Innovation in Refugee Response and Protection during COVID-19
In the wake of the Syrian crisis and the massive influx of refugees in Jordan, the UNHCR Jordan operation has attracted worldwide attention thanks to its unique approach to invest in new technology and partners with the Private Sector to support its refugee programmes. In recent years, the return of those smart investments has allowed UNHCR not only to reduce its expenditures and make its programmes more sustainable but has also enhanced UNHCR’s role as a catalyst to bring new, development actors to support refugees in the long-term.
In 2020, in response to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Jordan put in place a series of swift measures to safeguard the public health system, including lockdowns and other mobility restrictions throughout the country. To overcome some of the challenges, UNHCR quickly adapted and has since further invested on innovative solutions several areas, with the goal of protecting the health of refugees while keep delivering protection services and assistance. The following innovative solutions have provided some relief to refugees who have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 emergency and have enabled them to cover their basic needs with dignity.
Protection response and remote refugee hotlines
While the bulk of UNHCR’s response has continued through remote modalities throughout the COVID-19 crisis, UNHCR Jordan maintained a core group of staff who have stayed and delivered essential in-person services in Azraq and Zaatari camps, even during the months of total lockdown in Jordan. With health measures in place and continued monitoring of the situation, UNHCR staff in the two refugee camps stepped up the response and continued to offer assistance to persons of concern most affected by the emergency. As part of its protection response to COVID-19, UNHCR Jordan, in coordination with the members of the Protection Working group, has enhanced and updated its remote refugee protection hotline services. Additionally, through the Amaali mobile application, UNHCR is able to mainstream the referral pathways for sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) cases, while the UNHCR Integrated Voice Recognition Helpline has managed over 200,000 monthly calls since March. Read more here.