Techfugees Kenya – Blockchain & Refugee Emergency Response: Can Blockchain technology help save the lives of refugees?

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Date: 22nd of February 2017 
Time:  4:30pm – 7:00pm, East Africa Time.
Location: iLab Nairobi, Strath­more University, 4th Floor Stu­dent Centre Build­ing, Keri Road, Madaraka Estate, Nairobi, Kenya 
Capacity is limited. Registration will be confirmed shortly and via email.

Join us for the launch of Techfugees chapter in Kenya!

Blockchain has the potential transform humanitarian responses for refugees and empower refugees themselves to create recognised identities and access essential services that may otherwise be off-limits. This event brings together startups, innovators and humanitarians to explore multiple Blockchain initiatives that have the potential to improve the lives of refugees in East Africa and beyond. Join us for the first Techfugees event in East Africa and help us unlock the power of Blockchain!

The problem

Many refugees, and people in refugee-like situations, across Africa are unable to prove their identity or access essential services. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, 80% of the total adult population are unbanked and do not have the necessary documentation to open a bank account, and without necessary documentation, many refugees are unable to access healthcare, seek legal protection, or enrol their children in schools. In response, private enterprises and humanitarian organisations have begun to look into Blockchain technology as a way to independently authenticate and validate exchanges of information, from personal identification to money transfers.
How can Blockchain help?

Blockchain is a cloud-based public ledger that automatically records all transactions and stores them securely for everyone to see. This enables independent entities to rely on the same, secured and auditable source of information without the need of third-party oversight.
Mapping solutions

Blockchain is increasingly being used in refugee emergency response. This event gathers leading researchers in the Blockchain space, Blockchain-based startups, and humanitarian players that have begun implementing Blockchain-based initiatives to share insights from the projects they’re currently working on.
The event will discuss questions like:

  • How can Blockchain technology alleviate challenges faced by refugees by providing identification and financial mobility?
  • Can Blockchain unlock essential services to refugees without government support?
  • Which humanitarian organizations have started to use Blockchain technology in Africa and how?
  • When it comes to refugee response and Blockchain: What are the lessons learned from Africa – and outside of Africa?


At this event, you will be hearing from:

Joséphine Goube, CEO of Techfugees (via Skype)
Benjamin Hounsell and Ida Jeng, Co-chairs of Techfugees Kenya
Komminist Weldemariam, Research Scientist & Manager at IBM Research Africa
Diana Klein, Head of IT, The World Food Programme in Kenya
Joseph Thompson, CEO, Aid:Tech (via Skype)
David Yen, Regional Business Development Manager, BitPesa, East Africa
More speakers to be announced

Sponsored by REFUNITE & Samuel Hall

Register by sending an email to Giulia Balestra: Please include your full name and organization.

Techfugees partnered with Startup Weekend Amman and UNICEF Jordan on refugee challenges

Posted on Posted in Events, News

Software developers, designers and entrepreneurs of all ages competed in a 52-hours Startup Weekend event in Amman, Jordan, to develop innovative business solutions. Techfugees worked with UNICEF Jordan & Oasis500 to create a refugee track to the event – for participants to pitch innovative ideas to help refugees

Techfugees Amman Hack Winners Profugees

Techfugees in partnership with the team of Startup Weekend Amman, launched a refugees track to the event which took place on 17th-19th November at ZINC, Zain’s incubator space. Supported by UNICEF Jordan and Oasis500, three teams came to pitch for the track. The winner of the refugee track, ProFugees, a crowd-funding platform for refugees’ stories, won three months of weekly coaching and mentoring from Oasis500’s Chief Coach.

The weekend event brought together young software developers, designers and entrepreneurs, aged between 12 to 30, all from the region – migrants and refugees included.

Eva Kaplan Techfugees Refugee Event

In line with Techfugees’ events, the track aimed at developing local innovative & tech solutions for refugees.The challenge was to provide refugee kids with a voice, as explained by UNICEF Jordan’s Innovation specialist, Eva Kaplan:

“Anywhere in the world, when you pick up a newspaper, you will see a story about refugees.  Most of those stories will be negative. In addition, all over the world, government officials are making decisions that impact the lives of refugees.  The voices of refugees are rarely heard in these conversations.  They do not have the opportunity to tell their own stories, and they do not have the ability to provide their perspective on the issues that impact their lives. How can we use technology to amplify and elevate the voices of refugee children?  How can we make sure that those stories and perspectives are heard?”


The winning team, Profugees, led by Hassan Al-Nouri, presented a prototype of a crowd-funding platform for young refugees. Here is how it works: a young refugee can pitch their story to a content creator (video producer, writer, journalists) and these content producers will create a whole crowd-funding campaign online around the story – this will generate revenue for the refugee and for the content producer. This enables for stories of young refugees and dreams to be more visible and potentially financially supported.

Two other teams pitched projects beyond the initial topic of young refugees’ voices, and found creative ways to provide innovative shelter solutions and education opportunities to refugees.

Techfugees Amman REfugees smart tent

Refugee Smart Tent (R.S.T.) wants to make camp tents that are self-sustained with solar powered energy, insulated against flood and equipped with a smart beacon, that can alert the administrator of the camp about emergency issues.

Study First, is an app that provides online homework content, controlled by local teachers, in arabic – and at the same time shuts down all social media applications on the device – so the student cannot be distracted while studying.

Want to know more about Techfugees’ next event and how to get involved? Check our calendar of events – or simply your city’s Techfugees local chapter.