There are more than 65 million refugees and displaced people around the world today. That’s nearly 1 out of every 100 people on the planet.
Ensuring refugees get the services they need—everything from food and water to education and health care—is a herculean task managed by a complex web of international organizations, governments, and communities. The scale of these operations is immense, but historically the focus has been operational, with many decisions being made centrally. There’s a lack of transparency for refugees in the services provided to them or who’s providing them. And, there are limited feedback mechanisms, with no centralized way to track or respond to refugee satisfaction.
In 2016, IDEO.org and Alight (formerly the American Refugee Committee), an organization that provides services to 3.5 million refugees across Africa and the Middle East, joined forces to imagine a future where refugees can have a voice in shaping the services provided to them and hold humanitarian organizations accountable for world-class service.
Together we designed Kuja Kuja. At a basic level, Kuja Kuja is a platform for tracking customer satisfaction among refugees, and aggregating suggestions on how to improve them. It has the potential to fundamentally shift the way humanitarian organizations are serving refugees.
It’s a system powered by people, and enabled by technology. Alight staff travel around the refugee settlement with tablets collecting customer satisfaction data on an app and suggestions for how to improve service. Those suggestions are aggregated into a dashboard showing people’s perspectives in real-time. Each water point, for example, has a list of all responses collected.
Alight staff – both locally and at the global headquarters in Minneapolis – can keep track live, and coordinate on solving for any issues and prioritizing action. Other basic information, such as whether each water point is on or off, can also be monitored locally, on a map in the local Alight office that lights up red or green at each point of service. The Kuja Kuja staff and platform are tied together by a bright, friendly brand and a logo that “smiles back at customers”, designed to create joyful interactions between staff and refugees.
As the system continues to evolve, there is an opportunity in the future to use machine learning to gather deep insight into refugee mindsets, predict trends in consumption, and preempt new opportunities for improved services and improved lives.
The platform is the first of its kind, and entirely public. A bold move for a humanitarian organization working in such challenging conditions. This work is part of a larger vision as Alight is on a mission to re-imagine humanitarian aid for the 21st Century, and IDEO.org is committed to helping design that future.