This program aims to incubate promising refugee-led groups so that they become self-sustaining organizations that support their communities through innovative programs, engage actively in the design of programs affecting their own lives and can actively implement programs that will most directly benefit their communities.
The incubation program includes technical assistance, training and mentorship and lasts 3 months. Each program is tailored according to the organisation’s specific needs. Overall, the program comprises 3 components:
Organizational capacity building
We work with refugee organizations to strengthen management and improve existing programs, with focus on:
- Training and support in organizational skills: finance, HR, governance, strategic planning, legal support to formalise the organization, creation (or improvement) of an online presence (including a website) and training around how to use web tools and social media
- Training in project management: project management techniques, including a hands-on workshop on a particular project that will be worked out from design to evaluation
- SMS Communications: With a group en engineers, we developed a solution called SMS Up which is basically a WhatsApp for SMS. It’s a group messaging service that enables users to send an SMS message to multiple recipients using a single mobile phone number. Information is usually communicated top-down, through humanitarian agencies. SMSUp is a grassroots, easy to use and low cost service which uses a bottom-up approach and enables refugees to create their own distribution lists, share critical information within their community and self organize easily.
Access to seed funding:
We support refugee organizations in raising a first pool of money for a particular project through a crowd funding campaign on a Kick-starter. We also provide training on fund-raising and grant writing so that other campaigns and projects can be implemented in the future.
Advocacy and outreach:
- Advocacy skills: development of community leaders’ advocacy skills so that they can effectively represent their community in local, national, regional and international forums in which refugee and urban topics are discussed
- Advocacy opportunity identification: we will facilitate the representation of those groups in such arena and in key events
- Partnerships: we will help reinforce or create new partnerships with local NGOs and host community groups; link incubated refugee organizations together to slowly build a Global Refugee Council; and pair each organization with mentors from the diaspora, the local host community or from any other background.
We will open our first incubation program next year.
We are currently looking refugee led organisations interested in our program for a first pilot starting early 2016. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you be interested or if you know of refugee organisations who may be!
- Humanitarian organizations are confronted with important challenges when it comes to supporting refugees in urban and non-camp settings. NGOs and UN agencies alike struggle to identify refugees outside camps, as they are scattered across wide areas and tend to keep a low profile. In such a context, disseminating accurate information within the refugee community, providing services and involving beneficiaries in the design of programs constitute particularly difficult tasks.
- Confronted by limited support, refugees have established their own organizations to meet the needs of their communities. These organizations play a crucial role in facilitating the work of humanitarian workers by disseminating accurate information, referring cases to NGOs and representing their community when NGOs seek input from beneficiary. Studies have shown that they play a vital role in assisting members of their own community.
- However, the bulk of these refugee-led organizations face tremendous challenges that impair their potential. Their management systems are often weak, their budgets are low and their advocacy capacity limited. The informal nature of these organizations often make them challenging for NGOs and UN agencies to engage with.
- By leaving them with limited support, a vital opportunity is being missed to have them aid the work of humanitarian organizations that are supporting out of camp refugees.
- Our incubation program aims to tap into the potential of refugee communities to generate change.