Press release: NetHope secures critical funding to provide Wi-Fi to refugees

Facebook, Cisco and The Patterson Foundation are key partners

 

 

Washington, D.C., June 9, 2016 – NetHope announced today that it will be expanding its efforts to establish Wi-Fi hotspots for refugees in Greece, thanks to funding commitments from Facebook, Cisco and The Patterson Foundation.

Cisco, a longtime partner, contributed on-the-ground expertise and equipment; Facebook provided funding and resources to NetHope for its ongoing field missions; and The Patterson Foundation, a catalyst investor of NetHope since 2010, provided additional funding to assist with installations in Greece and to leverage additional support.

“The Syrian refugee crisis clearly illustrates why we believe that communication is aid. Internet connectivity gives refugees the ability to communicate with family and friends while planning their migration journey,” said NetHope CEO Lauren Woodman. “NetHope is grateful for the generous support we have received from Facebook, Cisco and The Patterson Foundation, which builds upon the support we’ve also received from Google and Microsoft.”

“Giving people the ability to connect to their family and loved ones during a time of difficult transition is critically important,” said Chris Weasler, head of spectrum policy and connectivity planning at Facebook. “We worked closely with NetHope to develop a plan to deploy connectivity to aid workers in West Africa during the Ebola crisis and are working with them again to assist refugees in Greece.”

The Syrian refugee crisis is one of the largest humanitarian disasters in the last half century. NetHope and its team of technical experts have been working since October 2015 to provide connectivity and technical support for both refugees and the NGOs working to assist them.

“Cisco Corporate Affairs, as well as our Tactical Operations team, are proud to support NetHope’s efforts in providing [Cisco Meraki] hardware and installation assistance to broadcast reliable and secure network connectivity at key waypoints where refugees in transition are currently receiving services and seeking assistance,” said Peter Tavernise, executive director of the Cisco Foundation.

“When arriving in a new region, among the first questions people are asking is: ‘Do you have internet?’ so they can connect with family members, and also learn what they can about the availability of shelter and aid,” added Tavernise.

To date, the team has set up information infrastructures in over 27 refugee settlements, impacting approximately 350,000 people. As a result of this additional funding, NetHope will be able to establish Wi-Fi hotspots in 28 additional refugee camps, which enables those living in the camps to contact loved ones, access important information and apply for asylum.

“While food, water and shelter are basic needs in this modern age, information and communication technologies have become just as vital,” said Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation. “NetHope continues to effectively work with global government partners, their NGO members and for-profit technology firms, as well as deliver on all of our previous investments in their emergency response work.”

NetHope and its member organizations are committed to improving the human condition through the use of technology in humanitarian, development and conservation work. A collaboration of the world’s leading 49 international nonprofits and the technology industry, NetHope helps its member organizations realize the full promise of technology to solve the world’s most difficult challenges. For more information, visit www.nethope.org or contact info@nethope.org.