This year was our most successful ever in terms of resettlement submissions. Though 2015 fourth quarter statistics are still being tabulated, we know that we have surpassed last year’s totals and referred more than 5,000 refugees for resettlement during 2015. Since 2005, we have referred 32,454 refugees for resettlement.
During this quarter, our staff referred approximately 1,250 of the most vulnerable refugees for resettlement from 15 locations in Africa, bringing our year-end total to approximately 5,000 referrals.
Our staff also facilitated additional resettlement by leading identification exercises to find the most vulnerable refugees and conducting quality review of resettlement submissions. Through these activities we facilitated the resettlement of approximately another 650 refugees this quarter. In total, we helped as many as approximately 1,900 refugees access resettlement during the fourth quarter of 2015.
2015 was not just a successful year for RefugePoint, but for resettlement out of Africa broadly. To give one example, UNHCR in the East & Horn of Africa was able to refer more refugees for resettlement in 2015 than during any other year in its past. RefugePoint was a critical part of this success, having deployed 8 Resettlement Experts and 6 Child Protection Experts to 11 different locations throughout the region.
A primary objective of RefugePoint’s deployment program is to capacitate the overall resettlement system so that the entire system is able to achieve its goal of extending resettlement to all refugees who need it, and therefore we are very pleased to be able to share in this success with UNHCR.
This quarter, we also extended our reach beyond Africa, to the Middle East and the Syrian refugee crisis. In December, our Operations Officer Johanna Babb, based in Geneva, co-facilitated UNHCR’s Resettlement Learning Program (RLP) workshop in Amman, Jordan for 23 resettlement caseworkers from across the Middle East and North Africa. The workshop was the capstone of a 3-month online training program, which Johanna helped to coordinate. As part of the process, she helped to revise the program to make it more intuitive and practical, which hopefully will allow the participants to return to their home offices and quickly begin to contribute to resettlement processing there. She also explored ways to adapt the training curriculum and materials for NGOs, which we hope to take up and pursue in 2016.