In this context, Türk Telekom evaluated the local and international studies, reports, academic papers, governmental outputs that were carried out specifically for the refugees in Turkey and identified the priority areas respectively Safety & Security, Health, Education, Unemployment and Integration areas for emergency action planning. However, Türk Telekom believe that these data will not only contribute to the 5 major problems and issues mentioned above, but also contribute to the research to be done in other fields. Within this scope, Türk Telekom would like to thank the current and future partners for having explicitly stated the questions, issues and challenges the populations that are confronted with.

From April 2011 to September 2016, the number of Syrian citizens, escaped from the civil war in Syria and Syrian refugees in Turkey reached 2.7 million, and indeed with the other refugees, this number exceeds 3.5 million. At the beginning, immigration of Syrians to Turkey was seen as short termed and temporary visit, however, now it has been anticipated that they will be staying in Turkey for a longer time period and the significant portion of the Syrian population will not turn back their countries.

In this Project, Türk Telekom aims to ease problems of refugees and to support them by sharing information of its customers having refugee status with researchers, think tanks, aid commissions, unions, related public institutions that have activities in local, regional, continental and international arenas.

In addition, this project have intention to contribute solution of 5 major problems, having elements as increasing psychological resilience of refugees, decreasing risk factors emanating from their negative life conditions.

Socio-cultural factors can be differentiated by different age, gender, ethnicity or religious groups. In other words, they cannot be generalized. Using the same problem solving methods for all the risk areas will decrease the impact of the support programs. Therefore, we are of the opinion that Türk Telekom datasets will have crucial impact on the research studies including right target groups and classifications. 


The government, NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) and other helping agencies mainly target the basic needs of the refugees. The mental health is tough to manage and requires professional support in a humanistic approach. Refugees have been exposed to many different events that have harmful effects on them such as seeing death, personal injuries, losing their families, etc. It is found that 19% of refugees have high anxiety, 9% of them have depression, and 33.5% of them have post-traumatic stress disorder. 74% of Syrian children refugees have lost their family members. 60% of children think that their life are in danger.

Turkish Red Crescent applies IASC (Interagency Standing Committee) for four level crisis management to help refugees and fix mental problems that are, (1) Basic needs and Security, (2) Community and Family Health Support, (3) Focused Non-Specialized Counseling Support and (4) Specialized Counseling Services. To be successful on mental services, it is important to understand the culture of Syria. Therefore, psychologists should have an experience in multicultural counseling. There are some challenges for mental support such as language barriers, communication problems between refugee and host community and cultural and spiritual differences. These problems can be solved by using educated translators, language courses in host community language and training Syrian people as mental health facilitators.

At the current stage of implementation of the education actions policy, the needs of the research include the following issues:

  • Treatment access conditions (average distance to treatment centers, places where vaccination shops are located, locations where doctors are present, etc.)
  • Language barrier (to make an appointment, to be an exam, to be treated)
  • Health employees who provide mental health services and intervene in trauma are insufficient in terms of number and quality for Arabic spoken group.
  • Because of the slow registration progress, they are not able to register and therefore unable to access qualified health care for refugees.
  • The negative perception of the Syrians and healthcare workers towards each other
  • The absence of counseling and referral areas for Syrians in health facilities
  • Challenges of having limited health opportunities on the rural side when compared to cities
  • Lack of specialists and specialized health workers to serve vulnerable groups at risk (unaccompanied children under 18, hurdles, lonely women, only parents etc.)
  • Correlation through food, diet, water access and health
  • External conditions and health issues such as sunlight, precipitation, humidity and drought, wind.



Welcome to the homepage of the Data for Refugees (D4R) Challenge Workshop. This workshop will gather stakeholders seeking to use Big Data for improving the living conditions of refugees. The Challenge participants will present their findings at the Workshop, and Awards will be distributed on different categories:
Health, education, social integration, unemployment, safety & security, respectively.

The presentations will be in English.

Date and Location

This workshop will take place on the 5th of November 2018 at Boğaziçi University, Albert Long Hall.

Participation and Registration

The workshop is free to attend, but security requires the names of attendees to enter the university on the day of the workshop. Please register if you like to attend.

First Name
Last Name
Tentative Program

09:00 - 09:30   Opening talks (Boğaziçi University, TUBITAK, Türk Telekom)
09:30 - 10:00   D4R Challenge Award Ceremony
10:00 - 12:00   Oral presentations from challenge participants
12:00 - 14:00   Lunch break and poster presentations from challenge participants
14:00 - 16:00   Oral presentations from challenge participants
16:00 - 17:00   Group meetings for challenge areas

Targeted Outcomes

The aim of the Workshop is to disseminate the findings of the D4R Challenge to a wider public. 31 research groups will present their results in the Workshop. The group meetings will bring the Challenge participants together to initiate a recommendations document (to be completed after the Workshop). These recommendations will be compiled in a jointly-authored chapter in the forthcoming book:

Salah, A.A., A. Pentland, B. Lepri, E. Letouze, P. Vinck, Y.A. de Montjoye, X. Dong (eds.), Guide to Mobile Data Analytics in Refugee Scenarios, Springer International, forthcoming.

Furthermore, a white paper in Turkish will be edited from the Challenge outcomes to be shared with the authorities.


Scientific Committee
Albert Ali Salah, Boğaziçi University
Alex Pentland, MIT
Bruno Lepri, FBK
Emmanuel Letouze, Data-Pop Alliance
Patrick Vinck, Harvard University
Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, Imperial College London
Xiaowen Dong, University of Oxford

Project Evaluation Committee
Senem Özyavuz, Turk Telekom
Iyad Rahwan, MIT
Anahi Ayala Iacucci, Internews
Bülent Sankur, Boğaziçi University
Yıldırım Bahadırlar, TUBITAK BILGEM
Alex Rutherford, MIT
Claire Melamed, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data
Jean-Marie Garelli, UNHCR
Ahmad Garibeh, Istanbul & I
Geoffrey Charles Fox, Indiana University
Josephine Goube, Techfugees
Fırat Yaman Er, Turk Telekom
Phuong Pham, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
Mithat Büyükhan, TC Ministry of Education
Mazen AboulHosn, IOM
Ömer Hakan Şimşek, TC Ministry of Health
Nona Zicherman, UNICEF
Manuel Garcia-Herranz, UNICEF
Vedran Sekara, UNICEF


Albert Ali Salah, salah@boun.edu.tr

Attention Please

PROJECT GROUPS SUBMIT PROPOSALS has been extended until March 23, 2018.