IOM Guatemala Develops a Mobile Application for Migrants in Crisis

  Date: Monday, January 16, 2017
By Alejandro Martinez, IOM Guatemala

As part of IOM Guatemala’s pilot programme, Migrants in Countries in Crisis Initiative, a special mobile application was developed and deployed for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to provide consular services and assistance to migrants in the event of a crisis. This cutting-edge software can be installed in cellphones and other mobile devices, and enables direct contact between migrants and Guatemalan consular agents.

To facilitate immediate humanitarian action for migrants in need, the application also provides real-time data registration and reporting. Through this, it is expected that migrants will be able to contact national authorities when natural hazards, such as earthquakes or hurricanes, strike. Additionally, it seeks to enhance visibility of diaspora communities by establishing a digital mechanism to post content and promote special activities.

Furthermore, to expedite the generation of documents and to provide special assistance in cases of natural disasters, or other potential crises, one of the application’s most important features is its ability to aid direct connection with Guatemalan Government call centers and internal databases. IOM expects to replicate this tool in neighbouring countries, subject to governmental needs.  

Suggestively, in the absence of such application, migrants may feel discouraged and insecure to ask for assistance from local authorities in their countries of residence, out of fear of deportation.

The app provides the following services:

  • Assistance and protection for migrants
  • General information of embassies and consulates nearby
  • Consulate services
  • Consular appointment generator
  • Registry of migrant alerts (Geolocation, images and comments for alerts and emergency situations
  • Communications with countries of origin
  • Contact information in case of emergencies.

For government officials, the app facilitates access to a wide array of options for operations administration, reporting and accountability:

  • Administrative panel
  • New user form
  • Creation of new users
  • Password change
  • Blocking users
  • Role-based access control
  • Dashboards
  • Maps
  • Import/Export data

For more information, contact the MICIC team at IOM at