Canadian nonprofit organization PeaceGeeks has created a new app called Services Advisor in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The purpose of the app is to help refugees in Jordan locate available services.
As of November 2016, refugees and displaced persons in Jordan included over 700,000 individuals. According to the UNHCR’s November 2016 Factsheet for Jordan, 90 percent are from Syria, eight percent are from Iraq and most of those remaining are from Yemen and Sudan. Jordan hosts the second highest number of refugees per 1,000 people, and it is the sixth highest number of refugees of countries overall.
After overcoming the challenge of fleeing from their country of origin, refugees then face the need to find basic resources such as food, shelter and medical care. The location and availability of these services can change, making it even more difficult for refugees to know where to go.
Humanitarian aid organizations that provide assistance to refugees in Jordan can find it difficult to connect with people who need help, struggling to keep refugees updated on available services. This is where PeaceGeeks’ newest technology is helpful.
Services Advisor is accessible to anyone with a smartphone or computer, and it is available in English and Arabic. Many refugees leave their countries with cellphones and there are organizations in Jordan that hand out sim cards once they arrive. Internet access is available in Jordan’s public spaces.
The new app lists services by category: basic needs, education, food, health, protection, shelter and wash. Users choose a region in Jordan to find the services available in that part of the country. The web app then displays information about nearby organizations, including services and hours of operation. The organizations are responsible for keeping their information up to date.
In a recent interview, PeaceGeeks Executive Director Renee Black explained the idea behind Services Advisor. “It’s a single place that refugees can find whatever’s available to them: whether it be for things like water and sanitation, psycho-social help, or shelter or anything like that.” This new technology will make finding those services significantly easier for the refugees who desperately need them.
– Kristin Westad