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Pluralsight One + NRC: Building tech skills to address the needs of the global refugee crisis

In 2018, 28 million people were displaced from their homes due to violent conflict or natural disasters.

Read that again.

28 million people. Just last year. According to numbers released this week by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, 70.8 million people are displaced worldwide, the largest number ever recorded.

Across 148 countries and territories, more people than ever are struggling with the after-effects of displacement, which impacts every aspect of their lives. That includes access to housing, food and water; jobs, education, health, security and safety, and even counseling and legal assistance, not to mention other conveniences we often take for granted.

As these numbers grow, the funding and resources available have not scaled to meet the ever increasing need. This needs to change. For organizations seeking to be a part of the solution, knowing how to prioritize resources and use technology to help is crucial to improving these conditions for those affected.

That’s why I’m honored to announce Pluralsight One is partnering with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). In 2018, the NRC provided assistance and protection to 8.5 million refugees and people displaced in their own country, across 31 countries. Their goal: saving lives and rebuilding futures.

Supporting NRC’s digital transformation efforts

Our collaboration will tackle two critical needs: create sustainable social impact for millions of displaced and crisis-affected populations around the world, and increase the efficiency and efficacy of the NRC staff who serve them.

Together, we’ll seek out solutions to advance NRC’s outcomes and leverage technology to accelerate its mission. Teams will have access to Pluralsight to upskill on the latest technologies, which will support NRC as it continues to modernize its infrastructure and deepen its data and analytics capabilities, so it can better understand the nature of displacements and fortify its response and influence globally.

During our first year of collaboration, Pluralsight One will provide $250,000 in funding and a $6.3M product grant to power its technology strategy and innovation efforts.

Using technology to better address the needs of displaced populations

In supporting NRC’s digital transformation efforts, Pluralsight One will strengthen the organization’s ability to apply technology-based solutions and innovate in the face of a growing, global challenge.

For example, through NRC’s Information Counselling and Legal Assistance program, attorneys have been working with refugees in Iraq to re-establish their documentation and help them regain access to their properties, services and more.

As you might expect, not having proper documentation is a significant obstacle in an individual’s life, and it’s impacting hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people. The face-to-face program is hard to scale today, but if NRC could build a virtual legal assistance program, they could greatly increase the number of people they assist and provide them with help 24/7.

Another example is leveraging technology to provide life-saving information to people who are fleeing. Venezuelan refugees, for example, cross the border into neighboring countries with very few belongings, and often without insights on what steps to take once they reach their destination.

NGOs and technology companies are placing free wi-fi hotspots along the routes out of Venezuela and into Colombia, Brazil and other countries. This provides people who are fleeing with internet access, so they can communicate with their loved ones, and get guidance from NGOs on where to go, what services they can access and more.

Democratizing technology skills

Additionally, our partnership will support the NRC as it brings technology skills development opportunities to displaced people and their host communities around the world. Specifically, we’ll focus on providing advanced technology skills training for displaced youth.

At Pluralsight, we believe everyone, everywhere should have the opportunity to create with technology. It’s why our mission is to democratize technology skills. And we believe our platform, resources and community can change the trajectory of lives and facilitate a crucial turning point for displaced and host country individuals throughout the world.

Together, we can solve big problems

We also aim to keep the global refugee crisis front and center as we work together to create the next generation of humanitarian staff, tools and infrastructure.

We want to enlist our global Pluralsight community of technologists, leaders, authors, team members and corporate partners to help solve these big challenges.

We challenge each of you to take the time to better understand the root of this global crisis. Moreover, we ask you to consider how your skills and resources can be put to use to create needs-based and technology-based solutions to global and regional challenges.

Improving opportunities for displaced individuals throughout the world won’t be easy, but together, we can turn the course of history.

To support the NRC’s digital transformation efforts, you can donate here or learn more about their work and how to get involved by following their progress on LinkedIn.



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Aaron Skonnard

Aaron Skonnard

Democratizing technology. CEO of @Pluralsight.