CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

Somalia: Refugee United Partners With Telesom to Reconnect Refugees From Somalia

Refugees, returnees and internally displaced families in Somaliland can now benefit from a partnership between Refugees United and Telesom to provide a countrywide SMS campaign, a toll free Help line and a SMS short code.

Refugees united says the deal will help separated families reunite through the global family tracing platform with Telesom's wide reach helping to get to more people.

"Partnerships like these provide us with the opportunity to change thousands of lives. Everyone has a right to know where their family is. A company with the reach of Telesom allows us to convey that message to the families who need to hear it the most," says Refugees United's co-founder Christopher Mikkelsen.

On its part Telesom has donated 13 million SMS messages and has also established a free help line that links to a call centre where Somali families can register on Refugees united platform.

These messages will be throughout target settlements and areas in which Somali refugees, returnees and internally displaced people live.

"We're making it as easy as possible to reach the people who are most in need of these services. Refugees United is running a platform that brings families together. We're thrilled to do what we can in making sure that this opportunity is available to anyone who needs to find their missing loved ones," says Telesom CEO, Mr. Abdikarim Mohamed Eid.

Using the platform more than 100,000 Somalis in search of missing family have been helped onto the tracing platform in Kenya, Somalia and elsewhere, and this initiative is expected to help many families back together.

The hotline and SMS short code will be free of charge to all Telesom subscribers. Refugees United believes the partnership will increase participation in the platform throughout Somaliland and will further their goal of bringing one million people onto the platform by 2015.

"This partnership between Telesom and Refugees United is a prime example of how people separated by conflict or natural disaster can use the powers of technology and innovation to reconnect with their loved ones. It allows us all to get one step closer to ensuring that the vital bonds of family and friendship remain intact, even in the most difficult and desperate of situations," says Mr. Gavin Roy, Resident Coordination Adviser at United Nations Resident Coordinator's Office in Hargeisa.

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