Message from the President
In 2020 the world faced an unprecedented global challenge, which didn’t spare anyone, across countries and sectors. If the COVID-19 pandemic and its related restrictions severely limited travels, put a strain on healthcare systems and slowed down economic activities, there is one element that was not hampered, but actually fostered: the difficulties faced by the most vulnerable populations.
In this completely transformed world, technologies played a key role in all aspects of our lives: to work, be informed, remain in contact with our loved ones or continue our education. If they have been important in our lives, they have been essential in continuing the assistance to isolated populations when deployments and physical proximity had to be limited. 2020 demonstrated to the world what TSF has been advocating for since its foundation: that technologies and telecommunications can have a tremendous impact on humanitarian response.
Thanks to remotely managed solutions, our teams could continue the assistance to migrants and refugees across Mexico and in Bosnia-Herzegovina, who were able to have access to relevant information and remain in contact with their loved ones. Refugee children in Turkey could receive distant education, even those who wouldn’t have the means to access digital technologies. In Syria, TSF’s connections continued to help medical teams on the ground in their daily operations. Mozambican authorities could receive satellite devices and be trained to be able to use them in their fight against the spread of COVID-19.
However, TSF didn’t stop to remote assistance. Whenever deployments were possible, our teams were on the ground to support the victims of the major sudden disasters of the year. After the explosions at the port of Beirut, TSF set up a call centre with its local partner Live Love Lebanon, to help the victims express their needs and put them in contact with the relevant NGOs that could assist them. We deployed to the Greek island of Lesbos, after the fire that destroyed the biggest refugee camp in Europe, where we installed a satellite connection to allow the asylum seekers to remain in contact with their families and be informed about their situation. Finally, in the aftermaths of hurricane Eta, we deployed to Honduras, where we provided connections to the people evacuated and to the humanitarian organisations assisting them.
A very challenging year is behind us, but another difficult one lays ahead. We are all aware that the consequences of the pandemic will last for several more months. Restrictions and protection measures will still have a significant impact on humanitarian response. However, at TSF this is not a reason to stand still. On the contrary, it’s one reason more to work relentlessly to harness the potential of technologies and telecommunications to remain close to and protect those who need it most, even more in this moment.