NGO Q&As

Working with NGOs

Q: Can all refugees search through refunite.org?

All refugees can use our service. It does not matter if you are a refugee from the wars and turmoil of Iraq, Lebanon or Palestine, or an internally displaced person in Columbia, or still seeking family from when you fled Vietnam or Cambodia decades ago. Every person who has been touched by conflict, disaster or other uprooting factors can utilize our service. You can also search and register if you live "under the radar" as an unregistered citizen, IDP or migrant worker. Refunite.org is for every refugee looking for lost loved ones.

Q: Do I have to be a member organization to utilize the Refugees United (RU) family tracing tool?

No, anyone, anywhere, given they have access to the internet or a mobile phone, can search and create a profile in the RU database.
We do, however, work more closely with selected organizations that demonstrate a high potential of helping refugees to create a profile and search through the RU database. If you represent an organization that would like to engage deeper in the mission to reconnect separated refugee families, please click here to get in touch with us.

Q: How about funding?

Refugees United will lend support to start up new, on the ground, operations by other NGOs. By using the RU tool within their operations, other NGOs will be able to gain increased funding opportunities through exposure to corporations/funders from the developed world. Organizations have been able to get funding from third party bodies like OCHA (the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs) in order to implement the Refugees United family tracing tool in their operations. 

Q: How do we get increased exposure to other NGOs?

It is the core belief of Refugees United that we must all work together, regardless of mandates, to become more knowledgeable, and learn from each other, as we go about our missions to serve those who need our help. What we aim to provide NGOs joining the tracing network, outside of streamlining family tracing, is:

  • Virtual and on the ground collaboration with other NGOs and corporations
  • Newfound partnerships (direct with NGOs and their partners)
  • Increased [potentially newfound] online exposure/presence for higher exposure to the public (both developed and developing world)
  • Cooperation can have higher impact on successfully helping people. Through inter-agency collaboration overall impact is increased, as the combined efforts of all partners involved provides a comprehensive package of unified services for the individual refugee/beneficiary. The refunite.org family tracing tool network offers a platform for NGOs to come together and pool their resources and maximize results. 

Q: How does REFUNITE benefit from this project?

We benefit by contributing to a better world. After we brought two brothers together in Afghanistan, we realized the unnecessary hardship many refugees must endure to find family. There is no reason why refugees should fail to benefit from the conveniences of a connected digital network so many in this world enjoy. We have the will and dedication to succeed. We believe that if the tables were turned you would do the same for us.

Q: How is REDUNITE funded?

REFUNITE is funded by donations from foundations, corporations and private individuals. We receive no government funding and only accept unconditional donations. Independence remains a top priority. You can see a list of some of our most important partners and supporters here.

If you would like to donate money, please be assured that every cent counts and every dollar is put to good use. If you represent a company and would like to further engage in a partnership with REFUNITE, please contact us

Q: How much more contact or exposure to refugees can we gain?

Through the work Refugees United and its partners perform on-ground in various countries we leverage a very large outreach to refugees, engaging directly with refugees. It is the ambition of the Refugees United tracing network to include refugees themselves, as valuable partners in the process of tracing missing loved ones. With more than 20 thousand unique monthly visitors to the site, it is a great way to gain exposure to your existing and potential beneficiaries.

Q: How much will all this cost my organization?

The use of the Refugees United search tools is free of charge both for NGOs and refugees alike. In selected countries, refugees and organizations can even utilize the mobile tools of Refugees United, SMS and WAP, free of charge, through our partnerships with mobile network operators (field trials of our mobile tools are in progress).

If you would like to donate money, please be assured that every cent counts and every dollar is put to good use. If you represent a company and would like to further engage in a partnership with Refugees United, please contact us

Q: How would the RU tools improve operations?

The RU tool is integrated, fast, easy, and gives added value to NGOs

  • Additional service can now be offered through your organization (we help connect people)
  • Additional (temporary and potentially ongoing) human capital from Refugees United
  • RU support in implementation of best practices.
  • IT equipment for refugee registration and organizational use.

Q: Is there a waiting period before we as an organization can start searching through the Refugees United database?

No, you may begin searching immediately, as well as help people in search of missing loved ones to create a profile. Hundreds of people in search of missing loved ones sign up every week – make sure you check back often to help your beneficiaries reconnect with loved ones.

Q: What are the immediate benefits to us?

When joining the Refugees United tracing network, you furthermore attain:

  • Access to best practices and knowledge from NGOs' approach in other parts of the world 
  • Access to relevant knowledge developed by RU's corporate partners.

  • Access to RU knowledge database.
  • Access to a fast-growing network of both small and large - national and international - NGOs working to better the lives of refugee.

Q: What is REFUNITE’s relationship to other NGOs?

We consider ourselves a ‘tool’ to be used by other NGOs as well as by refugees themselves. We are seeking to create a global network of people aware of our simple solution to the complex logistical problem of people not being able to find their missing loved ones. To accomplish this, we seek to partner other organizations working towards the same goal.

Q: What makes REFUNITE different from other family tracing agencies?

With refunite.org, refugees take the search into their own hands. There are no forms to fill in and no waiting lists. The power of the search is entirely in the hands of the refugees. Furthermore, it is possible to register anonymously, without giving out a full name, address or any other potentially sensitive information. For example, it is possible to register with initials, village of origin and date of birth, or other markers only identifiable to family and close friends. Another option is to register using only a picture of yourself and a village.

Communication between site users is managed in a secure closed-circuit message system, which allows people to share further information through messages only visible to the two parties.

Q: Who is behind REFUNITE?

REFUNITE was founded in Copenhagen, Denmark, by two brothers, David and Christopher Mikkelsen.

The main office is located in Copenhagen and is supported by a small team of dedicated staff. Refugees United also has an office in Nairobi, Kenya, that serves as the hub for all our on-ground operations in East Africa and other regions.

Q: Why you should we join the expanding tracing network?

In order to facilitate simpler and faster family reconnections, we must all engage across borders and conflicts to support refugees in need. Please join us, and our growing partner base, to ensure we all help separated families reconnect.

Q: Will the refugee I assist find family immediately through Refugees United?

Maybe, maybe not – it may take a while. Hundreds of people in search of missing loved ones sign up every week, and the network keeps growing. Through your engagement and efforts, more and more families reconnect. Keep checking, and remain a global connector enabling loved ones to find each other again.

Quotes

"The new mobile phone search engine enables refugees to search for their loved ones on any low cost handset, through simple text messages"
President Bill Clinton
"Allowing for refugees access to state of art technology in order to connect with and reach out to family members they have lost contact with is fundamental"
António Guterres
"Refugees United, The Social Network That's More Important Than Facebook, Goes Mobile"
Alice Korngold
"In a pioneering way the innovators of Refugees United have used modern technology to alleviate the terrible pain that separation from and uncertainty about family members bring"
Morten Kjærum
"We must strive to ensure that the technological revolution already benefitting so many also embraces those that may have been excluded and are less fortunate. Refugees United accomplishes this objective"
José María Figueres