This App Helps Refugees Find Their Way to Safety

Simple solutions for big problems

Supplying refugees with real-time updates in the field could save countless lives (BalkansCat /

Up until now, refugees en route to a safe haven need to rely on information they pick up from their surroundings, which can often times put them at risk. To help solve this issue, Swedish design and innovation studio Topp, has entered a unique partnership with the innovation unit of the medical humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders Sweden (MSF Sweden) to create a tool to give people in crisis situations - especially migrants and refugees - access to information that can help save lives.

According to Topp, “Reliable and timely situational information is an absolute necessity for both the refugees making decisions en-route, and for the MSF staff providing aid in the field, but the chain of information flow, validation, and dissemination, is so extensive that it becomes difficult to manage.”

Motivated by this challenge, the partners developed a concept for a system that will allow rescue services and humanitarian organizations to quickly disseminate critical information to the people who most need it. Their concept envisions a two-pronged approach including a web based information manager tool for creating content, which will then be sent to a mobile field worker app. From there, important updates on escape routes, shelter, food, and any other piece of information relevant to migrants and refugees can be passed on in real-time.

The field-worker app, which can be fine-tuned according to the individual worker’s location and needs, will help keep the information flow relevant to any user, regardless of location or assignment in the world, and field workers could even send relevant updates back to their headquarters. The the system, which is still in its concept phase, will make sure that reliable information will be made instantly accessible by MSF field workers, not only making their work easier, but to eventually better the situations for migrants seeking their aid and saving thousands of lives in the progress.

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