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UNHCR, with support from Microsoft, has deployed a new version of the refugee field kit

Summary

The Refugee Field Kit 2000 has been developed with Microsoft, building on the technology solution used in Kosovo. Using the valuable lessons learned from that project, and in accordance with UNHCR’s specifications, the company’s software development teams have worked to create version 2.0 of the system for the registration effort in Senegal.

As they did in the Balkans, Microsoft volunteers will assist in training UNHCR staff in the field and help with on-site deployment of the kits. In cooperation with the government of Senegal, the Refugee Field Kit 2000 will be used in four cities across Senegal to register an estimated 5,000 refugees and asylum-seekers and to provide them with photo identification cards. As we saw in Kosovo, the loss of identification is often a major problem in refugee emergencies.

Microsoft contributed $3.5 million for the Kosovar Refugee Registration Project, not including volunteer staff time. Software development costs for version 2.0 of the Refugee Field Kit 2000 amount to another $100,000, again not including volunteer staff time.

High Commissioner Sadako Ogata has described the use of this technology to assist refugees in often remote and difficult places not normally associated with computing as a breakthrough and proof that we can make a difference in non-traditional ways.