• IOM Moldova - Media and Communications Unit

“Our work to collect information and data from people fleeing the war at the Moldovan/Ukrainian border crossing point is not only about numbers.
Sometimes for us it is hard to manage emotions”.

A conversation with Natalia and Irina, IOM enumerators in Moldova

“Every morning, before going to work, we check the news on the situation in Ukraine and what the Telegram channels write about the attacks that have taken place and the areas affected. This helps us to be informed and to better approach refugees crossing the Moldovan/Ukrainian border in Otaci.

The two of us don't live far away and we go to work together. During the journey we discuss what happened during the night in Ukraine. Our work begins when we arrive at the border crossing in Otaci. We take our badge and the notebook, and we start collecting responses from people who come from or go to Ukraine. At the place where we work, the sound of sirens from Ukraine is very loud. Even if we hear it every day, we can never get used to this sound. Every time a siren sounds, we are on alert.

Before working for the IOM as enumerators, we were both collaborating with other organizations in the humanitarian field. We think our work for the IOM in Moldova is important since data we collect is used to produce reports. And these reports provide the information needed to assess the situation, the needs of refugees and it contributes to the design of Mission’s programs at first, we were collecting information on the “needs and intensions” *, then we started working on “Crossing back” * surveys.

We have noticed that people tend to avoid answering long questionnaires because they are in a hurry. When the survey is shorter people are more receptive to answer, and it is very important to understand when you can approach a person for an interview. If you get the impression that a person is in a hurry or is sorting out problems with some documents, it is better to wait. Their willingness to answer questions also depends on which part of Ukraine they are from, the level of stress they have experienced and how badly they have been affected. Of course, first we introduce ourselves, we explain the purpose of the interview and then we ask for their consent. About 70% of those questioned agree to release the interview, while 30% refuse to answer. 

It is not only about numbers and data. Sometimes for us it is hard to manage emotions, to listen to those fleeing the war and forced to leave everything behind and run for safety. There are days when we come home, and we keep thinking about what we heard during the working day, and we can't calm down. There are some very sensitive situations like a mother whose son stayed in Ukraine to fight during the war, or women with children whose husbands serve at the front. We met a pensioner who worked all his life in Ukraine and because of the war he took everything he could put in the trunk of his car and fled. All his life he remained in Ukraine. He responded to my interview with tears in his eyes, and we were deeply touched.

People who flee Ukraine need to talk to someone, so they feel they are being listened. We like to think that our work is also a way of not making them feel alone, and this makes us feel better too”.

The Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) is a tool conceptualized by the IOM in 2004 to collect and analyze data about the mobility, vulnerabilities, and needs of displaced and mobile populations.
Today, IOM DTM reports are an essential tool for the Governments of 80 countries around the world.
In Moldova, IOM has a Team who works daily to collect data in the field, including at the border crossing points. This data is analyzed by the IOM DTM Team in Chisinau which releases surveys and reports on Ukrainian refugees crossing back to Ukraine, needs and intentions of Ukrainians leaving UkraineThese reports are public and represent key documents for Moldovan authorities, donors, partners, and international organizations.

More info: Republic of Moldova | Displacement Tracking Matrix (

* "Needs and Intentions", surveys with refugees and TCNs from Ukraine, on their displacement patterns, intentions, and needs and aim to capture their displacement trends and identify their main profiles, immediate humanitarian needs and intentions upon leaving Ukraine
2- "Crossings Back", surveys with refugees and TCNs crossing back to Ukraine which monitors the displacement patterns, intentions, and most immediate needs of persons crossing back to Ukraine from Moldova.


SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities