Across the world, more than 36 million people live as refugees. Refugees United was formed in 2006 to streamline the efforts of international refugee family tracing after discovering the critical lack of an IT infrastructure between NGOs, hampering their ability to share information on families separated across borders, conflicts and organizations.

Up until the birth of Refugees United, no refugee agency had created a global database centralizing information on separated families: A database to be applied across organizations, across conflicts and across time. Through the use of mobile technology, Refugees United provides organizations with powerful tracing -tools applicable in most settings.

It is functional on all phones from a US$10 handset and up. This digital infrastructure promotes information sharing among family tracing and reunification agencies, and it gives refugees the ability to become directly involved in their search for missing family via an anonymous, safe forum, easily accessible tools and an ever-expanding, user-driven family finding network.

Refugees United does not provide physical reunification. It assists refugees in relocating missing family and friends, a task which can otherwise be an overwhelming obstacle for refugees not knowing their new country or region. In addition, a very large number of refugees are unable to register with formal institutions, as they have not been granted asylum, are stateless or plainly fear registering.

Refugees United is currently helping close to 20,000 refugees in their search for missing loved ones, with an additional 5,000 new people signing up every month. Throughout North and East Africa, Refugees United is deploying its tech-tools with the Red Cross, UNHCR, Refugee Consortium of Kenya and others to help families reunite.


  • Title: Refugees United
  • External Link: Refugees United - INDEX: Design to Improve Life® website
  • Sustainable Development Goals targeted: Partnerships for the Goals
  • INDEX: Award Cycle: 2011
  • INDEX: Award Category: Community
  • Driver(s) of Change: Conflict Refugees, Connection Technologies, Digitalization of Everything, Entrepeneurship, Globalization, Social Media
  • Designed By: David Mikkelsen, Christopher Mikkelsen
  • Country of Design : Denmark

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