KwikSense CEO George Najjar installs a KwikSense device in a substandard shelter in the Metn area of Mount Lebanon. (The Daily Star/Federica Marsi)
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From smartphones to lightning-fast PCs, technology permeates all aspects of contemporary life.Since November, UNHCR has provided winter assistance to 870,000 Syrian refugees living in informal settlements, by covering the costs of heating fuel and warm clothes.After a request from UNHCR, the KwikSense team installed a device to monitor temperature fluctuations in Hammoud's home to assess the needs of families living in similar conditions.Next year, Hammoud might become one of the many refugees who cannot afford to buy heating fuel. The prototypes currently being piloted in six substandard shelters and in one informal settlement were built by Marwan Ghamlouch, a 17-year-old member of the KwikSense team. In order to support young talent, such as those on the KwikSense team, U.N. agencies are sponsoring a product development and software engineering team – the Humanitarian Innovation Lab, or HiL – that will work in partnership with refugees and host communities to develop and scale new technological innovations.According to Mike Clarke, program director at HiL, developing new technological innovations tailored to the refugee community are a challenge.
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