DRIVE: Digital Research and Impact for Vulnerable E-citizens

Georgia | Ukraine
Georgia | Ukraine
09/2021 - 08/2023
289414 €
Project manager

In Georgia: the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI)

In UkraineNGO GOLOCAL (since 11/2022 –08/2023); 2030: Tech for Public Good (09/2021 – 10/2022)


Funded by

The aim of the DRIVE project was for the digitally vulnerable citizen groups in Ukraine and Georgia to have a changed quality of life by being digitally engaged in political decision-making (advanced policy development) and services, and to have necessary conditions, awareness, and skills for that.

Though many different elements can contribute to a changed quality of life and digital engagement, the DRIVE project aimed at two objectives: 

  • aid relevant stakeholders (civil society organisations, public authorities, etc.) in improving their awareness of digital vulnerability;
  • advance skills and cooperation among them to address the needs of digitally vulnerable groups.


Read the DRIVE Impact Overview


What did we do? 

  • Conducted in-depth ecosystem building research, delving into the expanding gap in digital literacy, access to digital tools, and digital skills within vulnerable groups—producing comprehensive reports for Ukraine and Georgia.
  • Identified two digitally marginalized target groups in each country: the elderly and youth. In the DRIVE context, Digitally Vulnerable Groups were defined as those facing obstacles in digital engagement with political decision-making and e-services due to lack of awareness, limited access, and insufficient digital literacy and skills.
  • Developed actionable recommendations based on research findings.
  • In Georgia, facilitated training for 10 teams comprising civil society organizations and public authorities to implement the recommendations.
  • In Ukraine, empowered 32 activists, transforming them into digital ambassadors, and organized training in 8 teams to execute recommendations.
  • Utilized a service design method to craft proposals that consider the entire user journey, ensuring holistic service development.
  • Selected three proposals for pilot projects: “Parents for Education” in Georgia, and in Ukraine, “Blogging Against Cyberbullying” and “Digital Transformation of Teachers of the Hoshcha Community.”
  • Engaged in extensive outreach, including webinars, a session at the e-governance conference of 2023, podcasts, blogs, scientific articles, and interviews to disseminate project insights.

eGA worked with two local partners to achieve the maximum impact: the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) in Georgia and since November 2022, withNGO GOLOCAL in Ukraine. Until October 2022, the role of the partner was filled by  2030: Tech for Public Good.

masterclasses for 37 people in Georgia and 32 people in Ukraine
parents were trained through Georgian pilot project, and it reached 400,000 people through social media
teachers were trained through 2 Ukrainian pilot projects, and the initiative reached 1.5 million people through social media
people received Diia certificates thanks to 32 digital ambassadors
Case study

Digital vulnerability refers to situations and conditions when individuals lack adequate access, devices, skills, or awareness of digital advancements and tools. As a result, they cannot utilize e-services and solutions or participate digitally in decision-making processes. In essence, they can only partially benefit from the digital transformation.

Such vulnerabilities are of concern because they can adversely affect individuals’ rights, interests, and daily lives, potentially leading to more extensive isolation for those who are digitally vulnerable. Several factors contribute to digital vulnerability, including digital skills, language proficiency, socioeconomic status, connectivity, trust in systems, concerns about data and privacy, poor user experience, disabilities, digital literacy, cyber hygiene, geopolitical conflicts, and stakeholder relations in general. It’s important to note that vulnerability is not necessarily tied to an individual’s identity but may be linked to their circumstances.

Digital vulnerability remains a pressing issue for all countries and communities. However, there is a silver lining: it is possible to recognize digital vulnerability and understand how to prevent and mitigate it. This is especially true with collaboration among activists, civil society organizations (CSOs), public authorities, academia, tech companies, and the media. The DRIVE project did exactly that.

Despite the challenges posed by COVID and the war against Ukraine, the DRIVE project was completed on time, within budget, and with a positive spirit. It delivered the planned outputs and outcomes. The efficiency, commitment, feedback, motivation, and expertise of all those involved were truly outstanding, creating a lasting impact and legacy.

The main takeaways: 

  • Most Significant Impact: Increased recognition and awareness of digital vulnerability. 
  • Lesson Learned: Maintaining a flexible Theory of Change allows partners to have agility in their activities. 
  • Legacy: (1) Comprehensive needs analysis and research; (2) Proposals and materials to build further activities on; and (3) Experience with using service design as an effective method for designing services, projects or interventions.
The DRIVE legacy in Georgia

The introduction of “digital vulnerability” offered a comprehensive understanding of interconnected challenges.

  • Georgia’s inaugural report provided a holistic view of digital challenges and vulnerabilities.
  • Capacity-building initiatives, informed by the report, targeted diverse groups on topics like digital participation, cybersecurity, and misinformation.
  • IDFI plans to integrate report findings into future activities, impacting media, TV programs, and international recognition in Freedom House’s “Freedom on the Net 2023” report. Effective communication with public authorities has led to the review of the report on digital vulnerabilities, providing valuable insights and expanding IDFI’s network.
Testimonials from the Georgian participants
“You need to try and see the world from your beneficiary’s perspective.”
“I am going to rethink traditional methods of project proposal delivery.”
“I am planning to continue doing observation and research, thinking more of what a problem is before actually seeking for solutions.”
The DRIVE legacy in Ukraine

GLOCAL improved competencies in digitalization and crisis management.

  • Expanded online presence through media collaboration, achieving significant outreach on topics like cyberbullying.
  • Collaborated with state bodies on teacher-focused projects and cyberbullying, engaging with media through articles, interviews, and website content.
  • Recognized the importance of adaptability in unstable conditions, like during the war, and understood education’s transformative power in addressing the digital divide.
  • Emphasized the necessity of feedback loops for project refinement.
  • Masterclass participants learned about project development, implementation, and sustainability, ensuring ongoing benefits for digitally vulnerable community members in the DRIVE project.
  • Successfully added a project to the organizational portfolio. 
Testimonials from the Ukrainian participants
“It was an invaluable experience of working in a team, exchanging thoughts and ideas with colleagues who, like me, are as interested in improving the digital skills of Ukrainian citizens as I am.”
“During the training, I realized that I need to research the target audience and their needs in detail before building the content line of the project.”
“The way of presenting information and learning in general was interesting and effective for me. I would especially like to thank the trainer for the theoretical basis I received. With the knowledge gained, along with my perseverance and great motivation, I was able to prepare a project application and win.”
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