Channels of Protection: Communication, Technology, and Asylum in Cairo, Egypt


  • Nora Danielson University of Oxford



Cairo, Egypt, information technology, service providers, communication, forced migrants, urban asylum, urban refugee policy, community outreach


Communication between service providers and refugees about services, legal processes, and rights helps shape refugees’ experience of asylum but has, in Cairo, Egypt, been a source of misunderstandings and conflict. Based on qualitative pilot research, this paper explores the practices, challenges, and potentials of information technologies old and new in facilitating access to asylum in this southern city. Interviews with refugee and service providers and review of previous technology-based initiatives show that although service providers tend to rely on oral information transfer, other channels—print, phone, text messaging, websites, social media—hold significant capacity for growth. Existing practices and initiatives in Cairo demonstrate the potential for technology-based projects to overcome the geographic barriers of the urban setting and the range of literacy and languages in Cairo’s refugee communities. However, service providers and refugees require further funding and institutional support if this potential is to be realized.


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Author Biography

Nora Danielson, University of Oxford

Nora Danielson holds an MPhil in migration studies from the University of Oxford, where she is a doctoral researcher in anthropology at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society. This paper draws from research partially funded by UNHCR’s Policy and Development and Evaluation Service (PDES) and is revised from a working paper written for its series New Issues in Refugee Research. The author wishes to thank PDES, as well as those who participated in the pilot research and commented on the working paper.



How to Cite

Danielson, N. (2013). Channels of Protection: Communication, Technology, and Asylum in Cairo, Egypt. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 29(1), 31–42.

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