#EIFasks – World Refugee Day: the role of the Internet and ICTs

#EIFasks – World Refugee Day: the role of the Internet and ICTs


– We need to make sure
that we use technology and we offer the technology
for online interaction to refugees who need to stay connected. Maybe they’re separated
from their families, their communities, they
want to know what’s going on in the world. And they have a right to
be in the internet world, in the online world as much as we are. – The refugees in Europe
can have more opportunities to ICT because through ICT they can access knowledge of their
status, of their rights, of their opportunities,
also of their duties, as asylum seekers and refugees. And to have means of
communication with locals for matching opportunities for meetings. There are specific apps and portals that are being developed
for these specific objective of meeting locals and refugees to develop skill certification. So there is a whole array of opportunities that can be developed with ICT. – We need to understand the
landscape that is changing. And we need to understand, also the fact that these refugees, 85% of them are hosted in developing countries. And 58% of them are in urban areas. So their needs are different and we need to also make sure that whatever we’re
providing to the refugees does not cause a digital divide
with the host communities. So I would say it’s a
multilateral approach to the situation and ICT
is definitely the enabler. – Coming from a satellite
communications provider, what we see is satellite
communications being an absolutely key enabler to allow ICT, and all the good and
value that that brings. So working in partnership with ESOA, the United Nations, other organizations and indeed within our own industry, the ability to provide
that key connectivity as an enabler to ICT in
disaster preparedness, disaster response and recovery. Particularly now to those refugees that are there for the longer term and working with mobile network operators to provide seamless and
connectivity globally. – Mobile technology can benefit refugees’ lives in a
whole multitude of ways. But sadly the reality is
that displaced populations are often disproportionally
affected by accessibility and also affordability constraints which often leaves them
digitally excluded. So firstly, we need to build
a stronger evidence base to really understand the needs
and preferences of refugees to help inform humanitarian organizations, but also the private sector
of the types of digital interventions that can really support them in the very unique circumstances that they find themselves in. Secondly, we need to
encourage shared value partnerships between
the humanitarian sector and also the mobile industry. And we could do this
through catalytic funding, to drive innovation across
nascent opportunity areas and test new business
models that can really reach kind of impactful and sustainable models. And finally, governments have
a really key role to play in creating enabling environments so that refugees can have sustainable and reliable access to
mobile-enabled services over the long term. – When the people are here in Europe, it is important to train
them in digital skills. And for me digital production
is a very important thing. Why, because if you become a producer, and you use the computer as a tool, you can use it as life-long learning and you don’t use it
any more as a consumer. That’s one thing. And then, for example, we
produce digital stories with migrants, with refugees, and they make digital
stories of their lives, why they fled, and at the same time we do a kind of trauma healing. But we enhance a lot of other skills: linguistic skills, collaboration, digital mindset, creativity, all those things that are important to integrate in a European society. And when they produce digital stories, we have a story to share and this story can create empathy by European citizens. So they will see and know
about the lives of refugees.

Danny Hutson

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