This report aims to build an evidence base of how mobile technology and mobile network operators (MNOs) have an important role to play in the delivery of dignified aid to refugees. The report provides humanitarian organisations and MNOs with unique insights and direction on how to work together to digitise humanitarian assistance and ensure the benefits of mobile technology are shared equally by all.
The two main objectives of the research are to:
- Provide data and insights for humanitarian organisations seeking to design digital interventions that better serve refugee populations and ensure the most vulnerable are not left behind.
- Generate robust evidence to inform the private sector, particularly MNOs, of the market opportunity of serving refugees and host communities.
The analysis begins with an overview of mobile technology access, use and barriers (section 3) in each context. This digital snapshot of refugees provides a foundation for subsequent chapters on five thematic areas.
- Over two-thirds of refugees in all three research locations are active mobile phone users, 2 with the highest proportion in Jordan.
- Refugees access mobile services in creative ways depending on their context: sharing or borrowing handsets and owning multiple SIMs. For those who do not own handsets, borrowing is an important way of getting connected.
- The most commonly used mobile services among active users in all three research locations are making calls and using SMS services. Mobile money is one of the top three mobile use cases in Kiziba and Bidi Bidi, where 59 per cent and 44 per cent of refugees use mobile money, respectively.
- Awareness of mobile internet is high, but only about a third of respondents in Bidi Bidi and Kiziba have used it. The findings also indicate that refugees would like to use mobile internet more than they are currently able to.
- Affordability, literacy and digital skills, and charging are the main barriers to mobile phone ownership and mobile internet use in all contexts.