Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below, we have answered some common technical support and campaign questions about the 1 Billion Miles / 2 Billion Kilometers campaign and how your involvement in the campaign will help improve the lives of people forced to flee.

TECHNICAL SUPPORT

  • What is the difference between an app and a manual user?

An app user of the 2 Billion Kilometres to Safety campaign has connected their Strava, Fitbit or Googlefit accounts to the campaign, so that their kilometres are automatically added to the global total each time that person walks, runs or cycles.

A manual user of the 2 Billion Kilometres to Safety campaign keeps track of the kilometres they have covered on their own or using other fitness devices, and logs the distance covered on the campaign website themselves. After a manual user has signed up and pledged an initial distance, additional distances can be added easily by any manual user here.

  • How do I sync my Fitbit, Strava or Googlefit app with the campaign?

The sign up process using Fitbit, Strava or Googlefit is explained below.

If you are using a mobile or tablet device:

  1. Make sure you are logged into your StravaFitbit or GoogleFit app
  2. On stepwithrefugees.org/en?signup=true, complete Step 1 of the sign up process
  3. At Step 2, select either Strava, Fitbit or GoogleFit - your Strava, Fitbit or GoogleFit app should open automatically
  4. When prompted, give the app permission to share kilometre/mile data
  5. You will now be returned to a thank you page—your registration is now complete

 If you are using a desktop or laptop:

  1. Login to your StravaFitbit or Google account online
  2. Complete Step 1 of the sign up process of Step With Refugees website
  3. At Step 2, select either Strava, Fitbit or GoogleFit—you should be automatically redirected to the Strava, Fitbit or GoogleFit site
  4. When prompted, give your account permission to share kilometre/mile data
  5. You will now be returned to a thank you page—your registration is now complete
  • I tried to connect my Fitbit, Strava or GoogleFit account during the sign up process and it did not work—what do I do now?

If you experience syncing issues with your Fitbit, Strava or GoogleFit accounts, please email donors-belux@unhcr.org and we will provide you with technical support.

Please note that if you are having issues logging into your Fitbit, Strava or Google account, you will have to contact StravaFitbit or Google support teams directly.

  • My fitness app is not compatible with the campaign – how can I participate?

Unfortunately our campaign does not yet connect with all fitness tracking devices, however you can still participate in the challenge!

Using your Google account you can download GoogleFit (on iOS or Android) to add your kilometres to the campaign. GoogleFit can access data from over 40 difference fitness apps including Runtastic, Nike Run Club and Endomondo. If you prefer to track your steps over several apps rather than just one, GoogleFit is perfect for you to join the campaign.

If you prefer not to use a fitness app, you can log your kilometres manually on our website—and you will still receive updates on your progress through the campaign and how your kilometres are making a difference for refugees.

  • I have registered as a manual user and want to add more kilometres—how can I do this?

You can add more kilometres to your total distance here. All you need to do is add your email address and the new kilometres covered, and your total will be updated.

  • How can I check how many kilometres I have contributed?

We send you an email every Friday to let you know how many kilometres you have contributed so far to the campaign, and how your contributions are making a difference for refugees. If you are not receiving these Friday update emails, or believe that the distance recorded on your account is incorrect, please email donors-belux@unhcr.org and we can ensure that you are receiving the right information.

If you use GoogleFit, please ensure that you open your app at least once a week so that your step data can refresh and your kilometres for the campaign can be updated.

  • I want to add more manual kilometres to my total but the website says that I do not have an account. What can I do?

If you are trying to add more manual kilometres to your total and an error message appears, you may have originally registered as an app user of the campaign. Please continue to use the device that you connected to the campaign to add your kilometres.

If you have registered as a manual user and cannot enter additional kilometres, please email donors-belux@unhcr.org and we will investigate the issue.

  • How much of my information does Fitbit and Strava give to you?

When you connect your Fitbit/Strava/Google account to the campaign, you will enable us to receive data about the number of kilometres that you cover and the activity type (e.g. cycling, running) you did while using the account. Fitbit, Strava and Google do not share any other information with us (e.g. location, age, gender etc.). The distance you have covered in kilometres and miles is sent by Fitbit/Strava/Google through an API connection to our database. We use this information to calculate your total distance contributed to date, as well as adding your distance to the global tracking number on our website. More information is available on our Privacy Policy.

