#mwc2017: Five mobile operators recognized for their work in supporting Syrian refugees

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Five mobile operators have been applauded for their outstanding contributions in supporting millions of Syrian refugees who have been displaced by the conflict in their home country.

The five; Asiacell, Deutsche Telekom, Turkcell, Vodafone and Zain were named winners of the GSMA’s Outstanding Contribution to the Mobile Industry Award”for 2017.

It is estimated that 11 million Syrians have fled their homes since the civil war began in 2011, the GSMA said in a statement, adding that UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, estimates that nearly 3 million people fled to Turkey, 1 million to Lebanon, 240,000 to Iraq, 650,000 to Jordan and some 1 million to Germany, with many more displaced across Europe and beyond.

The five operators have undertaken a range of initiatives to support the Syrian refugees, including establishment of dedicated call centers set to provide legal assistance, human rights guidance, community advice and emergency response to the refugees, the GSMA said.

The telecoms have as well deployed infrastructure, including instant networks, to enable connectivity in the refugee camps in Greece, Iraq, Jordan, Macedonia and Serbia, and the introduction of mobile broadband in some of the larger camps, it added.

Other initiatives the GSMA noted include; development of customised apps for services such as education, locating and reuniting families, and text and audio translation services, provision of toll-free services, SIM cards, short codes and devices, creation of online resources for contacts and work to help Syrian refugees settle in their new homes and start-up and entrepreneurial competitions to develop innovative solutions, such as mobile money services for financial inclusion.

The Outstanding Contribution to the Mobile Industry Award is the most prestigious accolade in the GSMA’s annual Global Mobile Awards, the association said; it recognises outstanding achievement in the mobile industry and honors personal or company contributions, as well as achievements that span entire organizations.

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