Geneva/Stockholm, 15 September 2016 —The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is rolling out a new web application called virtualvolunteer.org that puts practical, trustworthy and potentially life-saving information at the fingertips of migrants or people considering migrating.
Too often, the only information available to people in flight comes from unreliable sources, including traffickers and smugglers who target and exploit the most vulnerable.
“Information saves lives,” said Garry Conille, IFRC Under Secretary General for programmes and operations. “People migrating desperately need reliable and objective information to make informed decisions, get the help they need and protect themselves and their families.”
IFRC and IBM joined forces earlier this year to design and develop virtualvolunteer.org, which is universally accessible with any connected device, designed for low bandwidth settings, and is easily adaptable for migrants’ needs anywhere in the world. IBM Cloud provides national, regional and global access to the application.
“This new web application merges IBM’s technological know-how and leadership in the new digital and cognitive era with IFRC’s vast local networks and experience in humanitarian aid to create an innovative and simple-to-use tool that meets critical needs,” says Isabella Chiodi, IBM Vice President for the European Union.
virtualvolunteer.org is currently being piloted in Greece and will soon be rolled out for people in or arriving in Turkey, Italy and Sweden. It will later expand to other countries where people are migrating in search of refuge, safety and hope.
The web application provides useful and timely information about available assistance and services in specific countries and details procedures, rights, entitlements, legal options and safety tips. It shares relevant news and links to a host of useful resources. It also enables users to get in direct contact with their local Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers for additional information, guidance and support.
IFRC is the world`s largest humanitarian network comprising 190 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world. www.ifrc.org, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr.
Benoit Matsha-Carpentier Team Leader, public communications, IFRC
Mobile: +41 79 213 24 13, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Lennart Malm, External Communications Manager, IBM
Mobile: +46 70 793 4184, E-mail email@example.com