Nomads will design a ‘crowd-sourced information platform’ where people and trusted entities (including refugees and institutions that support them) can add, retrieve, and rate personal experiences. This platform allows refugees toaccess tailor-made information based on their location, interests and goals.

The current refugee crisis asks for data driven, mobile phone based innovation. Nomads will deliver this with a system that has been designed by refugees and will focus on refugees. The information on this mobile phone accessible platform focusses on the highest level of trust; a peer audited system where refugees will develop content and validate content themselves.

In 2016 the framework of the system has been designed together with refugees, innovators, policy makers and technology experts in the Netherlands. In 2017 the project the group will assess the specific needs for content and functionality within the Athens context. Masdar, the first prototype of the platform, will be implemented here first.

The Nomads platform will facilitate more self-reliance by refugees. In addition, refugees that access the system on their mobile phone can share their insights to help humanitarian aid organizations in reducing costs and working efficiently as they can make better data driven decisions.


Inclusive design

Unique to the Nomads project, is the coming together of a very diverse group of people working together to support the information-needs of refugees. Entrepreneurs, designers, humanitarian workers, web-developers, security experts and graphic designers, some coming from TNO and Deloitte, some having come to the Netherlands as refugees, all put their heads together to think creatively about the information-needs of refugees.

To ensure the development of Nomads fosters innovation that really provides a useful tool for the refugees the group aims to support, people that arrived in the Netherlands as refugees been part of the project group from the beginning. In the beginning the refugees were just asked to share their experiences of travelling to the Netherlands. However, this first meeting was so positive and led to so many insights, they were asked to come back again, and have taken part in every project meeting since.

Through this user-centered design process, the original idea was overthrown completely. What had started off as a wild idea to build a ‘telecom operator for refugees’ became a concept for a platform that would serve one of the basic needs of every new arrival in a strange county; an information platform providing information that is trust-worthy and useful to stand one’s ground in a new world.

Nomads moving to Athens

When the Nomads platform was first designed, the idea was to roll it out in the Netherlands, supporting new arrivals in their integration in a new society. However, it is in Greece that refugees are currently waiting in makeshift camps, often without accurate information about the situation they are in. Through contacts between the Municipality of The Hague with the City of Athens, the opportunity thus arose to implement the first version of Nomads exactly there where the needs are high.

As a result, the project group took a deep dive into the situation in Athens, and refined their concept to be in line with the needs of refugees in Greece. This led to the design of ‘Masdar’, a ‘crowd-sourced information platform’ where people and trusted entities (including refugees and institutions that support them) can add, retrieve, and rate personal experiences. Masdar will be developed together with a first group of refugees using the platform in 2017.


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