700k Jordan refugees to receive free WiFi

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

Collaboration between Zain Group, Facebook and UNHCR will give refugees free internet for up to five years

More than 700,000 refugees in Jordan will receive free high-speed internet for up to five years as part of collaboration between Zain, Facebook and the UNHCR.

At a UN broadband meeting held in New York on 18 September, Zain Group announced its participation in the Connectivity for Refugees initiative, which will see more than 724,000 refugees in Jordan, mostly from neighbouring Iraq and Syria, offered access to unlimited outdoor and indoor WiFi access.

The service will run off Zain’s 4G network in the Kingdom, and will initially be made available in four locations: Princess Basma Center in Sahab in greater Amman; the Al Khaledeya Center in Mafraq; the Princess Basma Center in Tafileh and the Princess Basma Center in Karak.

Zain Group CEO Scott Gegenheimer said: “As a regional telecommunications provider that has a history of operating in and helping communities in conflict zones, we are well aware of the transformational power connectivity plays in improving the quality of life of people. 

“In addition to staying in touch with loved ones, this initiative will enable refugees in Jordan to stay informed with news concerning their circumstances as well as empowering them to utilize the power of the internet to enhance their economic livelihoods, bringing some peace of mind and dignity to their dire situation.”

The project is in collaboration with social media giant Facebook, with the areas to be connected identified by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. I the centres named, UNHCR already provides services for refugees including  help desks for registration, documentation, health referrals, financial assistance, and protection counselling.

Alan Vernon, Lead for UNHCR’s Connectivity for Refugees programme, said: “UNHCR is very pleased to partner and with Facebook and Zain to bring internet access to refugees in Jordan. Not only does internet access directly improve the well-being of refugees, but it also enables UNHCR and its partners to communicate more effectively with refugees and deliver improved support to their communities.”