Going Low-Tech to Achieve High-Tech Solutions
Oct 31 13


Panelists pictured above

On Saturday, students and professionals learned that sometimes one has to go low-tech to bring disconnected families onto a high-tech platform. 

Speaking at the annual Net Impact Conference in Silicon Valley, CA, Refugees United co-founder David Mikkelsen shared the successes that his organization has seen through their “low-tech” call-center and toll-free telephone lines.

“We must remember that millions of people around the world still don’t have access to the internet,” Mr. Mikkelsen reflected, while also listing other barriers, such as illiteracy.

In their quest to reconnect families separated by war, conflict and disaster,

Refugees United and partners have launched a global call center and toll free telephone lines as a method of pulling in disconnected families into RU’s high-tech family tracing platform.

“Everyone has the right to know where their family is,” Mr. Mikkelsen proclaimed on stage: “It shouldn’t matter to us whether families have access to, or knowledge of, technology. Just because we are high-tech, doesn’t mean they have to be.”

 These access points, along with SMS and radio campaigns, have helped families in African refugee camps reconnect with their missing loved ones. Since introducing the call-center access to their platform in June of this year, Refugees United has seen registrations through this low-tech touch point rise to nearly 15% of total. 

“We must remember that what is high-tech today is low tech tomorrow,” said Mr. Mikkelsen.

Joining Mr. Mikkelsen on a panel about how the future of high-tech social innovation might light in low-tech solutions in developing countries were Jim Fruchterman, the President of Benetech, and Grace Kim from GOOD/Corps. Mal Warwick, an NGO and fundraising expert, was the moderator. 

 Mr. Mikkelsen shared that with the new Refugees United call-center, the organization continues their user-centric method of attracting marginalized communities who are often forgotten in this age of smart phones and social media.

Contact: Ida Jeng, Communication Manager, Refugees United: + 45 31 49 31 93 / ij@refunite.org .  

Hundreds of families are reconnected through our work every month, often after years of searching for their missing loved ones.
Any donation will help separated families reconnect.