Women carry sticks across sand and past barbed wire

Cell Phone & Walkie Talkie Program

The Need:

Safety is the utmost concert of Darfur Women Network. Communication is key in the refugee camps, villages and those who are en route for firewood in Chad and surrounding villages. Since many areas are still high conflict zones and firewood treks for women and girls last from sunrise to sunset, having access to danger alerts is imperative. Providing villages and camps with walkie talkies or cell phones enables Safety Groups, guards or individuals to communicate attack alerts, the arrival of new supplies or medical aid, information regarding food, water or medical shortages or emergencies. Cell phones and walkie talkies also provide villages and camps with a means to communicate event gatherings and vital community information. Some areas do not have cell phone coverage, so walkie talkies are the only means of communication. Areas with cell phone coverage can benefit from the use of smart phones so that educational information, text and media files, field data gathering and monitoring can be documented and relayed to and from the field staff as well as staff in the US.

How The Program Works:

Used Cell Phones & Smartphones:

There are 12 total camps in Chad. Each camp consists of roughly 13,000 and 29,000 refugees per camp. Our goal is to provide at least 5 basic cell phones per camp for communication and safety information and at least 3 smart phones per camp for educational resources for adult and youth programs. The individuals in these camps have been isolated from accessing educational and informational outlets. They have been completely disconnected with the outside world. We at Darfur Women Network believe that providing them with the tools to learn, communicate and connect is important to educational and social development both individually and in rebuilding their communities. Because we are committed to progress in the camps and villages, it is imperative that our field staff have the tools to collect data, monitor and communicate regularly on the status of each program.

Walkie Talkies:

Additionally, surrounding villages outside the camps do not have cell phone coverage, our goal is to provide each of the 35 villages with a walkie-talkie, so that they may communicate both with the smaller villages and the camps. Walkie-talkies have a range of 25-30 miles which would be very useful for those who are on foot to communicate with those in the camps.

What We Need To Make This Happen:

In addition to the actual cell phones and walkie-talkies, other items are necessary in order for this to work. Since walkie-talkies operate differently from cell phones, solar chargers are necessary in order to keep them operational. Cell phones require SIM cards, cables and chargers.

There are many locations across the US that receive hundreds of used phones per day for recycling or trash. With the constant upgrade in technology, many people toss them out or even have older phones stored away in boxes that sit completely unused. Rather than drop them off for recycling or store them away, why not donate them to people that can truly use them. Don’t have a phone to donate, but want to help?

  • Have a collection drive at your school, university, club, community center, group or religious organization.
  • Purchase a used walkie-talkie or used cell phone from discount retailers to donate.
  • Contact cell phone providers or carriers about used phones on their way to the recycling facility.
  • Ask local businesses in your community if they’d be willing to chip in or organize an event.

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