Harnessing new technology

In Lebanon, recent developments in government policy – in response to the mass influx of displaced persons – have pushed over 750,000 Syrian refugees onto the wrong side of the law.

No way out
Migrants carrying illegal papers are at high-risk of arrest, detention and abuse – particularly those who are forced onto the street, in search of work and basic services. In 2018, Dorcas helped more than 1,000 Syrian refugees seek legal support and counselling in Lebanon – the stirrings of a programme to protect the fundamental rights of communities forced to flee.

A glimmer of hope
In partnership with Migration Services and Development (MSD) we developed a mobile app designed to transform the way in which refugees are able to seek help. It’s simple – beneficiaries register for the app confidentially in their native language, and this unlocks access to personalised services, relevant to the individuals existing knowledge and network.

Virtual support network
The app is designed in two parts:

  • Information services: contains information about the rights and responsibilities of migrant workers and refugees; as well as legal information and obligations, essential contacts and practical advice designed to help people integrate and adapt to life in Lebanon.
  • Interactive services: allows migrant workers across the country to connect with each other – and suggest and file complaints to the organisation; which are then followed up the case worker through the proper channels. App features include surveys, a suggestion box and push notifications from migrant organisations and personal networks.

Flash Forward
With the app in it’s infant years – and the conflict in Syria still ongoing – Dorcas is still in the process of development. In 2019, we will conduct our first evaluation of the app – through a series of interviews with staff and recipients on the ground.

29 April 2019

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