By Guest blogger Rebecca Wainess, East Africa Project Coordinator.
This past week, the Refugees United East Africa team and I headed to Kakuma Refugee Camp to roll out our new and improved online platform to reconnect families separated by war, persecution and natural disaster. Nearly two hours from the nearest town on the boarder with South Sudan and Ethiopia, Kakuma (a word for “nowhere” in Swahili) is home to nearly 115,000 refugees.
To successfully reach families in Kakuma, in partnership with the Kenya Red Cross (KRCS), we identified and trained ten local outreach volunteers. Our volunteers are the true backbone of Refugees United: registering their friends and neighbors and advocating for our tool in their communities. I shadowed five of our volunteers for a day and saw just how essential they are to our work.
We are all so excited to launch our new and improved platform in Kakuma. Users are now able to register missing persons who will then be notified by SMS when they create an account, narrow their searches and provide more specific information about themselves. All of these improvements will make it that much easier for refugees to find their loved ones. With nearly 200,000 registrations on www.refunite.org I am more hopeful than ever that many more families will be able to find each other.
Note: All names of refugees in this post have been omitted to protect their identities