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Community Technology Access

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© UNHCR/S. Ostermann

Computer Gateways to Self-Suffiency

UNHCR believes that using communications technology and providing access to information, particularly in remote areas, can help restore some stability in the lives of people forced to flee their homes. Communications tools, including computers and mobile phones, are increasingly important for refugees to be able to participate in local markets and the global economy.

UNHCR launched the Community Technology Access (CTA) programme in 2009 to provide refugees access to computers, the Internet and associated learning and employment opportunities. The CTA programme utilizes information and communication technologies (ICTs) to provide refugees with expanded learning and employment opportunities. CTA centres help refugees access courses and online work, stay connected with family and friends and participate in global conversations. ICTs provide an important space to help refugees regain autonomy and lead as normal a life as possible while in displacement.

After three successful pilot programmes in Rwanda's Kibiza camp and Bangladesh's Kutupalong and Nayapara camps, UNHCR began opening new centres around the world. At the start of 2015, there were nearly 60 CTAs in 29 countries around the world with more planned. As a promoter of renewable energy sources, UNHCR provides solar power at some CTA sites in remote regions. The CTA programme is increasing employment options through online or remote work.

In 2014, we launched the UNHCR Exchange (www.unhcr-exchange.org) platform, offering refugees access to online learning tools and the opportunity to create their own courses. UNHCR Exchange in effect virtualizes the CTA programme, providing refugees with learning and work opportunities wherever they access the Internet. UNHCR is also enabling the creation of knowledge products by refugees, for refugees. Refugee entrepreneurs identify subjects for which there is demand, and which would be useful within local economies, and then offer courses for a fee.



Suad's StoryPlay video

Suad's Story

Suad, a student and teacher in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, tells how she's using technology to become self-sufficient and what this means for her family and community.
21st Century SkillsPlay video

21st Century Skills

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres speaks about the use of computer technology to empower refugees.
Appropriate TechnologyPlay video

Appropriate Technology

UNHCR field officer Charles Saleh speaks about modern, sustainable solutions being implemented in Kenya's Kakuma Camp to better serve refugees.
2009 Clinton Global Initiative Commitment: CTA Programme Progress Report Play video

2009 Clinton Global Initiative Commitment: CTA Programme Progress Report

The annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative: a progress report on the Community Technology Access programme.
Community Technology Access Centre, Buenos AiresPlay video

Community Technology Access Centre, Buenos Aires

In 2010, UNHCR opened a community technology access centre in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Education is vital in restoring hope and dignity to young people driven from their homes.


We help refugees, refugee returnees and internally displaced people tap their potential and build a platform for a better future.

UNHCR Exchange

A Platform for Learning and Exchanging Ideas