  • Do you share my information with anyone else?

No. None of the information that you provided to us in the campaign will be shared, published, sold or swapped to a third party. When you sign up to the campaign, your information is sent to a secure hosting environment that is only accessible via a secure login by the person or team in charge of running the campaign.

In addition, we may use your email address to target messages for you on our social media platforms and identify other people on the Internet who are most likely to support UNHCR work and help refugees. This may include uploading an encrypted list of email addresses to services such as Facebook. This data is not stored or reused by the service provider and is only held for the duration of the matching process.

Depending on the communications preference you selected during the sign up, you might receive emails, text messages or phone calls updating you on your personal progress in the campaign, overall campaign progress or information about UNHCR’s work and other ways to help. You can opt-out of receiving communications from us at any point by emailing donors-belux@unhcr.org and letting us know that you would no longer like to be contacted. More information is available on our Privacy Policy.

  • I have another question that is not covered here/want more information. How do I contact you?

Please feel free to email us at donors-belux@unhcr.org and we will respond to your enquiry as soon as possible.

CORPORATE PARTNERSHIPS

  • I would like to get my workplace/business involved. How can I do this?

You can have a team page set up for your business or organisation and challenge teams in your workplace to cover the most kilometres. More and more businesses are signing up to be part of the challenge, including PwCBBVA and IpsosHere is an example of what your organisation’s page could look like.

You can also encourage your workplace to donate a fixed amount for every kilometre your employees cover! This is a great way for your organisation to increase staff motivation, meet CSR requirements and most importantly, provide lifesaving support for refugees and displaced people.

To set up a team page for your organisation or to learn more about involving your workplace please contact Ruben Fierens at Fierens@unhcr.org

We are also seeking sponsors for public and financial promotion of the campaign. If your business or organisation would like to be involved as a sponsor, please contact Ruben Fierens at Fierens@unhcr.org

OTHER QUESTIONS

  • Do I have to be a runner to participate?

No! We invite people of all athletic abilities and ages to participate in the campaign. Any person covering distances by walking, running, swimming, cycling, climbing or moving with mobility aids like wheelchairs or walkers are welcome to join the campaign.

  • I am not very active. Will my steps make a difference?

Absolutely. Every step, no matter how large or small will collectively make a big difference in helping us reach our goal of 2 billion kilometres covered in solidarity with refugees. Whether you walk to the corner shop or run a marathon, your contributions are very welcome!

  • I want to do more than step with refugees. How can I help?
  1. Donate. This is the most direct and important way that you can make a difference for refugees. Give life-saving aid now.
  2. Fundraise. Ask your family and friends to donate to support refugees and displaced people. You could fundraise by running a 5km race and asking them to sponsor you, or by hosting a paid brunch or clothing swap; the ideas are endless!
  3. Ask your employer to support refugees by matching your distances with a donation to UNHCR , or make a corporate donation to UNHCR from your business. To find out more, please email Ruben Fierens at Fierens@unhcr.org
  4. Involve your school, university, gym or sports club by setting up a team page! Contact donors-belux@unhcr.org for more information
  5. Support and frequent refugee-owned local restaurants and businesses, support and patron refugee artists, cheer on refugee sports teams. Refugees bring a world of culture to your community and you can benefit from it!
  6. Tell your local/national government that you support a welcoming and safe environment for refugees in your community
  7. Spread the word about the difficulties that refugees face and the obstacles they have overcome to reach safety
  • How do my steps help refugees and displaced people?

Walking alongside friends, family and colleagues to advocate for the rights of a group of people is a powerful action that has happened across generations for many great causes. In today’s age of technology, we can connect more people than ever before in a virtual “march” in solidarity with the rights of refugees and displaced people.

The past decade has seen an increase in xenophobia and a decline in the willingness of countries to welcome, provide asylum to and resettle displaced people. By tracking your steps in our global campaign, you are joining together with thousands of people all around the world in a virtual march in solidarity with people forced to flee their homes. By publicly sharing your support for this campaign and inviting others to take part, you are increasing public awareness and support for the right of refugees to find safety, shelter and protection.

You will also be sending a strong message of support directly to refugees. We know that refugees are following the progress of the campaign on social media and some are taking part themselves, like Somali refugee and marathon runner Guled Nur Hussain and Syrian refugee and Olympian Yusra Mardini.

