Close this window
RefugeeMobile is a revolutionary, new program that helps refugee families integrate in their new countries more successfully. Backed in part by a MacArthur Discovery Grant, this program gives new refugees a smartphone with tailored apps and provides wireless service during their integration period.
"The world is at a critical moment that tests our commitment to displaced people around the world," notes Sparrow's Allan Baez. "Over 60 million people are displaced, and more people have been forced to flee their home countries than at any point since World War II," adds Baez.
Launched in April 2016, RefugeeMobile will conduct an evidence-based pilot study in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and Austin to demonstrate the theory of change. In the end, our goal is to help modernize the U.S. refugee resettlement system and dramatically enhance short-term refugee integration. We also want to provide a platform that can be expanded both geographically and to other challenged populations.
Texas is the largest refugee resettlement state in the U.S. Although RefugeeMobile will be distributed between four cities, Dallas will serve the most clients and provide additional front line support for the whole project. Over 15 months, we will directly serve 250 heads of households and families, which will impact an estimated 700 individuals. Of this total, roughly half of the clients and impacted family members will be in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
RefugeeMobile will leverage the case management services people already receive. It will enable refugees to access tools to assist with translation, navigation, and transportation, which will free case managers to focus on deeper challenges of integration. And it will reduce costs in the long run, increase capacity for services, and improve integration in Texas and the United States as a whole.
New technologies are underused but essential tools to increase the efficiency of service delivery. Our team will apply a smart mobile infrastructure of devices, applications, network access, and underlying platforms in holistic and individualized ways. This approach will support nonprofits, government agencies, and market actors.
RefugeeMobile is a corporate-nonprofit-university partnership including Sparrow, Refugee Services of Texas (RST), Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS), and the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) at University of Notre Dame, with RST as the lead agency on the ground.
Following the pilot phase of demonstration and learning, the program will enter a period of expansion and scaling. It will include
A key component and output of the RefugeeMobile pilot study will be a final report available to the public. The report will include the program design, results, baseline metrics, KPIs, and future plans for phases 2 and 3. We will disseminate the results from this demonstration program in a fully transparent manner so that our partners and other agencies can put the findings and best practices to work.
Sparrow is a mobile company bridging the digital divide with a buy-one-give-one model, and a mobile platform that connects sponsors, economically disadvantaged people, and the organizations that serve them with the modern-day mobile economy. By design, Sparrow is both for profit and for social good.
Sparrow is the for-profit operating company and mobile carrier, and Mobile for All is its associated nonprofit. Mobile for All works with social service organizations to help people in need access the digital world and forge pathways out of poverty, disenfranchisement, and isolation.
Sparrow is determined to help people from underserved communities, such as refugees, foster care youth, and formerly incarcerated people undergoing re-entry. It helps them accelerate out of poverty. As such, Mobile for All takes a very rigorous approach to the vetting of partners, the tracking of participant outcomes, and the ongoing measurement after services have ended. This approach increases our understanding of the level of self-sufficiency of the population.
"Everything we do has a purpose and aligns with our vision, mission and values," notes co-founder and Chief Impact Officer Amy Tucker. "From our radically inclusive business model, to our strategic partnerships, and even down to the name, Sparrow, which means hope in Latin. The sparrow is also one of the most common and beautiful species in the world. We connect people in meaningful ways through impactful partnerships and inviting consumers to join in helping to support their fellow citizens," adds Tucker.
This is an awesome app. Keep up the good work!
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.