There is growing recognition among donors and humanitarian organisations that mobile technology and mobile network operators (MNOs) have an important role to play in the delivery of dignified aid. This includes providing digital tools that help people affected by crisis become more self-sufficient, especially those in protracted humanitarian crises. However, more evidence is needed to understand the digital needs and preferences of people affected by crisis, how they are currently accessing and using mobile technology, and the barriers they encounter.
This GSMA research, conducted with support from UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), aims to build this evidence base, providing humanitarian organisations and MNOs with unique insights and direction on how to work together to digitise humanitarian assistance and ensure the benefits of mobile technology are shared equally by all.
This report explores the ways in which mobile technology can improve access to financial services, utilities (notably energy) and identity services, as well as information to improve food security, with an overarching focus on gender and inclusivity in refugee contexts. The study aims to provide insight into these key thematic areas, drawing out emerging trends and cross-cutting themes across different contexts.
The two main objectives of the research are to:
The research adopted a mixed methods approach and was conducted in three humanitarian contexts: Jordan (urban refugees), Rwanda (Kiziba refugee camp) and Uganda (Bidi Bidi refugee settlement). A range of methodological approaches were employed, including nearly 3,000 survey interviews and 55 focus group discussions, as well as market observations and digital day snapshots1 with refugees and host community members.
The analysis begins with an overview of mobile technology access, use and barriers (section 3) in each context. This digital snapshot of refugees provides a foundation for subsequent chapters on five thematic areas.
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