When you sign up to the campaign, your support will not end just with stepping with refugees. We will send you ideas on how you can further your support for refugees and displaced people, like how to speak to your local government and representatives about refugee issues, how being a UNHCR supporter can save lives and how you can fundraise directly for refugees.

To turn your steps into deliverable support for refugees and displaced people, you can ask your friends, family, colleagues and employers to donate money for every kilometre you cover as part of the campaign. Perhaps you are training for a 5km race, or you have committed to taking the stairs every day, or cycling to work instead of driving for a month. However you are moving in support of refugees, you can turn your steps into money raised for refugees.

  • How will the money I raise support refugees and displaced people?

Within the first 72 hours of a refugee emergency, UNHCR is on the ground to deliver life-saving reception services for up to half a million people who have fled their homes. Working with government authorities and local partners, our emergency response team quickly locates and identifies those who need urgent help to ensure that we can save as many lives as possible. We can then transfer people to more equipped locations to provide them with more comprehensive care like shelter, medical assistance, cooking sets, blankets, mats, psychological care and more.

Here are just a few examples of how your donations can help protection are care to people forced to flee.

  1. Fleeing from conflict is dangerous for any refugee, but for those who are young or very old, the journey is particularly punishing, especially if it was without access to good food or clean water. $10 a day is enough to provide emergency water for around 25 refugees who have just reached safety and protection.
  2. $20 could pay for an essential kitchen set containing cooking cutlery, plates and utensils so a family that has completed an exhausting journey can rest and share meals together, knowing they are safe. 
  3. Many refugees arrive at UNHCR camps and settlements with physical and psychological wounds. Around $50 can provide a refugee with the emergency medical or psychological counselling they need to begin their recovery.
  • When did the campaign launch?

The 2 Billion Kilometres to Safety campaign is a global campaign by UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency which first launched in Hong Kong in August 2018, followed by Japan in September 2018. Since then, the campaign has launched in The Republic of KoreaThe United StatesCanadaSpainGermanyThe PhilippinesMalaysiaBelgiumThailand and The United Arab Emirates (covering the Middle East and Northern Africa region). The campaign is now being promoted in 13 countries, in 10 languages with more countries due to launch in the second half of 2019.

  • Who is supporting the campaign?

More than 57,000 people worldwide have already signed up to step with refugees. The 1 Billion Miles/2 Billion Kilometres to Safety campaign has also attracted the support of many public figures, politicians and refugees themselves.

In Belgium, UNHCR and the Royal Belgian Football Association (KBVB) join forces to take part in the '2 Billion Kilometer to Safety' campaign. "The RBFA attaches great importance to values such as respect, fair play, inclusiveness, health, sustainability and education and is therefore particularly proud to be able to support this project." Kassandra Missipo, Rocky Bushiri and Youri Tielemans, together with their teammates, regularly donate their kilometres after every game and are calling their supporters to the same.

  • Are the stories on the website of real refugees?

Yes. Each story featured on this website is of a refugee or displaced person who kindly agreed to share their stories with us. Our colleagues travelled to BangladeshJordanUganda and Ethiopia to meet these brave individuals and their families and to bring you their stories of courage and survival. Each person has their own story to tell, but they all have one thing in common—they fled violence and conflict in their homes and endured difficult journeys on foot to reach safety.

Please note that precise information about the names and locations of these individuals have not been shared for privacy and protection reasons.

  • How do you know that refugees walk 2 billion kilometres every year?

UNHCR and our partners have a comprehensive registration system which includes information on where refugees or displaced people flee from and where they are now seeking asylum or refuge. By tracing the steps of the millions of people forced to flee from their countries in 2016, UNHCR has calculated that the collective distance of all these journeys is at least 2 billion kilometres.

This is our best calculation based on UNHCR population statistics of refugee and asylum seeker arrivals from January to December 2016. The people forced to flee came from 40 different countries all over the world – including South Sudan, Syria and Iraq.

In 2016, the number of displaced people was 67 million. In 2018, that number had risen to 70.8 million people. So in fact, the distance refugees and displaced people travel to find safety is now likely even higher than 2 billion kilometres. But we believe that 2 billion kilometres is an ambitious and important milestone to reach.

Add your kilometres to the global total
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