Ref United

April 14, 2012 → April 15, 2012

On the 14th and 15th April we are running a very special hack weekend. This is entirely voluntary but we would like to draw the developer community’s attention to a problem that is easily solved.

In Kenya there is a charity called Refugees United. Although at the moment its work is focused on Kenya it is striving to solve a global challenge of reconnecting separated refugee families through mobile and web technology.

It has an open platform for NGOs and refugees, so far helping more than 55’000 refugees in their search for missing loved ones. But it is really struggling with demand. This is not nice.

However, it has built an effective mobile phone tracing system that currently sits un-hacked and with two very simple problems:

  1. How to easily engage refugees, many of whom only interact with the platform through 3rd party NGOs physically taking details
  2. How to make it easy for refugees to return to find their loved ones traced through Refugees United, currently a WAP-based system

New ideas, inspiration and curveball approaches to the problem they are trying to solve are imperative to success. There are 43 million refugees worldwide, with many of them looking for missing loved ones — and this is something that we can help solve with technology and a good network. So matching the Rewired State network with the Refugees United network seems like a logical next step.

This hack weekend will work to help solve these two problems, and Refugees United are going to complete some field research on what is happening, when and why to help with this challenge.

Together we will kick this out of the park and make it scalable and relevant to the digital/analogue worlds we are dealing with.


See the hacks created at


April 14, 2012 09:30
→ April 15, 2012 19:00





The Hub Westminster
New Zealand House
80 Haymarket

(At reception, ask for 'The Hub')


Add photos from this event by tagging them with rsrefutd on Flickr