mobile apps

Tools and tips from Amara Aguilar and Vince Gonzales, both CPD Faculty Fellows and USC Annenberg faculty members.

During a 10-day trip in June, we talked to officials, migrants and activists in Athens, Lesvos -- the Greek island where most refugees first set foot in Europe last year , and Thessaloniki, near the closed border of Macedonia, shutting migrants' way out. Our mission: to see if the technology that many of us use every day: phones, the internet, messaging apps, social networks -- is helping during this crisis. Or not.

For the 85,000 refugees who will resettle in the US this year, mobile phones have become as essential to their daily lives as a safe, clean place to live and a steady job. [...] Mobile and internet services are now on the list of necessities. They not only keep new immigrants in touch with their families back home, but they also provide an important gateway for managing finances and sending cash home to relatives.

Mobile apps for social good used to be trendy, but international aid organizations need to think harder about how they can use the data they collect, says one senior program manager at the U.S. Agency for International Development. [...] Mobile technology is most useful when the data it produces lets aid groups send resources to the exact place they're needed