By June 2016, the New Here map, which unites refugees in Vienna with existing services, will be live and operational. The New Here team is seeking funding to support the development of the New Here app and its rollout across Europe. An interface optimised for smartphones enabling offline use will vastly improve the impact of New Here. Designing and implementing New Here training workshops across Europe will multiply its effect; ensuring refugees have instant access to relevant information.
There are many refugee-relevant services available across Europe that are not immediately visible to newly arrived refugees. By developing a solution to this problem we will relieve the pressure on overburdened NGOs who are currently providing the majority of information services, constraining resources for their main tasks. In doing so, we also target the lack of consolidated information on how individuals can support refugees, as well as misconceptions about flagging civil society solidarity.
The primary aim of the New Here project is to connect refugees to existing services by providing easy access to information tailored to them, thus further improving their ability to independently find their way around a new place. In addition, the New Here map will connect individuals who want to support refugees with relevant volunteering opportunities and drop-off points for donations and will relieve the burden on NGOs - all illustrating that European solidarity remains unwavering.
The New Here team will conduct interviews and form focus groups with its network of NGOs, service providers, refugees and social workers to elaborate relevant user specific categories searchable via the map. In June 2016 the Viennese prototype will have been developed, tested and released. The support of Advocate Europe will enable the development of the New Here app and its rollout across Europe. The first 5 months will serve to develop a highly-functioning and offline capable app as well as targeted training workshops. In the following 5 months, these workshops will introduce the app in 10 European capitals that function as focal points for national refugee services. This initiates a multiplier effect which will encourage the spread of New Here far beyond the initial training cycle.
The New Here map helps refugees arriving in Europe to find their way around the city more independently, significantly strengthening their autonomy and scope of action. Equally, the map improves the impact of organised and individual civil society support and public services, linking existing resources with specific needs and interests. By fostering a more accepting society, such increased visibility and efficiency of services proves to be beneficial for governments and society at large.