The collaboration started after the sharp increase of people trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea into the EU and the European countries were facing the largest influx of refugees and migrants in modern history.


For many of the people in crisis situations, especially amongst migrants and refugees, whom MSF meet, the lack of reliant and ever changing information about how to act in a crisis is a source of critical stress; a type of stress that risks affecting people’s mental health and wellbeing in both short and long term perspectives.


Reliable and timely situational information is an absolute necessity for both the refugees making decisions en-route, and for the MSF staff providing aid in the field, but the chain of information flow, validation, and dissemination, is so extensive that it becomes difficult to manage.

Information flowing in from different sources can often be contradictory and it may be challenging to separate rumour from fact. The more effective MSF becomes at collecting, evaluating and channelling this information, the better that information can be used to inform and instruct field workers, communicate with refugees and thereby plan and prioritize initiatives according to constantly changing needs and prerequisites. 

With this as a starting point, MSF Sweden Innovation Unit wanted to explore possibilities to provide good solutions together with Topp. Besides the refugee context, there are a wide set of situations where MSF could benefit from well designed and adapted solutions for information and communication flow. This concept is the first step in that direction.

“We believe this is the first step to something with the potential to significantly improve how we communicate and manage information, also beyond the refugee context." 

Marpe Tanaka, Innovation Lead at Doctors Without Borders - Sweden Innovation Unit


We mapped out four requirements that could be reflected in one solution:

  • A tool to aggregate and validate information from several channels, external and internal
  • The ability to structure the information into customised reports for internal distribution
  • Ability to ensure field workers have access to relevant and up to date information
  • The ability to share knowledge with migrants

The collaboration has resulted in the prototype of a new communication tool, the MSF Information Service. 

The tool is made up of two major parts:

  1. A web based Information Manager Tool for creating content
  2. The mobile Field Worker App

The Information Manager Tool and Field Worker App are two parts of a system to enable MSF to efficiently distribute up-to-date information between the many levels of the organisation, and most importantly to and from the staff working in close contact with migrants in the field.

By subscribing to specific areas and projects the app is customisable to fit every field workers own needs. The flexible nature of the app helps keeping the information flow relevant to any user, regardless of location or assignment in the world.


With tools that support MSFs new routines for efficient information flow, the goal is to ensure reliable information is made instantly accessible by MSF field workers, easing their work conditions and in the end the situations for migrants seeking their aid.