Today, global forced displacement has surpassed 80 million people (roughly one percent of humanity) – climate change, war, conflict, economic challenges and persecution force 1 in every 97 people to be unwillingly away from their homes with few of those who flee ever able to return. This figure is expected to grow to over 1 billion displaced persons by 2050
It’s why today, TechFugees and BuffaloGrid are launching the “Knowledge is Freedom” campaign aimed at bringing free education and energy to a million people in refugee camps in the next three years. The campaign was inspired by the words of BuffaloGrid’s CSO, Vanessa Arelle, who told an audience at a Techfugees conference earlier this year: “Knowledge is Power. Power is Freedom. Freedom is a Right.”
With forced displacement no longer being a short-term and temporary phenomenon, providing access to education is key to the empowerment of marginalized and displaced communities. Otherwise, we will be faced with an incalculable loss of untapped human potential that risks not only this generation of displaced persons but their descendants also. It is of paramount importance to unlock and nurture talent to support individuals of all ages from elementary to higher education, supporting self-reliance for a future with prospects of opportunities and independence, in settlement camps and cross-border migration.
The campaign aims to elevate the voices of displaced persons across East Africa and the Middle-East by providing free access to educational content and a reliable way to keep their devices charged through the BuffaloGrid Hub.
The initial service will see solar-powered BuffaloGrid Hubs deployed in refugee camps across Kenya and Uganda. The Hubs will provide unlimited free access to education and health content as well as other streaming services and mobile power charging.
Techfugees, a global impact driven organisation empowering displaced inclusion through responsible digital innovations and BuffaloGrid, which provides offline digital services and streaming, will collaborate on the campaign with a goal of raising $3 million over the course of the next two years.
“In an increasingly digital and climate change stricken world, our mission is to make sure forcibly displaced persons don’t get left behind. Around 400,000 marginalized refugees reside in the Rwamwanja and Kakuma-Kalobeyei settlements camp in Uganda and Kenya respectively”, commented Raj Burman, Chief Executive Officer at Techfugees Innovation.
“Our collaboration with BuffaloGrid presents a unique opportunity for an innovative responsible digital solution to empower displaced communities with the support of our Chapters in Kenya and Uganda to overcome the access barriers to education and health content to better their livelihoods. Our teams on the ground engage displaced communities and are currently sourcing content partners to facilitate deployment of BuffaloGrid hubs for the initial pilot.
“But it doesn’t stop there! We are truly excited by the economies of scale of BuffaloGrid’s solution enabling it to expand in a sustainable way to serve marginalized displaced communities across Africa & Middle-East. This is exactly the kind of digital innovation – proven, ready to scale, that we welcome in the community of innovators showcased on our platform Basefugees.”
Daniel Becerra, CEO of BuffaloGrid said: “Our mission is to remove barriers for internet adoption, and provide the next billion with information, energy and digital skills. I hope this campaign will raise awareness of the plight of displaced persons and how collectively we have the power to change things. The entire team is excited to work with Techfugees. I believe together we have the technical expertise, experience and connections to make a real difference.”
Today’s ” Basefugees.” announcement relays on BuffaloGrid’s pioneering international work to remove internet adoption barriers to marginalized communities by providing free power to charge mobile devices, digital content and services to connect the unconnected.