For the nearly 80 million people around the world that have been forcibly displaced due to violence and persecution, the pandemic has amplified uncertainty and fear.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC), Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (USA for UNHCR) are building and scaling crisis lines to provide live-saving information and resources to refugee communities in the U.S., Europe, South America, Asia, Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.
Humanitarian support has traditionally been provided in a face-to-face format. Global travel restrictions, shelter-in-place ordinances, and safety measures such as social distancing have hindered humanitarian organizations trying to provide their usual depth of support in healthcare, education, housing, legal support, counseling, food, and employment resources.
In response, organizations are pivoting to more digital services to continue to provide resources and services to the communities they serve.
NRC will use grant funding to set up digital service centers to ensure continuity of existing services like legal advice and continued education, as well as add new services such as COVID awareness and monitoring.
IRC will use grant funding to expand Signpost, its two-way messaging system, in Greece and Italy, to help moderators manage increasing demand. Signpost will also roll out a two-way communications and case management platform for refugees and asylees in the US.
UNHCR is building an omnichannel hotline for refugees and asylees in Argentina, connecting them with healthcare, employment opportunities, and legal support.
In addition to the organizations mentioned above, Twilio.org is supporting Child Helpline International, Fast Forward, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Domestic Workers Alliance, Polaris, Tarjimly, Tech Matters, The Trevor Project, Trek Medics International, United Ways of California, Vibrant Emotional Health, and Operation Fistula in this grant round.
At Twilio.org, we believe communication has the power to change lives. Technology plays a critical role in how we can support people in need. Each one of our grantees is pushing forward and amplifying their impact with a tech-first approach. We are incredibly honored to support and learn from this inspiring cohort of crisis line organizations.