The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, partnered with Twitter and Kniterate and launched today a global five-month campaign '#KnitForRefugees' to proactively and collectively shed light on winter as an important issue facing Syrian and Iraqi internally displaced persons, IDPs, and refugees in the MENA region.
UNHCR’s Twitter campaign aims to generate awareness through the power of the public platform and share a strong call to action to encourage people to act and make a difference through donations in advance of the winter season. Through a partnership with London-based Kniterate, the innovative campaign will demonstrate the power of Tweets, as a compact digital knitting machine begins to knit a tapestry featuring participating Twitter accounts.
The campaign will be rolled out across multiple countries and regions, kicking off in the UAE. UNHCR’s official global account on Twitter; @Refugees Tweeted a video today around the cause calling on people to Retweet the Tweet in order to knit the first part of the scarf lives on Twitter. The same activation will take place in several countries in the coming months until winter starts.
Currently, around 14 million Syrians and Iraqis are displaced in the region. The needs in the region remain significant. UNHCR has already started planning for the upcoming winter. Last year, UNHCR was able to reach 3.6 million Syrian and Iraqi internally displaced persons, IDPs, and refugees with winterisation assistance.
But urgent funding is needed to ensure that life-saving winterisation assistance is in place before freezing temperatures grip the region, exposing tens of thousands of families. For many, this will be the ninth consecutive winter in displacement.
Ayat El Dewary, UNHCR Officer in Charge in the UAE, said, "This partnership with Twitter is really significant for UNHCR. Funds raised through this campaign will support our efforts to provide the life-saving interventions to most vulnerable refugees this winter.
Every year we see first hand the desperation faced by refugees in the region during the winter season. We hope that through this initiative, we will not only raise awareness on the plight of refugees but also raise the necessary funds to ensure that no refugee is left out in the cold."
Speaking at the launch of the campaign, George Salama, Head of Public Policy, MENA at Twitter, said, "Our Twitter for Good global programme aims to spread well through the power of Twitter in collaboration with organisations and charities around the world. Today, we have partnered with UNHCR to promote a healthy public conversation on the platform in order to highlight the struggles of refugees during winter."
In turn, Stephanie Terroir, Head of Brand Strategy, MENA at Twitter, stated, "The statistics demonstrate that staying warm during winter is one of the biggest challenges facing refugees. Our aim was to identify a solution with the support of our EMEA Lab team to not merely raise awareness of UNHCR's cause but urge people to donate. This campaign, in collaboration with Kniterate, was initiated to engage the public to collectively participate in knitting a tapestry via one of its digital knitting machines."
Concluding on 30th November, 2019, the results of the campaign will be shared during the Global Summit of Refugees in Geneva.