In June 2022, on the occasion of World Refugee Week, Techfugees organized a virtual pitch stage to invite organizations using technology to empower forcibly displaced persons worldwide to share about their work.
The selection was made by volunteers from our community according to the following criteria:
– Maturity: registered social legal entity, post pilot phase
– Impact: be able to explain the concrete impact of the project on displaced persons’ lives with clear KPIs
– Needs: the project IS interested by pitching publicly their project
– Scalability: look at the scaling potential of the product or service (business model, economic viability)
– Relevance: the definition of the problem the project is offering to solve and relevance of the proposed solution;
Challenge #1 – Access to information & connectivity
“Solar Experience promotes electricity accessibility. Refugees and asylum seekers lack the possibility of charging up their phone or small device… Associations have trouble bringing electricity and are using fuel generators which are non environmental friendly and cumbersome. On top of that, fuel to run up the generator is also expensive.
The solution ? A personal portable solar panel, accessible and sturdy! An innovative Solar panel to make electricity available anywhere, combined with a battery at the back to make electricity available at any time.Solar Experience is dedicated to promoting the DIY approach to create home-made and low cost solar panels and portable batteries. Access to reliable energy infrastructure is often a challenge
Aside from the workshop training, Solar Experience also combines solar panels and portable batteries to distribute emergency energy kits to grassroot organizations in France working with refugees and asylum seekers in precarious situations and homeless persons more widely.” Rewatch the full pitch here (from 1:03:11).
How to support: Solar Experience is looking for connections with grassroot organizations in France to organize DIY workshops and distributions of energy emergency kits to forcibly displaced persons.
(France, Uganda, Nigeria, Greece, Kenya, UK, Tanzania, Nepal + more)
“Our technology simplifies the complexity of delivering internet access in volatile or low-resource areas. Janagla’s Big Box can combine multiple sources of internet – including mobile networks, satellite constellations, and point-to-point wireless connections – into effective Wi-Fi that can easily cover thousands of users. Jangala hardware can easily be deployed by non-technical teams in challenging circumstances, such as in refugee camps or humanitarian emergencies” Rewatch the full pitch here (from 1:22:58).
How to support: Jangala is looking for 1/ funding (to support core and deployment costs, helping them to connect millions of people by 2025) 2/ partnerships (with charities and groups working with refugees to establish Big Box projects) 3/ Tech input (come and work with Jangala’s core team and volunteers from Lenovo and Arm to help build open source technology that will impact millions of lives)
Challenge #2 – Access to Health
Acu Syria (Assistance Coordination Unit)
“Assistance Coordination Unit is a national Nongovernmental, Nonpolitical and Nonprofit Syrian organization established in 2013. ACU aims to maximize the impact of the support provided to Syrian people through coordination between donors, executive agencies and local partners. We serve Syria’s most vulnerable IDPs with real-time data monitoring as a response to the Syrian crisis in the North West and North East of the country.” Rewatch the full pitch here (from 1:02:00).
Early Warning Alert and Response Network (EWARN) is ACU’s health program (https://acu-sy.org/ewarn) is a health information system for surveillance and monitoring epidemiological diseases. It was established in the affected areas outside the regime’s control after the health system’s collapse in the middle of 2013. EWARN is considered the main accredited source for public health information regarding the indicators of the WHO and UNICEF. It is technically supported by the WHO, UNICEF, and CDC in the USA.
- Improve the use of information for rapid detection and response toward suspected outbreaks and epidemics, monitor the impact of interventions, and facilitate data and plan-based public health policy.
- Strengthen the capacity for surveillance activities, i.e., training staff at all levels to develop and implement action plans, advocacy, and resources mobilization.
- Integrate multiple surveillance systems (environmental and nutrition surveillance) to use the available resources more efficiently.
- Improve the flow of surveillance data across health system levels.
- Enhance laboratory capabilities to detect pathogens.
- Increase the participation of physicians in Syria in the epidemiological surveillance system.
- Launch epidemiological surveillance and response activities to detect public health threats in ACU’s coverage areas inside Syria.
How to support: ACU has critical demand to expand its Cloud infrastructure so our health systems can cover more displaced people inside Syria, so having access to cloud infrastructure from Google Cloud and Amazon AWS will be helpful to achieve ACU’s mission and goal
“Less than 30% of refugee mothers receive regular health checkups as required by the WHO during their pregnancy. Less than 20% of refugee children are up to date with their vaccinations, leading to a high risk of preventable infectious diseases. Most of their health records are incomplete or outright missing. Some refugee host countries provide refugees with free prenatal healthcare and children vaccinations but most refugees are not aware of it. Refugees also fear asking for information due to the risk of deportation. In short, there is a huge information gap between available healthcare benefits and facilities for refugees, and how to access them.
HERA aims to ensure all forcibly displaced people have access to healthcare regardless of where they go. Our solution, the Hera Digital Health platform, a super simple to use mobile app, aims to totally eradicate this information gap and bring the health checkup and vaccination levels of refugee families up to WHO’s recommended standards. With close to no learning curve and translated into 5 languages (Turkish, Dari, Pashto, Arabic and English), users only need to enter:
1) Their pregnancy week / date of last menstruation
2) If they have children, birth dates of all their children
Based on their host country’s healthcare facilities and benefits available to refugees, the app will:
1) Automatically populate their medical appointments calendar with dates of necessary prenatal checkups
2) Automatically populate their medical appointments calendar with dates of vaccinations required
3) Send push notification reminders 7 days and 1 day before appointment dates
4) Display the list of health centers near the refugee’s location where they can access free vaccinations and prenatal checkups.
