Phone technology in Uganda a cash lifeline

http://www.unhcr.org/news/latest/2017/10/59e07fe24/phone-technology-gives-refugees-uganda-cash-lifeline.html

South Sudanese families in the worlds biggest refugee settlement in Uganda are benefitting from agreements with telecoms operators. These operators provide a connection to essential services accessed through mobile phones.

Essential services include a cash lifeline. This service ensures that refugees aren’t left behind by the digital revolution. UNHCR has been carefully looking for ‘innovative ways for refugees to use technology to reunite with family members, have access to education and jobs and even call for protection assistance.

HTIL value the importance of dialogue and informing both ways by using tech to ensure this can happen not in isolation, in one location, with one group, or with one group of support providers. Tech well planned and collaboratively built at each iteration allows conversation and information flow to be scalable, transferable and sustainable as with MyInform.

Connected Communities

Previous research conducted by the UNHCR in this report. Clarified the benefits for refugees who are part of a connected community. Empowering refugees to become self- reliant benefits these communities in Uganda. Households gain the freedom to access and share relevant information on their day to day lives. Good connectivity benefits peoples ability to connect with beneficial associations that can provide them with programmes designed around their needs.

HTIL have shared examples of these programmes in Uganda recently. Highlighting the work done by CDC and CEDED. These programmes deal with important issues such as trauma healing and reconciliation.

Skills in counselling training for refugee women leaders in Rhino Camp, have empowered them to improve the lives of others in their community. Engaging in these meaningful programmes strengthens a community’s ability to create positive changes.

Connectivity & Livelihoods

Good connectivity for people with their phones benefits ‘local people in host communities, who have donated land to refugees’. Connectivity for community members includes assisting them in creating livelihoods and improving their ability for self-reliance. Benefits include facilitating people to work remotely, which would particularly appeal to people who are constrained by limited opportunities in a local economy.

Affordability has placed particular constraints on refugees households in the past. The UNHCR recognised that this was an issue. Many refugee households had purchased devices and plans at market rates, particularly in urban areas. This practice directly affects their monthly disposable income when connectivity is expensive.

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