When famine, drought, and war drove a wave of people to the oldest refugee camp in Kenya, humanitarian organizations were overwhelmed. They turned to a global partnership led by USAID with Cisco support to create DadaabNet, a shared communication network that improved collaboration and brought affordable connectivity to a remote corner of the world.
More than a half-million people live in the world’s largest refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya. In 2011, the worst drought and famine in more than 60 years struck East Africa and the population of Dadaab soared from 300,000 to 500,000. Humanitarian agencies struggled to deliver life-saving services on a massive scale to the remote region. To coordinate relief efforts, they needed to communicate with each other and with relief providers around the world.
A global public-private partnership led by USAID's Global Broadband and Innovations Alliance (GBI) with implementation by Cisco, NetHope, Inveneo, and 4 Kenyan Internet service providers established a high-speed network to dramatically lower costs, extend reach, and improve reliability. DadaabNet first connected agencies for Internet access, video conferencing, and VoIP telephony. Then the system was extended to community centers, bringing unprecedented access to the people living in Dadaab.
In Dadaab, Cisco technologies and expertise connect the unconnected —transforming thousands of lives by providing refugees with access to the Internet. The global partnership, innovative designs, and success of DadaabNet provide a sustainable, scalable model to help improve health, economic opportunity, education, and livelihood for displaced people.
“I am a single mother. After my separation from my husband, I was required to live at my mother’s house and provide for my child. With the use of the Internet, I hope that my son will be able to learn skills and knowledge to be successful.” Sayana Mohamed Hassan, Dadaab resident