Project Details


Real-time app helps coordinate emergency relief on refugee routes

By SOS Children's Villages

Project URL:
Project Twitter: @SOS_Advocates

Organisations Involved SOS Children's Villages

  • Safety & Security
  • Mobile

The number of families fleeing their home continues to rise. Today, there are over 60 million refugees in the world, over half of whom are children.

A common refugee route runs through the Balkans, which receive large numbers of people displaced by conflicts in the Middle East. In the second half of 2015, about 415,000 refugees passed through Macedonia alone, 40% of whom were children.

Humanitarian organisations often struggle to access real-time information about the urgent needs of refugees, especially at times of rapid change. Sometimes, several NGOs duplicate their efforts to reach the same group, while others aren’t reached at all. 

SOS Children’s Villages International understands the problem well, having provided food and hygiene to over 8,000 caregivers and their children in Macedonia and 30,000 services to refugees in Serbia during the recent European refugee crisis. 

Working with BeeTwo, the NGO has developed Toucan – an emergency response app that improves the ability of their teams on the ground to respond to refugees’ needs as and when they arise. 

Refugees can share real-time information about their situation, while NGOs can share information about resources they have available and coordinate quickly on how best to distribute them using a real-time map of the area. For example, when a refugee goes into labour, Toucan will alert all local medical organisations to help coordinate who will respond, and avoid duplication. NGOs can also filter out problems based on categories like ‘medical’ or ‘food aid’.

Toucan was first tested in beta in the Balkans, and SOS Children’s Villages says the trial has proven so successful that it is now being used by other aid agencies. In the future, Toucan will be available in other emergency situations and to volunteers like doctors.

Toucan is partially crowdfunded. To donate, please visit

Image courtesy of Annunziata Schmidt-Chiari

Last updated: 13th of September, 2016

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