UPDATE: Brazil New IP telephony solution Venezuelan crisis

Télécoms Sans Frontières emphasizes the importance of providing an accessible response to any given situation. Our dedication to efficiency translates as ensuring that we develop the technical means to respond directly to beneficiary needs, whilst applying our experience, know-how and expertise to overcome constraints and obstacles that are inherent to certain situations.


TSF's Telephony over Internet Protocol (ToIP) solution is the fruit of in-house experimentation and innovation. Our experience demonstrated that there was a need to produce a solution that can restore family links in any type of crisis, anywhere in the world, and above all, irrespective of the absence or presence of network.


The TECC - or TSF Emergency Call Centre - is a package ToIP service that allows disaster-affected populations to benefit from voice calls be it in the aftermath of a natural hazard where the telephone or Internet network is destroyed or in a refugee camp where populations find themselves isolated by lack of electricity or because of high communications costs. Minimising the quantity of data and optimising the data links make it possible to offer a large number of simultaneous calls, whatever the technology used (satellite, ADSL, 3G, 4G).



schema tecc

This highly cost-efficient and rapidly deployable telecommunication system merges the use of analogue handsets and the efficiency of IP-based communications. For the first time in a humanitarian context, TSF has deployed its TECC solution to the heart of a little-known, yet rapidly emerging humanitarian crisis – the Venezuelan Migration Crisis.


Among the first iNGOs at the heart of South America’s emerging humanitarian crisis


On April 5, Télécoms Sans Frontières was among the first international NGOs to deploy to Brazil in response to the latest and largest migration crisis in South American history. Tens of thousands of Venezuelans are fleeing the economic and social collapse that has led to runaway inflation (+2,600% in 2017 and an estimated +13,000% in 2018 according to the IMF) and deficiency in several major social sectors such as health and education.


These inflation rates have brought about serious shortages that have led to problems of malnutrition and the development of diseases such as skin infections, malaria, and diarrhea. The majority of medicine and surgical equipment is now lacking, and hospitals have problems with regular water supply.


To date, an estimated 52,000 Venezuelans have entered Brazil and approximately 800 continue to cross the border each day. Authorities are expecting the continuation of a dense flow of arrivals on the territory.


While the Brazilian government, local NGOs and UN agencies intervene on vital needs, communications remain essential. As an NGO specialised in telecoms, TSF intervenes to fill a basic gap for refugees: communication with their relatives.


Télécoms Sans Frontières has commenced its TECC operations in the border town of Boa Vista where 40,000 Venezuelans have taken refuge some 200km from the frontier. A first temporary TECC was set up in one of the town’s refugee shelters housing 270 people. TSF’s objective is to cover the remaining four shelters over the coming week in addition to the installation of a permanent centre.


This solution is vital in enabling Venezuelan families to communicate. Many of them were forced to sell their phones to finance their trip and those who do have phones simply cannot afford overseas calls. 90% of the calls we routed on the first day were to Venezuela – They have expressed how important it is for them,” confirms our Head of Mission.


In close alliance with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), TSF will be implementing its first fixed TECC in Boa Vista within the coming days. The Centre is to be installed at the heart of the Reference Centre co-managed and under construction by the authorities and the UNHCR. Venezuelan families will visit this centre in order to carry out the necessary administrative tasks for the regularisation of their situation, to meet lawyers for advices.


These calls not only allow people to get back in touch with their family, but importantly, they enable them to apply for jobs.


TSF BoaVista April2018 (1) TSF BoaVista April2018 (2) TSF BoaVista April2018 (3)