Zain, UNHCR and Facebook collaborate to support Connectivity for Refugees initiative in Jordan

Zain, UNHCR and Facebook collaborate to support Connectivity for Refugees initiative in Jordan

Zain Group announced a collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Facebook to provide free, open and high-speed Wi-Fi internet connectivity to refugees in the Kingdom of Jordan for five years.

The Group mentioned in a press release, this collaboration came on the sidelines of participation in Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development of the UN meeting in New York held on 18 September 2016 and explained that is a part of its initiative “Connectivity for Refugees“.

Zain Group which have and operate 8 developed mobile networks across the Middle East and Africa explained This life-empowering service is being provided to refugees and surrounding local communities in key areas identified by the UNHCR.

More than 724,000 refugees are registered with the UNHCR in Jordan, originating mainly from neighboring Iraq and Syria, two countries facing ongoing internal unrest that has resulted in the massive displacement of large populations.

The connectivity project backed by Zain Group, UNHCR and Facebook will offer unlimited, 24/7 outdoor and indoor Wi-Fi access points through Zain Jordan’s high-speed 4G mobile network, initially in four primary locations across for Zain Jordan.

Reliable internet connectivity is critical to supporting the efforts to make the lives of the refugees as comfortable and dignified as possible, allowing them to maintain contact with their loved ones back in their home countries, amongst other things.

The refugee centers already offer assistance to refugees in the form of psychological support, recreational activities, informal education as well as economic empowerment programs and life skills development. The centers also host regular Help Desks run by UNHCR staff in order to address refugee needs such as registration, documentation, health referrals, financial assistance, and protection counseling.

The centers also provide assistance to refugees with special needs and offer various life-enhancing workshops. All these services will be impacted positively by the provision of sound internet connectivity within the centers.

Scott Gegenheimer, Zain Group CEO and a Broadband Commissioner said, “As a regional telecommunications provider that has a history of operating in and helping communities in conflict zones, we are well aware of the transformational power connectivity plays in improving the quality of life of people”.

Gegenheimer adds by say “ this initiative will enable refugees in Jordan to stay informed with news concerning their circumstances as well as empowering them to utilize the power of the internet to enhance their social and economic livelihoods”.

Alan Vernon, Lead for UNHCR’s Connectivity for Refugees Programme, said, “UNHCR is very pleased to partner and with Facebook and Zain to bring internet access to refugees in Jordan”.

And continued by saying “Not only does internet access directly improve the well-being of refugees, but it also enables UNHCR and its partners to communicate more effectively with refugees and deliver improved support to their communities.”

Kevin Martin, Facebook’s Vice President of Mobile and Global Access Policy, and a Broadband Commissioner said: “Everyone in the world – including the millions of refugees who have been displaced from their homes - deserve access to the opportunities of the internet. Our hope is that by collaborating with the UNHCR and Zain Group, refugee communities in Jordan will now be able to connect with their families and friends, share information, and become part of the global digital community.”

Its worth mentioning This multi-stakeholder collaboration is address several of Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) that were adopted one year ago by 193 world leaders at the United Nations’ meeting in September 2015 aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet, and ensuring the prosperity for all in the coming 15 years.

Undoubtedly This collaboration addresses several of Sustainability Development namely Goal 17, which addresses technology, capacity building and multi-stakeholder partnership targets as well as Goal 4, which seeks to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education, and the promotion of life-long learning opportunities for all.