On World Refugee Day, Google is renewing its commitment to working with non-profits and find more long-term solutions.
The tech company has lent its support to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) with $550,000 in Google.org and YouTube grants to provide refugees with necessary materials to endure the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The grants will also help refugees get digital skills training and access reliable information through Google Search in affected countries.
Getting reliable information to refugees
Refugees often struggle to access timely, trusted and accurate information on the web. Using Google Trends and the UNHCR’s internal insights, Google identified the most common refugee related questions.
This, in turn, helped the UNHCR navigate the available developer platform to provide refugees with authoritative answers clearly displayed on Google Search. These include answers to questions such as “What happens during the Refugee Status Determination interview?”, and “How to qualify for cash assistance?”
These results are already available in Arabic, English, Turkish and Farsi, to help refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. These three countries have the highest number of refugees per capita in the world.
Equipping refugees with digital skills
Refugees and internally displaced people around the world face job losses due to the pandemic’s restrictions. According to the UNHCR, 47% of the refugee population in 2019 was aged between 18 and 59, with the unemployment rate in this demographic expected to rise.
Google announced a $300,000 Google.org grant to help the UNHCR further prepare refugees for the changing nature of work. The organisation will host ‘Maharat min Google’ online training, to help refugees and host community members across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region learn digital skills in Arabic throughout a year-long course.
More than 79 million people were displaced at the end of last year as a result of persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations, of which 29 million were refugees. The global pandemic knows no borders and is affecting everyone, including refugees.
YouTube has already donated $250,000 to the UNHCR to help provide life-saving support, including water, medical care and hygiene materials to refugees and the communities who host them in affected countries.
Jacquelline Fuller, Vice-President at Google.org said, “The number of people forcibly displaced remains at a record high, and the effects of the crisis will go on for years. Non-profits working alongside these affected communities need our help, and we’ll continue to support them through immediate relief and long-term recovery.”