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Help for Ukrainian refugees by using cloud tech for call centres

Help for Ukrainian refugees by using cloud tech for call centres

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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, with the support of the United Nations International Computing Centre (UNICC), has partnered with industry experts, ServiceNow, British Telecom (BT) and Thirdera (formerly Silverstorm Solutions) to set up a regional contact centre (RCC) for refugees fleeing the on-going war in Ukraine.

UNHCR, with its mission to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees, reports that there were more than 8 million Ukrainian refugees recorded across Europe by the end of February 2023. UNHCR works to ensure that refugees can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another state, and to return home voluntarily when they choose and when it is safe to do so.

Bringing together the best of ServiceNow, BT, Thirdera and UNICC’s digital expertise and solutions, the new UNHCR RCC solution offers refugees a user friendly, multilingual platform to access vital information on emergency services, assistance and psychosocial counselling services, as well as identifying vulnerable refugees and referring them to specialists for follow-up support. The RCC also provides information on education, employment, healthcare, housing and legal support. 

Mohammed Ghafour, Community-based Protection Officer, UNHCR, said: “Since the onset of the full-scale war in Ukraine, UNHCR has been working on innovative solutions to ensure that those forced to flee have access to the information they need as part of our accountability to affected populations.

“Partnering with UNICC and the private sector has allowed us to launch this RCC, the first-of-its-kind, enabling us to communicate with the people we serve, providing them with information and referring those with vulnerabilities to the services they need.” 

The call centre for refugees, which is a cost-free phone calling system, is available in Hungary and Poland and can be scaled up to other countries in the region, depending on needs. The RCC is operated by teams based in Poland and Hungary, who speak both Ukrainian and Russian. 

Rian Butcher, Senior Managing Director, EMEA, Thirdera, said: “At Thirdera, our goal is always to use transformation to improve the lives of the many and this initiative is a perfect example of how we can provide that value. We believe that our strength and depth on the ServiceNow platform and Customer Service Management solution will make for a fast implementation, allowing Ukrainian refugees to get access to the necessary support that they need in these difficult times.” 

The RCC platform offers a cost-effective, cloud-based solution for UNHCR’s efforts in the field. The call centre for refugees is built around a BT solution integrated with case management from Thirdera, using ServiceNow’s Customer Service Management (CSM) application, to create and keep interaction records with callers and identify and refer vulnerabilities to UNHCR and its partners for follow up and response.  

With a global blueprint in mind, this RCC solution is designed to be used in other situations and can be rapidly deployed to support UNHCR and partner UN organisations dealing with emergencies elsewhere around the world.

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