This programme aims to enhance UNHCR’s approaches to ensuring refugees have access to digital technology and connectivity, and that when UNHCR is engaging with communities through such channels we do so in a way that is accountable to them, accessible to different groups, and facilitates meaningful participation in humanitarian action.
Digital literacy is vital to ensuring that individuals can safely, effectively and efficiently use technology. Lack of relevant digital skills and knowledge remains among the main barriers to accessing connectivity services worldwide. In an age where societies as a whole are digitising rapidly, and humanitarian assistance is increasingly being provided through remote digital channels, the importance of addressing this skills gap is vital in ensuring communities are able to navigate often new and unfamiliar digital engagements.
Furthermore, data literacy is specifically important as community members not only understand the systems and platforms they’re using, but what happens to the data they’re generating or providing, how this is processed and by whom.
Critically, there are also different ways of addressing such challenges ranging from more top-down ‘campaigns’ to bottom-up community-driven approaches to enhancing understanding.
Risks do not end with a digitally and data literate population.
Other possible risks span across a variety of areas such as:
a) Secure connections;
b) Digital Surveillance:
c) Securing access;
e) Online abuse and sexual gender-based violence.
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The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Innovation Service is seeking proposals that provides targeted financial support to country operations interested in tackling specific challenges on Safety of forcibly displaced people online.
UNHCR’s Connectivity for Refugees initiative recognises the right that refugees and other forcibly displaced populations have to actively participate in the current digital revolution.
Humanitarian contexts further deteriorated by the COVID-19 pandemic highlight the critical importance of a connected refugee community that can efficiently access vital information and life-saving protection services remotely.
The main objective of this challenge is to build on previous efforts by humanitarian and partner organisations in this space. To ensure sustainable access to connectivity to refugees and their hosting communities to address real and perceived digital risks and guarantee a safe, inclusive and responsible engagement online – considering specific risks and barriers faced by different groups based on age, gender or demographic.
The interventions proposed aim to address online risks faced by affected communities in a given operational context by enhancing their digital skills.
Only UNHCR country operations are able to apply to the challenge and one submission is accepted per operation.
This Expression of Interest should command the support of senior management within the operation.
Funding information: up to USD 50,000; they are required to be expended by 31st December 2020.
Deadline: ongoing. You can apply anytime while funds last.
Evaluation of Expressions of Interest (EoI) will take place every 6 weeks.
For more information, please visit https://www.unhcr.org/innovation/digital-inclusion-call/