The App


We started with a problem: the difficulty of accessing aid for urban refugees living in Jordan.

Urban refugees make up 80 percent of the 650,000 registered Syrian refugees living in Jordan, and two-thirds of refugees worldwide. Yet their access to aid is far below the level of camp-based refugees. We brainstormed ways that we, as students, could help. Rather than pursue the traditional policy class model, we focused on digital solutions that we could build directly with NGO clients, Jordanians, and Syrians on the ground.


of registered Syrian refugees in Jordan are urban refugees


of refugees worldwide are urban refugees

1.4 million

Syrians seeking refuge in Jordan

We came up with the solution: a locator app.

Because one of the central difficulties for urban refugees is simply knowing the locations of and how to access aid that currently exists, a locator app to put aid on the map will address these information asymmetries.

Mockup of the app, designed by Urban Refuge

Mockup of the app, designed by Urban Refuge

Screenshot of the live app, property of Urban Refuge

Screenshot of the live app, property of Urban Refuge

The app also provides humanitarian organizations with a centralized database and accessible contact information to help address administrative coordination issues. Urban Refuge will be piloted in Amman, Jordan, with the aim of scaling up the technology to be easily modified and applied in a variety of urban refugee contexts.

We have created an initial database with over 160 organizations mapped by latitude and longitude, identified implementing partners, created the initial app design, and successfully acquired the funding to get us started.

What the App Achieves

  • First comprehensive database of both international and local organizations
  • Organized by geo-coding, rather than traditional addresses, for ease of use
  • Creates a new line of communication between organizations and refugees
  • Allows us to gather more data to create more efficient, appropriate services
  • Involves urban refugees in the decision-making process
  • Empowers refugees with access to more accurate, high-quality information
  • Enables organizations to conduct impact assessments
  • Serves as a pilot to be scaled up globally