age groups (youth, seniors), the medical community, influencers as well as national and regional media, namely on issues of cooperation between the EU and Ukraine.
Following the November 2021 focus group discussion on the Digital COVID-19 Certificate, the following messages were unanimously selected for further communications.
Following up of Phase 1 of the campaign, once the media space was prepared, Phase 2 involved targeted work across the selected target audiences: medical community; small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); and vulnerable groups. Accordingly, three focus areas were selected: health care sector support/medical support; SME support; and support to the most vulnerable population groups. The focus was on real cases of EU assistance to Ukraine in the fight against COVID-19. This approach to the communications contributed to raising awareness of successful EU aid projects and positioning the EU as a reliable and effective partner for Ukraine in the fight against the consequences of the pandemic.
The implementation of this phase of the campaign commenced with the development of infographics, but unfortunately was stopped due to the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.