Community Technology Access
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.