A week after the recommended dates, the app asks the user if he/she has gone for the recommended checkup or vaccination. If a yes is marked, the mother / children’s medical checkup and vaccination records are automatically saved. This makes it easy for not only mothers but also doctors to check what vaccinations and checkups have been obtained.
A pilot study has been done with 3000+ families in Turkey and 40+ families in the Nebraska refugee camp. Based on the feedback gathered, we have built v2.0 of our mobile app that is live on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Rewatch the full pitch here.
How to support: To amplify their work you can 1/ take part in field testing in the communities where HERA is based 2/ Support their code (https://github.com/Hera-Digital-Health-Open-Source) 3/ Replicate their service in areas where HERA is not yet present. Please also know that Hera is hiring on a regular basis. Do reach out to email@example.com !
Challenge #3 – Access to Education
(United Kingdom, India, Uganda, Bangladesh, Nigeria)
“Today, nearly everyone has a mobile phone. But we all struggle with the same problem – running out of power. If you have access to uninterrupted mains power, this problem isn’t so bad. But for over 750 million people across the world who live in off-grid communities, getting their phone charged is a daily challenge. People in these communities must deal with low-quality, inefficient solar panels that break easily, diesel generators that are expensive to run, and unreliable grid power that can drop-out for months at a time. This needs to change. Everyone needs access to affordable, reliable power. Having a charged phone can enhance the quality of life and business activities of off-grid communities. In new or under-resourced refugee camps, the problem is the same. Getting access to power and connectivity to charge a phone is a major challenge. Central charging stations, if they exist, are typically overused and under-managed.” Rewatch the full pitch here (from 00:01:30).
How to support: You can support Buffalo Grid by 1/ talking about their work 2/ introduce them to implementation partners 3/ make a donation.
(Worldwide – Google Play and App Store)
“At the peak of the Syrian refugee crisis more than 2 million children were out-of-school. On a global scale, only 61% of refugee children attend primary school, often learning in a language they do not master and thus facing a major language barrier. We believe that literacy is a fundamental human right and that overcoming the language barrier is a key step for a successful integration in a new country. Antura and the Letters is an engaging mobile game that helps refugee children learn how to read in their mother language and improve their psychosocial well-being… and it has already demonstrated its positive impact in an independent test in Azraq refugee camp in Jordan (https://www.antura.org/impact). The game has more than 300.000 downloads with very positive ratings from the players. The cost of acquisition is very low: in areas with high density of refugees we get 1 download (= 1 family, up to 5 children can play on a single device) with just €0.20 invested in digital ads. Moreover, the game is completely free, open source, it does not require an internet connection and it has been designed in order to be easily adapted to any language! We are currently focusing on 3 main refugee crisis. Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine, and also helping the kids to integrate in a new country by learning the local language.” Rewatch the full pitch here (from 00:24:49).
How to support: Download the app, talk about it and connect Antura and the Letters to organizations working on refugee children’s education around the world !
Challenge #4 – Access to employment
(Ukraine / Lebanon / Afghanistan )
“We are bringing finance & money to areas where banking is too corrupt to use _ too weak _ or non-existent. Along that big problem, we are solving User Experience & Security problems within the cryptocurrency economy. Lost seed phrases in wallets is a common issue in crypto with 20% of Bitcoins in circulation lost due to misplaced seed phrases. The solution is to use Multi-Party Computation in Key Management of Blockchains. and have a network of Agents to on/off ramp crypto transactions. Hence the FLUUS wallet is aimed to be the Super Wallet of Crypto.” Rewatch the full pitch here.
How to support:
- If you represent an international organization operating in Lebanon, Ukraine, or even Afghanistan, pls consider paying your employees, staff, and local partners in Stable Crypto Currencies, and FLUUS will support in exchanging the crypto currency to local currency.
- If you are a donor to NGOs operating in Ukraine, please consider donating in Stable Coins and FLUUS will support in off-ramping or cashing out.
- Is crypto new to your organization and you have doubts in using it, please get in touch and FLUUS will arrange for a knowledge transfer session.
“Most of the refugees in Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement do not know how to use a computer or even a smart phone and there has been a gap in repair and reuse of electronics. Community Creativity For Development has established a repair café center for skills training and awareness on repair and reuse of electronics including collection of e-waste.” Rewatch the full pitch here (from 00:19:39).
How to support: If you’d like to support CC4D, you can 1/ send some IT or fixing materials to Rhino Camp in Uganda 2/ make a donation. If you’d like to learn more, contact comcreativ4D@gmail.com !
Challenge #5 – Social inclusion
Voices Of Venezuela
“Voices of Venezuela looks at overcoming barriers to communication between humanitarian stakeholders, government, and migrant communities so that there is equitable access to information and services to integrate and flourish. They provide information Communication Technology focusing on social innovation in order to bypass communication barriers and engage the community in a way that pushes information viral, while seeing to individual needs at scale through chat-based technologies, using the high volume of data to provide the needed feedback that can improve the humanitarian sector as a whole.” Rewatch the full pitch here.
How to support: Voices of Venezuela is looking for 1/ Technical expertise and researchers to quantify the impact of their work 2/ NGO/Tech partners to help expand Voices of Venezuela as an integration alliance across the Americas 3/General funding for cloud and software overhead and key technical and administrative staff.
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