Report: Connecting Refugees: How Internet and Mobile Connectivity can Improve Refugee Well-Being and Transform Humanitarian Action - UNHCR
Monday, September 26, 2016

Over the last 25 years, the internet and mobile communications have transformed life in the industrialised and the developing world.

But displaced people are living without the connectivity they need to obtain vital information, communicate with loved ones, access basic services and to link to the local, national and global communities around them. The locations in which they live frequently lack digital networks and infrastructure, or the connectivity that is available there is too expensive. 

A connected refugee population can also play a critical role in enabling organizations such as UNHCR to innovate effectively and to improve the quality of services that we provide. Connectivity has the potential to transform how we communicate, the way in which we respond to the protection needs of displaced people, and our delivery of humanitarian services. Most significantly, better connectivity can promote self-reliance by broadening the opportunities for refugees to improve their own lives. 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.

This report presents the UNHCR's vision for the connectivity of refugees as well as a strategy to address the following key challenges: How can reliable connectivity be made available for refugees? How can it be made affordable? How can refugees make the best use of it?

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