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Phone app to help refugees track kin

Fri, 2011-06-24 10:25 by admin

BY NDERITU NDEGWA

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 20 - Safaricom and Ericsson have launched an initiative that will allow refugees who have been separated from their families, search and find their relatives.

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Ericsson MD Craig Hosken says the application has been used in other countries and has proven very reliable.

"It is really about using the existing mobile telephony and this application is to be used to re-unite displaced people and refugees. That will enable people to re-connect with each other and to get in touch with their loved ones and missing family. We are expanding this concept to cover countries in Africa, actually Sweden is our next stop as there are a lot of refugees in Sweden," Mr Hosken said.

The new mobile tool enables refugees to access Refugees United's mobile site - http://m.refunite.org register themselves (in English, Kiswahili, Somali or Arabic), search for and subsequently reconnect with loved ones.

Once registered, the information is stored in an anonymous database that is maintained by Refugees United. It can then be accessed by individuals as well as NGOs and international organizations caring for displaced people, to rapidly search for matches. Without the program, locating displaced family members can take years when relying on traditional paper based systems. …

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