In the six months since conflict has ended in Mosul, Iraq, news of the region has faded from global headlines. But for relief organizations like the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), the hard work hasn’t stopped: For close to a year, the not-for-profit international NGO has managed camps that house more than 50,000 internally displaced Iraqis—providing shelter, protection, and income-generating opportunities.
As the country starts to rebuild, access to real-time information is all the more important for camp residents. To support these efforts, Souktel has partnered with DRC to design and build a robust, secure mobile messaging platform which lets DRC send key content at scale—across the full range of Iraqi mobile networks and mobile device types, from smartphones to basic handsets. Managed via web or mobile device, the custom platform offers a simple, intuitive interface for DRC field staff to create public awareness content, send it to thousands of smartphones and feature phones, and track delivery metrics.
Since its launch, DRC staff have used the platform to drive behavior change and community empowerment across sectors, and among diverse groups of displaced Iraqis: Staff have sent time-sensitive messages to camp residents, to prevent communicable disease outbreaks and promote best practices in public health. A parallel campaign has focused on encouraging female residents to join camp Water and Sanitation committees. The platform has also been used to send updates about camp safety and shelter logistics to community members, and DRC plans to leverage the software for internal communication with its field staff as well.
“We’re honored to support DRC’s ongoing efforts to empower Iraqi communities,” explained Souktel Project Manager Tania Dalou. “In times of crisis, the lack of clear real-time information puts entire communities at huge risk. Mobile messaging can help solve this problem—but in conflict zones like northern Iraq, it’s extremely hard to set up and maintain these platforms on short notice. That’s where Souktel’s expertise comes in: We’ve set up rapid services in places like Somalia, Libya, and Yemen—so we have a strong understanding of what’s needed to build a rugged, custom mobile platform in a crisis zone, on short notice”.
“Our partnership with Souktel has allowed DRC to leverage sophisticated technology that makes important information easily accessible to vulnerable communities” said Ian Dawes, DRC’s Country Director. “The beauty of this type of initiative is that it provides a service that disseminates time sensitive information quickly and to large numbers of people. It is familiar technology to camp residents that is easily understood and accessed. DRC is proud to be associated with Souktel in this important and innovative activity.”