“REFUNITE helped me save the lives of my people through its Community Leader Network”
Posted by josefine
Feb 20 19

REFUNITE’s Community Leader Network is a peer-to-peer network that tackles how to reach offline, illiterate, and disenfranchised refugee populations with life-enhancing information. Today, REFUNITE’s Community Leader Network is a network of more than 4000 tribal community leaders spread across 100 refugee communities worldwide that REFUNITE works with to communicate with and mobilize last-mile populations. Using … Continue reading “REFUNITE helped me save the lives of my people through its Community Leader Network”

Share:
Community members receiving messages via REFUNITE’s Community Leader Network and connected SMS platform

REFUNITE’s Community Leader Network is a peer-to-peer network that tackles how to reach offline, illiterate, and disenfranchised refugee populations with life-enhancing information. Today, REFUNITE’s Community Leader Network is a network of more than 4000 tribal community leaders spread across 100 refugee communities worldwide that REFUNITE works with to communicate with and mobilize last-mile populations. Using online and offline channels and the power of this community-based network, REFUNITE is able to reach more than 2.4 million people with information.

In a country as vast as the Democratic Republic of Congo, with a total area of 2,345,409 square km, communication is an enormous challenge. To keep the entire population informed, the country has built a network of community radio stations deep in the remote territories that spread information from political national news to epidemic diseases. But these networks don’t fill all the communication gaps between big cities and villages. In order to spread information on war risk alerts, epidemics, etc., local community leaders have to send people on bicycles or motorbikes to inform people, village after village, in the most remote areas.

In July of 2018, community leader Sylvain Kabuanga, from Kananga, DRC, listened to the news about Ebola on the radio. He learned that one person was contaminated in Tshibelenge, a village just 75 km away from Kananga town. Immediately, Kabuanga started telling his community about the dangers of the Ebola virus and quickly realized that the vast majority of his constituents were not aware of the Ebola threat and were completely unprepared in terms of prevention against the virus. Willing to protect his community, Kabuanga sent a SMS on prevention measures against Ebola virus using REFUNITE’s Community Leader Network and connected SMS platform. In this way, information was quickly spread to other community leaders that could then, in turn, share this life-saving information with their community members.

Through Sylvain Kabuanga’s message, REFUNITE was able to impact more than 4,000 community members with life-saving information on Ebola virus. Reflecting on his ability to tap into REFUNITE’s community leader network and the supporting SMS platform, and how the community network building has changed his life, Sylvain says:

REFUNITE helped me save the lives of my people with its network approach and free SMS platform. Ebola virus kills and everyone should tell, at least, another person about its danger and how to protect their own family. I got several calls, even from people beyond my own community, to ask for clarification on the prevention measures I wrote about”.

 

DONATE
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.