Access to the internet and mobile telephone services has the potential to create a powerful multiplier effect, boosting the well-being of refugees and of the communities that host them.
Over the last 25 years, the internet and mobile communications have transformed life in the industrialized and developing worlds alike. Now that so much information is readily available, we worry about overload more than scarcity. Mobile communications and social media provide abundant ways to stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues. Cloud computing, remote working and networked global teams are re-shaping the ways we interact and connect.
Not so for the world’s refugees. Today, more than 65 million people – the largest number since the Second World War – are living as refugees or are internally displaced, uprooted from their homes in search of safety, and often struggling to access the basic means of survival.
But displaced people are also living without the connectivity they need to obtain vital information, communicate with loved ones, access basic services and link to the local, national and global communities around them.
The places where they live frequently lack digital networks and infrastructure, or the connectivity available there is too expensive. The digital revolution transforming the world is leaving refugees behind.
The Need for Connectivity
UNHCR carried out a global assessment of refugees’ access to, and use of, the internet and mobile phones where available, to help inform the development of a new UNHCR Global Strategy for Connectivity for Refugees.
More information here: http://www.unhcr.org/connectivity-for-refugees.html