TIS Weekly (#33): From Techfugees To Connected Refugee Camps

[January 24th, 2016]

Refugees or refugee camps might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about innovation. Or technology. On the other hand, dire situations have sparked the imagination and resourcefulness of the human race many times in the past. And so it does now. This newsletter is dedicated to our theme of the month: Refugees. How do they innovate whilst on the run and how can we help them with innovations to improve their lives.

Technical solution for refugees:

Mike Butcher is editor at large at the renowned technology blog TechCrunch. In view of the current refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe, he felt the tech community needed to come up with a proper response. So he started the initiative Techfugee (tech for refugees). His goal is to create a series of non-profit “Techfugee” conferences, hackathons, and work with a global network of collaborators to come up with innovations to help. We heart Techfugees and trust you do too. So help them by sharing the best examples of innovations from, for or with refugees on www.tis.tv.

Below the video report of the first Techfugee Hackathon with a great number of refreshing ideas.

Alexander Betts
Helping the refugees helping themselves

Whereas Mike wants the tech scene to come up with much needed innovations, Alexander Betts has a very inspiring and compelling case about looking at the refugees themselves for innovations. Use their ideas, brains and knowledge and give them the opportunity to do something useful!

The connected refugee camp 

Communication is probably one of the main issues for a refugee. From best countries to go to, best roads to travel on, to informing relatives and friends; without a mobile phone or access to computer a rather difficult task to comply. Dadaab in Kenya is one of the largest and oldest refugee camps in the world housing over 300 thousand people. In such a place, almost a city, connectivity is vital. Cisco, Microsoft, Inveneo, GBI and NetHope worked together in creating DadaabNet, a network to provide just that.

OK that’s it for this week, friends of innovation. Keep on submitting, keep on voting, keep on innovating. Questions? Remarks? Ideas? hello@tis.tv is the address! From TIS with love, Erwin Blom.

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