IKEA Foundation provides a $3.8million grant to Refugees United

Refugees United, a non-profit that has developed the world’s first online, mobile phone-enabled tracing service to help reconnect individuals separated by war or natural disaster, announced today it had received a $3.8 million grant from IKEA Foundation. The two year partnership will enable Refugees United to scale up its service, which has already reunited dozens of individuals, most of whom have arrived in western cities.

The service, developed by the non-profit in partnership with telecommunications company Ericsson, has 50,000 registered users, mostly from Congo, Somalia and Sudan, but presently located in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. The grant from the IKEA Foundation will enable Refugees United to expand its activities with UNHCR and NGOs in the field, to encourage registrations in refugee camps and experiment with data-sharing.

Christopher Mikkelsen, co-founder of Refugees United, said: “With the donation from the IKEA Foundation, we will be able to scale up our operations over the next two years, and bring much-needed help to the hundreds of thousands of refugees trying to trace their loved ones. Refugees United is tremendously excited by the possibilities of expanding our activities in the field.”

In August 2011, in the world’s largest refugee camp, Dabaab in Kenya, a Somali woman was reunited with her two daughters who she had not seen in 18 years. They had traveled with their father to Switzerland, where the younger of the two had later immigrated to the United States. The benefits for the thousands of separated families that the service could reunite in the future are unimaginable.

Further information


Partnership types

Project funding

Regions / countries / territories

Africa: 6 countries (show)

Global issues

Migration and population; Refugees and internally displaced persons