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Yuri Milner’s Tech For Refugees Partner Wins First European Prize for Humanitarian Innovation

International Rescue Committee

One of Tech For Refugees’ partners, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), has won the inaugural European Prize for Humanitarian Innovation (InnovAid). The prize celebrates the IRC’s Signpost project, which has empowered millions of displaced people with crucial, accurate, and potentially life-saving information.

Billionaire Yuri Milner and his wife Julia founded Tech For Refugees in spring 2022. The non-profit provides financial support to its partner organizations so they can use their expertise and networks to help refugees. Aside from the IRC, Tech For Refugees has partnered with renowned tech organizations like Uber and Flexport.org.

Pioneering Community-Driven Information Platforms for Refugees

Signpost’s mission is to give people in need access to time-sensitive, context-specific information. With 12 million unique users globally, it’s the world’s first scalable approach to community-driven, responsive information platforms.

Signpost works with leading technology companies like Google.org and Meta to power a network of websites and social media channels. These platforms provide users with clear, fact-based information products, such as videos, geolocated service maps, and regularly updated articles.

Additionally, Signpost’s platforms facilitate two-way conversations between users and the initiative’s local liaisons. These trained community members answer questions users ask via various communication channels and offer guidance on critical decision-making.

These two-way conversations also drive the creation of new information products. Liaisons identify trends in users’ questions, with these trends highlighting the community’s specific information needs. Liaison teams then create content based on these localized trends.

Signpost: A Multi-Award-Winning Initiative

The European Commission announced the winners of the first edition of the InnovAid prize at the European Humanitarian Forum in Brussels on March 19, 2024. The prize recognizes the top three private and non-profit organizations developing technology to help vulnerable people living through man-made crises and natural disasters.

Signpost secured first place. Meanwhile, Goal 3 came second for its IMPALA tool, a monitoring system for hospitalized children in low-resource settings. The third place went to Humanitarian Logistics Cooperative, which offers cost-efficient services to aid organizations.

This is the second award Signpost has received for its far-reaching impact. In summer 2023, the United Nations (UN) SDG Action Awards named Signpost the winner of the Connect award.

The UN SDG Action Awards celebrate initiatives and individuals using creativity and innovation to build a more peaceful, sustainable, and equitable world.

Tech For Refugees: The Power of Partnerships

Since launching in 2015, Signpost has expanded to 20 countries and reached almost 80 million people, helping them make informed decisions. In early 2023, Tech For Refugees pledged a three-year commitment to promote the adoption of Signpost in 10 new locations across Asia Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas. 

Tech For Refugees’ grants continue to help the IRC and other tech partners bring vital aid, information, shelter, and support to millions of refugees and internally displaced people.

For example, Tech For Refugees’ partnership with Uber has helped staff and clients of the IRC and victims of Turkey’s devastating earthquakes access free, reliable transport.

Notably, Tech For Refugees’ work with Flexport.org has resulted in the delivery of over 440 aid shipments. The supplies in these shipments have positively impacted the lives of more than seven million people in Ukraine, Pakistan, the Horn of Africa, and beyond.

Find out more about the organizations working with Tech For Refugees.

About Yuri Milner

Yuri Milner is an investor whose work focuses on internet technology and science philanthropy. He is a co-founder of the Breakthrough Prize, the world’s most substantial annual scientific award.

He has also launched the Breakthrough Initiatives, a set of trailblazing space science programs, and the Breakthrough Junior Challenge, a science video competition for high school students.

As part of his Giving Pledge, Yuri Milner has promised to support researchers and their groundbreaking work and inspire the next generation of scientists. He discusses several of his ideas about scientific and technological progress in his short book Eureka Manifesto: The Mission for Our Civilization.

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