Tanzania + 3 more

Mobile is a Lifeline: Research from Nyarugusu Refugee Camp, Tanzania

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Executive Summary

By the end of 2016, the number of displaced people worldwide reached a record 65.6 million, including 22.5 million people living as refugees1, intensifying pressure on the humanitarian sector to find more efective and efcient ways to meet the needs of afected populations. Displaced populations are becoming increasingly connected as the mobile industry continues to extend its coverage, today providing services to 5 billion2 people across the globe. At the same time, displaced populations continue to be disproportionately afected by afordability and accessibility constraints. The unique needs of refugees can significantly elevate the demand for mobile and internet services. From providing refugees with the means to communicate with separated family members and connect with the wider world, to receiving vital income via remittances and humanitarian cash transfers, mobile technology is addressing these needs.

This report explores the socio-economic impact of connectivity for refugees in a large, rural camp setting in Tanzania. Nyarugusu is one of three large refugee camps in the Kigoma region. Established in 1996, it now hosts more than 136,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi. In 2016, Vodacom installed a 3G tower in Nyarugusu camp for the first time, providing an opportunity to assess the impact of mobile connectivity on refugees. Today, Airtel, Halotel and Tigo also provide connectivity to refugees in the camp. Nyarugusu remains the only camp in the Kigoma region with access to 3G.

The purpose of this report is to provide robust evidence of the current use, value and impact of connectivity, and the barriers and challenges that refugees face in accessing and using mobile devices.
This research provides mobile network operators (MNOs) and humanitarian agencies with key insights on the opportunities and barriers to enhancing the provision of mobile services to refugees