Interesting research by GSMA which I’m slowly going through. I know very little about these regions included in the research, so it’s a bit of an eye opener.
There is growing recognition among donors and humanitarian organisations that mobile technology and mobile network operators (MNOs) have an important role to play in the delivery of dignified aid. This includes providing digital tools that help people affected by crisis become more self-sufficient, especially those in protracted humanitarian crises. However, more evidence is needed to understand the digital needs and preferences of people affected by crisis, how they are currently accessing and using mobile technology, and the barriers they encounter.
This report explores the ways in which mobile technology can improve access to financial services, utilities (notably energy) and identity services, as well as information to improve food security, with an overarching focus on gender and inclusivity in refugee contexts. The study aims to provide insight into these key thematic areas, drawing out emerging trends and cross-cutting themes across different contexts.
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, 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.
The digital lives of refugees: How displaced populations use mobile phones and what gets in the way