The World Food Programme (WFP) today launched an innovative project that provides wireless internet access to Syrian refugees living in Domiz refugee camp in northern Iraq, the largest refugee camp in Iraq which is home to 31,000 Syrian refugees.
Syrian refugees forced to flee the conflict in Syria can now use the internet through the WFP-led Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) Connectivity for Communities project to keep in touch with their families in Syria.
The ETC first started providing internet connectivity through a pilot at the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) Youth Centre in Domiz Camp in July.
“Many refugees I have met have friends and family still inside Syria, often living in very difficult conditions,” said Sally Haydock, WFP Country Director in Iraq. “To be able to stay connected is, in many ways, a vital lifeline. We are really excited about this project and hope to see it replicated in other camps for refugees and internally displaced people in Iraq and eventually around the globe.”
Internet access also allows refugees to obtain information, maintain contact with the outside world, continue education online and make informed decisions about their own lives.
For 23-year-old Ronaz who lives in Domiz camp, Internet access has meant that she can continue developing her skills. “I am using this internet service every day,” she said. “This is the only way to educate myself as a musician. I use my music online to teach other refugees around the world about issues such as racism, violence and addiction.”
Since the start of the project, 300 Internet vouchers were distributed to the community, providing each user with up to five hours of connectivity in the UNFPA Youth Centre each day.