International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Google, Microsoft, Cisco and TripAdvisor Expand One-Stop Informational Portal for Refugees Under the Newly Formed Global Platform, Signpost
Expansion to Italy, Jordan and El Salvador Will Provide 60,000 Crisis-Affected Individuals with Access to Critical Information and Resources
New York, NY, March 16, 2018 — Building on the success and necessity of the informational site Refugee.Info, International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps, alongside global partner PeaceGeeks and with support from Google, Cisco, Microsoft and TripAdvisor, announced today the expansion of the Europe-based Refugee.Info to Italy, and the launch of new sites in Jordan and El Salvador. The sites live under the umbrella of the global platform, Signpost, a digital initiative focused on providing the humanitarian community with a platform to reach refugees, asylum seekers and crisis-affected communities with critical information in multiple languages. Each site provides potentially lifesaving, up-to-date information on legal rights, accommodation, transportation, medical facilities and more.
“Technology has played a critical role in providing refugees and crisis-affected individuals with the information they need to make informed choices about their lives. Refugee.Info has helped more than 600,000 people and the newly formed Signpost platform will build on its success,” said Reynaldo Rodrigues, Signpost Project Director at the International Rescue Committee. “The platform is a testament to the power of partnership in helping solve society’s most pressing issues. We are grateful to Google, Cisco, Microsoft and TripAdvisor because with their support we are able to expand this critical information pipeline to tens of thousands of the world’s most vulnerable people.”
Since its launch in Greece in 2015, Refugee.Info has served more than 600,000 people, meeting refugees and asylum-seekers in Europe online through its website, mobile application and social media, to listen to their questions and concerns, and provide the information they need to make informed choices about their lives. The expansion of the site to Italy, and the creation of new versions in Jordan and El Salvador will build on that information pipeline, providing crisis-affected individuals with essential and timely information that is local and context-specific.
“At a time when nearly 66 million people are on the run, technology plays a critical role in tackling the world’s toughest challenges,” said Meghann Rhynard-Geil, Technology for Development Advisor for Mercy Corps. “Signpost and innovative digital solutions for the humanitarian community have incredible potential to continue ensuring dignity and choice for vulnerable families in search of safety and a better life.”
Additional details of the new initiatives are as follows:
Italy: Building upon the successful model of Refugee.Info, the service will extend coverage to Italy by the end of March 2018. The expansion is a direct response to the fact that Italy is now the primary point of entry in Europe for migrants and refugees. In 2017, Italy received over 118,000 arrivals by the Mediterranean Sea alone, compared to just over 28,000 in Greece.
Jordan: Since the start of the Syrian conflict, over 600,000 Syrians have fled to Jordan. Mercy Corps recently launched Khabrona.Info, which provides crucial information on important civil documents and paperwork for refugees settling in the country.
El Salvador: A new channel, CuentaNos, will also play a central role in the IRC’s emergency response strategy in El Salvador. Similar to its counterparts in Europe and the Middle East, CuentaNos will provide crisis-affected communities with timely information about rights, services, and other safety topics through platforms that are accessible and preferred by beneficiaries. CuentaNos will be live by the end of April 2018.
“We’re humbled to have had the opportunity to work alongside the International Rescue Committee on the Refugee InfoHub project since inception and thrilled to see how much progress has been made on the platform,” said Hector Mujica, Google.org Program Manager.
“Our Google volunteers have worked diligently alongside IRC to help scale the reach of the platform and adapt it to each refugee group’s context. We are excited to continue to support the IRC’s goal of bringing relevant and timely information to refugees when they need it most, where they need it most.”…