Mobile Technology Can Be Difference Maker For Humanitarian Aid

February 26, 2016

A selfie is easy to mock. ‘Narcissistic millennials only care about themselves.’ ‘Look at those stupid tourists and their selfie sticks.’ But for Alec Barton, founder & publisher at Developing Telecoms, a selfie for people like the Syrian refugees is a symbol of safety, a wink to loved ones back home. The image he put on the screen at Mobile World Congress during a forum on mobile and technology’s role in humanitarian aid was of a Syrian refugee taking a selfie with his group. The brief moment of happiness amongst the dread was “one of the most significant and moving images of the year.”
“These (refugee) selfies are about a simple and direct way to tell their family they are safe,” Barton said at MWC. “After safety, food, warmth and water, the next most important thing is the ability to communicate, which in reality means their mobile phone.”

Some of the first questions, he said, refugees ask when they get to a point is “‘where can I charge my mobile,’ ‘what network’ and ‘what’s the Wi-Fi password.’ Think about the significance of that.” “Even though communities as affected by crisis, people are still people,” Jacob Korenblum, CEO & Co-Founder of Souktel Digital Solutions, said at MWC. “They are still mobile users, they still have needs or desire that someone sitting in this room has. “People want to listen to music, take photos, do social.. it’s in fact a way of coping with the crisis surrounding them,” Korenblum said at MWC. For more:

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