Closing Dadaab: How might technology help?
Giulia Balestra
Posted by Giulia Balestra
Jul 14 16

  Inspired by the different ways technology can be used to help refugees globally, REFUNITE and independent think tank Samuel Hall initiated a forum focusing on innovation in a humanitarian context.   Closing Dadaab: How might technology help?     The inaugural event on “Technology & Innovation for Supporting Refugees” took place on Thursday, June … Continue reading Closing Dadaab: How might technology help?

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Inspired by the different ways technology can be used to help refugees globally, REFUNITE and independent think tank Samuel Hall initiated a forum focusing on innovation in a humanitarian context.

 

Closing Dadaab: How might technology help?

 

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The inaugural event on “Technology & Innovation for Supporting Refugees” took place on Thursday, June 23, 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya with the purpose of exploring the possible scenarios that may take place if Dadaab refugee camp closes. Established in 1991, Dadaab is currently the world’s largest refugee camp and (unofficially) Kenya’s third largest city. From to beginning of the Somali displacement crisis in the early 1990s to the present, Dadaab has been home to an increasing number of refugees, many of whom were born and grew up in the camps. The Kenyan Government has long been discussing Dadaab closure and, after signing a tripartite agreement with the UNHCR and Somalia in 2013, it has helped more than 14,000 refugees to voluntarily return to Somalia. Now, the Kenyan Government has confirmed its intention to permanently close the camp and repatriate a considerable number of Somali refugees by the end of 2016.

 

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The first event saw representatives from the GSMA, Safaricom, Frontline SMS, Dimagi, International Organization for Migration (IOM), and Danish Refugee Council (DRC) getting together to consider the challenges around the closure of Dadaab refugee camp and to examine whether and how technology and innovation could play a role. The meeting revolved around different pressing questions, including cross-country mobile payments and data exchange across countries and agencies, as well as the potential use of mobile apps to bolster the work of humanitarian organizations. As Daadab closure becomes more and more of a reality, the need to rethink humanitarian aid also becomes stronger. If we want to adequately assist refugees, technology represents a unique opportunity. One that should not be missed.

 

14 July 2016.

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