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Voices of Refugees

Date added

18 July 2016


Examining the information and communication needs of refugess in Greece and Germany

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Since 2015, more than a million women, men and children have undertaken perilous journeys to reach northern European countries, using unofficial migration routes across the Mediterranean Sea and south-east Europe.

Not all of them have reached their preferred destination, and many have died or gone missing on the way. These people reflect diverse nationalities, languages and levels of literacy, income, social status and access to technology. But they have one overwhelming aspect in common – they require information to make decisions about their next steps, to remain safe and meet their minimum survival needs. And yet, even in this age of digital technology, they often cannot get the reliable information they need due to a lack of online or mobile connectivity and limited consistent information that they trust.

This study provides a snapshot of refugees’ experiences regarding communication and information at different points on their journey. It examines the communication behaviours and priority information needs of refugees in three areas: on their journey, in “transit” camps in Greece and some who have reached Germany – a key destination country for refugees.

The research consists of interviews with refugees and humanitarian agency officials in Greece and Germany. The study examines how refugees access and use information and it presents the concerns and challenges faced by humanitarian agencies in addressing their needs. The findings from this research highlight refugees' overarching need for critical information about their current and future situation as well as broader communication needs:

  • Refugees need to be listened to
  • Refugees need to be able to tell their stories
  • Refugees need to participate in dialogue that provides them with physical, social and psychosocial support
  • Many refugees also need trauma counselling

Read more about the Start Network European Refugee Response.

This research has been funded by UK Aid from the UK government through the Start Network European Refugee Response Programme. The content of this report is the responsibility of BBC Media Action. Any views expressed in this report should not be taken to represent those of the BBC itself, or any donors supporting the work of the charity.

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