Designing a Knowledge Transfer System for Syrian Refugees

Sep 9, 2015

This morning I watched a video published by Al Jazeera about refugees crossing the border from Macedonia to Serbia. The video was filmed as a profile of one woman, Gabriela Andreevska, who is doing what she can to support the thousands of people that come through each day.

The video is not currently embeddable, but can be viewed on Al Jazeera’s site here: One woman’s strength is helping refugees in Macedonia

At the 1:50 mark, Andreevska draws a map for one refugee to help him successfully cross the Serbian border, guiding him to the next step which will allow him to take advantage of official transportation options to make his way across yet another country.

My immediate reaction to this was to consider the luck of the draw that that one man got customized directions and guidance from Andreevska. And so I wondered:

My thought process so far, has looked like this:

What resources do refugees need to successfully complete their journey from Syria to a host country?

A lot. Some of which is food, shelter, transportation… A lot of these things are being addressed by human rights orgs.

But knowledge is the piece I’m interested in addressing. So:

What do refugees need to know about the places they are traveling through to successfully complete their journey from Syria to a host country?

Which becomes:

How might we help to inform refugees about the places they are traveling through to enable their successful entry into a host country?

Which brings up micro questions:

  • If the solution is printed materials…who pays for printing?
  • How do we coordinate and design for a bunch of really specific parts of a journey?
  • How can the project be agile, to evolve as rules, regulations and refugee camp locations change?
  • What languages would need to be designed for?
  • Could the materials convey directions without language?
  • Could efforts by groups working with homeless populations inform this kind of information dissemination?
  • Who can deliver the materials?
  • Can the materials be reused or repurposed?