Digital Humanitarianism: How Tech Entrepreneurs Are Supporting Refugee Integration
Following the 2015/16 refugee arrivals in Europe, social and technological innovations have emerged in the field of integration. They aim at helping newcomers navigate local services, get into work or access community-based housing. The report Digital Humanitarianism: How Tech Entrepreneurs Are Supporting Refugee Integration, by the Migration Policy Institute Europe, maps the emerging tools and considers how refugee integration policy-makers might play a more active role in supporting the most promising ones.
The analysis concludes that the 'refugee crisis' galvanised tremendous tech innovation in a very short time. The rapidity of such response has blurred the line between civil society and business. However, whether the small-scale solutions will have more than limited effect or will radically change the way countries receive and integrate refugees, remains to be seen. In order to bring together NGOs and tech companies, policy-makers are recommended to better integrate innovation within mainstream services and ensure scaling of the most promising ideas. Proposed policy levers for encouraging innovation in support for refugees’ integration include:
- challenge prizes to stimulate new ideas,
- follow-on funding and incubation to support and scale what works,
- innovative models of procurement to help innovators win government contracts,
- information sharing and convening to create new partnerships for change.