Microsoft partners with aid agencies to provide essential technology

In 1999, Microsoft employees from the European offices responded to the Kosovo crisis by creating The Refugee Field Kit – a computer-based method of providing displaced people (most of whom had been stripped of identity papers when fleeing Kosovo) with new official identity cards and an easier method for finding missing family members.

Discussions with UNHCR revealed that they needed help with a new refugee registration system – as about 800,000 pieces of paper were stored. Therefore, 50 to 60 Microsoft employees donated 12 person-years to developing the system. Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded the project.

Since then, Microsoft employees have donated another three person-years of time improving the system for use at other UNHCR refugee sites and rolling out version 2 of the Refugee Field Kit in Senegal and elsewhere. In 2000, the agency began using the kits to register about 17,000 Afghan refugees in New Delhi and began implementing the program in three other countries – Nigeria, Kenya and Zambia.

Further information


Partnership types

Advocacy of global issues; Project funding; Provision of services / personnel; all (4)

Regions / countries / territories

Africa: Kenya; Nigeria; Senegal; Zambia Asia: India Europe: Serbia

Global issues

Information and communications technologies; Refugees and internally displaced persons

Goods categories

Computer hardware & software; Safety & security

Business sectors

Telecommunications and IT products and services