REIMAGINING REFUGE
THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
The Humanitarian Innovation Lab (HiL) is a UNHCR project focused on refugee communication technologies in Lebanon. Funded by UNHCR and operated through the Kayany Foundation, HiL works with refugees and service providers to develop technologies and frameworks that offer new approaches and solutions to how we respond to a refugee crisis.
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Refugees in Lebanon live in extremely diverse settings, with various degrees of internet connectivity, smart phone accessibility, and previous technological exposure, making real-time communication a constant challenge.

At HiL, we are working alongside the Communicating with Communities (CwC) unit of UNHCR to identify new ways tech can be used to improve communication capabilities and drive down costs.
WHERE WE WORK: LEBANON
“If Europe were to welcome the same percentage of refugees as Lebanon in comparison to its population, it would have to take in 100 million refugees.”
Filippo Grandi, UNHCR High Commissioner
The Reality
From both a tech and humanitarian perspective, the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon is defined by a unique set of complex challenges and opportunities.

Here’s why:
1M REFUGEES
Lebanon has the highest rate of
refugees per capita in the world
STRAINED SYSTEMS
Overburdened state resources and infrastructure have created growing gaps in critical state services.
FUNDING SHORTAGES
Global financial support for refugees continues to decline, forcing many families into dire financial circumstances.
WIDESPREAD SETTLEMENT
There are no formal UN camps for Syrians in Lebanon. Refugees and their family’s live in densely populated urban areas and ad-hoc tented settlements spread across the entire country.
CONNECTIVITY BARRIERS
Data costs and coverage gaps can make staying connected difficult and expensive, leading to constant communication issues.
DIVERSE END USER BASE
Extreme variations in previous exposure, experiences, and expectations with technology exist throughout the population. If you assume, you fail.
WHAT WE ARE BUILDING
We are currently working on a range of solutions including chatbots, mobile apps, and Facebook analytics systems. All of our products are built in collaboration with our refugee advisory committee to ensure optimum usability.
ASK NOOR
SiM
KWIKSENSE
ASK NOOR
إسأل نور
A healthcare chatbot for refugees
Noor is an Arabic speaking chatbot built on top of Facebook Messenger that helps users locate refugee-specific services around their current location. Noor is currently being used to help users identify UNHCR partner hospitals and Primary Care Centers that offer the specific health services they require.
SiM
The social informatics
and monitoring tool
The social informatics and monitoring tool (SiM) is a Facebook analytics and monitoring platform that utilizes machine learning technologies to help UNHCR and refugee volunteers quickly identify, respond to, and track important protection, health, education, and livelihood issues being shared across Facebook groups.
KWIKSENSE
Measuring the world one sensor at a time
KwikSense is a plug-n-play sensor kit developed by a local team of Lebanese entrepreneurs being incubated at HiL. Kwiksense is helping UNHCR gather real-time indoor temperature conditions within vulnerable refugee shelters across Lebanon to develop data-driven winterization strategies.
Connect with HiL

Please fill out the contact form if you would like to get involved in our work or if you have other general inquiries. Thanks!

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