REFUNITE

Everyone has the right to know where their family is. This belief is at the core of REFUNITE, a nonprofit tech organization whose mission is to reconnect refugee families across the globe with missing loved ones. When families are separated, we put them back in touch. We empower refugees and displaced people to take the search for missing loved ones into their own hands, whether through a mobile phone, a computer or one of our free help lines.

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About This Innovation

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How does your innovation work?

We believe everyone has a right to know where their family is. At REFUNITE, we set out to revolutionize the process of family tracing. With little more than access to a low-cost mobile phone – and in high-need countries, even without Internet access – refugees and displaced people can search for their missing loved ones with the click of a button. REFUNITE offers a simple mobile platform through which displaced people can register, search and reconnect. Our service is accessible via a smartphone or any basic feature phone and is free of charge. Users can register via SMS, USSD, our free hotlines or via our mobile m.refunite.org. REFUNITE collaborates directly and indirectly with twenty mobile operators globally as well as technology companies, such as Free Basics by Facebook and Ericsson. Thanks to these partnerships with mobile operators, REFUNITE has access to 322 million mobile subscribers. REFUNITE’s long-term vision is to scale current family reconnection efforts further, reaching more refugees and displaced people affected by conflict in high-need countries. By scaling our family tracing project, we can improve connectedness among displaced populations across countries. Through our partnerships with mobile operators, we have become embedded in some of the hardest-to-reach places. Building out our technology and partnerships further will allow us register more people and help more families reconnect globally.

What is your strategy for expanding use of your innovation?

​REFUNITE aims to scale current family reconnection efforts further, focusing on refugees and displaced people separated by conflict; an invisible tragedy that affects families globally. By scaling our family tracing project, we can improve connectedness among displaced populations within and among refugee camps and urban settlements. Having successfully reconnected 20,176 family members, we are in a strong position to reach even more separated families. Through our partnerships with mobile operators, we have become embedded in some of the hardest-to-reach places, such as South Sudan, The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia. Building out our technology and partnerships further will allow us register more people and help more families reconnect globally. Through additional funding, increased visibility and additional partnerships, REFUNITE can significantly expand its reach and develop new technologies that can help more people reconnect where we operate and in new countries. Furthermore, REFUNITE will also optimize the user experience and reconnection rate for users, raising the percentage rate between registrations and reconnections.

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