A particular narrative can be seen here: people rely on individual and collective actions, but not on the structures and processes – as our research shows, government, policies and structures were not seen as partners to sustainable recovery.
What opportunities did the pandemic create for people?
We saw quite a few stories where people could not find any positive aspect of the pandemic. Nevertheless, the remote working opportunities, building stronger relationships with family members, and the time to re-think values were mentioned quite frequently.
«Analysis of consumption, what is needed and what is not. You value your loved ones more, you live today and you do not put off for tomorrow what can be done today.»
«The crisis had a positive effect on consciousness. We all were busy with our own affairs at work or in school. In the family circle, we communicated very little and quickly dropping just a few words. Misunderstandings began to appear when everyone stayed at home. As a conclusion, being in this constant motion, we forget how to listen and understand each other. Therefore, we needed to hold multiple conversations.»
«We learn to rebuild relationships with loved ones. It’s not easy to do 24/7.»
«We have witnessed a responsible and careless business, so now we can choose those (companies) that not only earn money but are also part of society and create conditions for its comfortable existence.»
«You should always have your own "airbag" to keep your family at the very least needed. You should rely only on yourself. Unfortunately, the state does not care about the citizens who pay taxes and maintain the state apparatus.»
Translating the narratives into action
Micronarratives are not meant to provide a holistic picture of society, nor they can replace common research methods. They give indicators and signals to act on in conditions of uncertainty and complexity. In which directions should we look when creating solutions to problems that were brought on by the pandemic, or worsened by it?
- Harness the reconnect within families observed during lockdowns to create more equal and supportive relations. Such interventions could be based on mapped solutions from families who were able to build harmony in a short time -- we could learn from them and their practice to inform scaling up strategies.
- Design “hyper-targeted” supporting measures: there is no “one size fits all” in times of pandemic. The conditions in which people found themselves are even more fragmented then before. Applying human-centered design in the time of a pandemic becomes even more urgent
- Work to strengthen empathy within society. People perceive the dangers of the virus differently, some are over-cautious, some are careless – policies and interventions should seek to build mutual respect for the safety of others.
UNDP Ukraine partnered with CSO “Insha Osvita” in a joint effort to learn about the perceptions of people about the impact of COVID-19, and their visions for a sustainable recovery. The research was done using the method of micronarratives, which allows for statistical patterns to emerge and for the respondents themselves to use the qualitative data as a narrative explanation for the quantitative data gathered. The responses to multiple choice questions enable further in-depth analysis.
UNDP Ukraine’s Accelerator Lab is a global UNDP initiative aimed at identifying, elaborating and scaling-up innovative and sustainable solutions for local communities. Ninety-two Accelerator Labs teams are serving 112 countries to tackle 21st century development challenges.
Text: Ievgen Kylymnyk, Head of Exploration
Editing: Tetyana Kononenko, Euan Macdonald, UNDP Ukraine