Canadian Tech Startup Creates App to Alert Refugees Where to Find Necessities

Mytilini, Lesvos island refugee childrenIn cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a Canadian tech startup called PeaceGeeks has created an app called Services Advisor, which aims to help refugees find food, drinking water and medicine and much more.

“It lists categories including shelter, health, education, protection, food and clean water. Users click on a category, and a list appears with detailed information about when and where they can access the type of service they want, including a map with clickable pins,” theguardian.com reports.

The service is viable in both English and Arabic and is easily accessed with an internet connection and computer or smartphone. This is a vital means of communication for the refugees and will reach many people in need as the humanitarian agency Mercy Corps reports that some 85 percent of Syrian refugees have a smartphone.

Development of the app is in the final stages and is set to be launched this month. Once the app is up and running UNHCR is planning to send a text message to alert some 650,000 refugees of the service.

“Refugees arriving in a new country have no job, no home and no support system to access even their most basic needs,” Renee Black, the executive director of PeaceGeeks explained to theguardian.com. “Technology can play a critical role in empowering refugees to be active agents in their own future,” she noted.