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UNHCR App for Syrian Refugees

PeaceGeeks - in partnership with Affinity Bridge and Gnucooop - has developed the Services Advisor app to support the 620,000+ Syrian refugees living in Jordan so they can get better access to information on critical services provided by over 60 humanitarian organizations who collectively have locations (both fixed and mobile) in over 420 areas across Jordan. This app has been developed at the request of the UN High Commission for Refugees.  

The three year conflict in Syria that has displaced 10 million Syrians, representing the most significant humanitaria crisis in recent memory. As the leading agency for coordinating refugee relief, this crisis prompted UNHCR to look for innovative ways to meet the dramatic increase in need for humanitarian assistance, without further straining the capabilities of already over-stretched organizations that provide these services. UNHCR has become increasingly aware that a key challenges facing both refugees and aid organizations was simply knowing where to look for information on the services available to refugees. PeaceGeeks began partnering with UNHCR in June to develop a tool that makes connecting refugees with essential services and resources easier, faster, and more effective. 
 
Deployed in August as a mobile web app, Services Advisor takes advantage of the increased penetration of mobile phones in the region to provide refugees with timely and accurate information that can adjust to the fluid situation of a refugee camp. With greater awareness of where humanitarian assistance is located, families and individuals will travel shorter distances, encounter smaller lines, and experience fewer shortages as they spread out to multiple distribution centres rather than all converging on the largest ones. This app also enables other humanitarian organizations to refer refugees to other providers for services that they themselves cannot provide. 
 

PeaceGeeks and UNHCR have discussed potential for this app to be used with refugee populations outside of Jordan, and to include additional functionality such as collecting feedback from refugees on the provision of services. This app currently leverages Amani Maps - an open-source mapping tool built with OpenLayers and Leaflet developed by PeaceGeeks that is part of the Amani Platform - and the ActivityInfo, developed by Be Data Driven, in partnership with OCHA and UNICEF.

Program Location(s): 
Activation Requiested by: 
UN High Commission for Refugees
Program status: 
Activation Request Date: 
Monday, May 5, 2014
Timeframe: 
Monday, May 5, 2014
Member Participation: 

PeaceGeeks led this activation with the assistance of local tech partner, Affinity Bridge. GNU Co-op also played an important support role in the latter part of the development.