There is no one-size-fits-all way to help refugees. As the world becomes increasingly complex new systems, technologies and innovations can help challenge the status quo.
While emergency aid is critical for refugees in the hours, days and months after fleeing, connectivity, improvements to shelter and integrating technology are essential responses to long-term refugee needs.
USA for UNHCR supports innovative programming that includes:
“In Syria we were used to a particular lifestyle, and then we were disconnected from it when we became refugees . . . For someone who is used to having electricity, you cannot imagine how difficult it is to live without it.”
- Syrian refugee, Azraq camp, Jordan.
USA for UNHCR donors help UNHCR deliver innovative responses to the global refugee crisis by providing support for initiatives such as:
Connectivity: For many refugees, the first question they ask when arriving at a registration center is “do you have mobile phone chargers or internet connection?” As well as being essential for keeping in touch with loved ones, refugees now view access to a mobile phone and the internet as being as critical to their safety and security as food, water and shelter. Connectivity provides opportunities for refugees to improve their own lives and work towards a brighter future.
Solar power: How do you deliver electricity to thousands of shelters in an environmentally friendly way in the desert? The answer, solar power. In May 2017, Azraq refugee camp in Jordan became the first refugee camp to be powered with renewable energy. The quality of life for refugees in the camp immediately improved. Electricity replaced solar lanterns throughout the camp, which increased safety and security, and electricity also meant that refugees could begin using refrigerators to store food and that life doesn’t end when the sun goes down. This innovation is projected to generate an immediate energy cost saving of $1.5 million a year.