Connectivity for refugees in Greece: evaluation shows positive results – Greece



A year ago, following the fire that ravaged the Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesvos, Greece, TSF installed a satellite connection for the refugees housed in the new Mavrovouni camp. Between May and June 2021, in collaboration with the local association Stand By Me, our teams carried out an assessment to better understand the impact of this connection. The results show that connectivity for refugees is not an option and that it can have a significant impact on their lives.

92% of the refugees interviewed said they used an internet connection in the camp. This once again confirms what TSF has advocated since its foundation: being connected is an essential need for vulnerable populations and is an integral part of emergency humanitarian response.

Refugees need to be connected for different reasons. The results of the evaluation show that instant messaging is the most important use in all sex and age groups considered, followed by Internet calls and access to information. Refugee camps are particularly difficult environments, where people often feel trapped and abandoned for months, sometimes years, without any possibility of leading normal and fulfilling lives. Even a simple chat on instant messaging apps or a short video call with their friends and loved ones can dramatically improve their psychological well-being and help them keep going despite the hardships they are going through.

When we look at the concrete impact the connection has had on refugees, the results show that the impact is positive on different levels. When asked generically if the connection has had a positive impact on their life, 97% of users responded positively. Mental health and access to up-to-date information were highlighted as the two main concrete positive impacts. Indeed, 55% of refugees said the connection offered psychological improvement and 80% were able to find news about their country of origin, information on their rights, asylum procedures and COVID-19 among others.

Since the start of its mission in Greece, TSF has connected more than 11,000 unique devices with a total of 13 TB of data exchanged. Data exchanged and devices which, in reality, correspond to thousands of reassuring messages between separated families, familiar voices helping refugees to better cope with a difficult situation and to make important decisions for their future. This connection gives refugees the feeling of being connected to the outside world, of being alive, which is in stark contrast to the sense of abandonment and isolation that every refugee talks about.


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