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Vodacom and Safaricom Support Free Phone Calls for Refugees

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With more than 43 million people forcibly displaced globally due to draught, conflict, or disaster, the need for a service to reconnect separated families is as pressing as ever. Nearly one million displaced people are in Kenya alone. Today, Refugees United and Ericsson, along with Safaricom and Vodacom, are taking a step toward reaching the goal of connecting one million refugees on the Refugees United platform by 2015.

Using a free dial code and toll-free lines from Safaricom, displaced people in Kenya will be able to access the family reconnection platform invented by Refugees United. Additionally, Vodacom is launching a similar service in DRC.

Refugees United is a free, mobile and online platform that allows people to search for missing family members, friends, and relatives on a safe and anonymous basis. Until now the platform was only accessible via a computer or internet-enabled mobile phone. It will now be available through a toll-free line and via a simple dial-code system, just like users know it from mobile banking, for example.

"This initiative has the power to transform the nature of family reconnection for generations to come. It is an example of how mobile technology is truly changing the lives of people on the African continent for good. We are looking for innovative ways to get this to scale, and partnerships are key to success," says Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility at Ericsson.

Ericsson and Refugees United have set a goal to reach one million users on the platform by the end of 2015.

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Tags: ericsson  vodacom  safaricom  Kenya  Congo, The Democratic Republic Of The