Self-Reliance as a New Response to the Changing Needs of Refugees

RefugePoint was pleased to co-host the panel, Systems Thinking as a Response to the Global Refugee Crisis, with New England International Donors, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, Imago Dei Fund, Fidelity Charitable, and The Boston Foundation on Thursday March 29, 2018.

The discussion was moderated by David Gergen (Senior Political Analyst, CNN), and speakers included Sasha Chanoff (Executive Director, RefugePoint), Dale Buscher (Senior Director for Programs, Women’s Refugee Commission), and Rajiv Joshi (Managing Director, The B Team), with keynote remarks from former refugee and author Sandra Uwiringiyimana (How Dare the Sun Rise, The Jimbere Fund).

Ina Breuer, the Executive Director of New England International Donors introduced Paul Grogan, the President and CEO of The Boston Foundation who welcomed the audience to The Boston Foundation’s downtown Boston space.

This group of stakeholders, from a wide variety of sectors: non-profits, philanthropy, academia, journalism, grassroots work, and the business field, examined how to mobilize collectively and promote opportunities for refugees to become self-reliant, contributing members of their host communities. Self-reliance is the social and economic ability of an individual, a household or a community to meet its essential needs in a sustainable manner.

Mr. Gergen began by introducing the concept of Systems Change and laying out the foundation for the conversation. Ms. Uwiringiyimana highlighted the necessity of self reliance in her own life by discussing her personal experience living as a refugee child and how her mother was able to support the family through a small business, when there was no humanitarian aid available.

Mr. Buscher and Mr. Chanoff discussed their respective organizations’ coalition building work through the Self-Reliance Initiative. This Initiative is a joint effort by a coalition of organizations, government agencies, foundations, research institutes and […]

By |April 5th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Self-Reliance as a New Response to the Changing Needs of Refugees

RefugePoint Geneva Representative attends Resettlement Working Group in Berlin, Germany

RefugePoint’s Director of International Programs/Geneva Representative will attend the Resettlement Working Group in Berlin, Germany from February 21-23, 2018. The event includes sessions on complementary pathways, with a focus on opportunities in Canada, which intersects with RefugePoint’s current interests in exploring how to identify refugees in Kenya for labour visas to Canada. The event includes a session about planning the content of the Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement in June, which is the single largest, most important resettlement-related event each year. This meeting presents a great opportunity for RefugePoint to build relationships with representatives from the European governments that will be in attendance.

By |February 20th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on RefugePoint Geneva Representative attends Resettlement Working Group in Berlin, Germany

RefugePoint, NEID, and The Aurora Humanitarian Prize and Initiative host Recognizing Humanitarian and Human Rights Visionaries

Leading philanthropists and social innovators gather to discuss new approaches to the humanitarian crises

On the evening of January 29, 2018, RefugePoint headquarters in Cambridge had the honor of hosting Recognizing Humanitarian and Human Rights Visionaries, sponsored by New England International Donors (NEID) and The Aurora Humanitarian Prize and Humanitarian Initiative.

With an unprecedented 65 million people displaced by war and conflict and humanitarian crises set to worsen in 2018, new humanitarian inspiration and approaches are needed. Noubar Afeyan and Ruben Vardanyan, two of the founders of The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity and the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, shared the origins and aspirations of this multi-faceted humanitarian platform, as well as the findings of the 2017 Aurora Humanitarian Index and how they are using their platform to generate greater awareness of our common humanity and the need for action. The event was moderated by RefugePoint’s Executive Director, Sasha Chanoff.

 

RefugePoint’s Sasha Chanoff moderates the conversation with Ruben Vardanyan and Noubar Afeyan.

New England International Donors (NEID) is a unique peer to peer learning community of global donors, grant-makers, social investors, corporations and foundations seeking to make a difference in the world.

RefugePoint expands lasting solutions for at-risk refugees and advances the ability of the humanitarian community to do the same. RefugePoint envisions an inclusive world where refugees are supported to rebuild their lives, reach their full potential and contribute to their communities.

By |January 31st, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on RefugePoint, NEID, and The Aurora Humanitarian Prize and Initiative host Recognizing Humanitarian and Human Rights Visionaries

RefugePoint and Partners Pilot New Self-Reliance Measurement Tool with Refugees in Jordan and Kenya

RefugePoint, in partnership with the Women’s Refugee Commission and 15 other agencies, has created and this month will begin testing a new tool for measuring the quality of life and self-reliance of refugee households. The Self-Reliance Index is expected to help shape how refugee assistance is delivered to lead to better, more sustainable outcomes for refugee families. Initial field-testing of the Self-Reliance Index will begin on January 24 in Jordan with Syrian refugees, in partnership with Mercy Corps. In February, field-testing will continue in Kenya with refugees from Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia and other countries, in partnership with the International Rescue Committee. Amy Slaughter, RefugePoint’s Chief Strategy Officer, and Kellie Leeson, the lead consultant on the project, will travel to the field to provide training and support to the pilot partners.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Mercy Corps and the International Rescue Committee on this,” said Sasha Chanoff, RefugePoint’s Executive Director. “This has been very much a collaborative effort from start to finish. We sense that there’s a hunger for just such a tool in the field. We all recognize that self-reliance for refugees is needed broadly, but there isn’t a roadmap for how to go about it.”

The Index represents an important step in the humanitarian community coalescing around common goals and accountability to common measurements. With support from the IKEA Foundation and other donors for a broader Self-Reliance Initiative, RefugePoint helped convene a community of practice that jointly developed this tool – a group that includes UNHCR, the U.S. State Department, Danish Refugee Council and Trickle Up among its 17 members. The Self-Reliance Index is the first tool for global use aimed at facilitating self-reliance for refugees in their countries of asylum.

“Refugees are […]

By |January 22nd, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on RefugePoint and Partners Pilot New Self-Reliance Measurement Tool with Refugees in Jordan and Kenya

RefugePoint, Women’s Refugee Commission, the IKEA Foundation and 12 other partner agencies developing a tool to measure and facilitate refugee self-reliance

How do we measure refugee self-reliance?
Amy Slaughter and Kellie Leeson
Although self-reliance has been promoted as a major assistance strategy for refugees in recent years, there have been limited attempts to rigorously measure it. This has practical and academic implications, as studies on refugee self-reliance use varying and often imprecise indicators, meaning it is impossible to compare the success of refugee self-reliance across contexts and strategies. Instead, most humanitarian work is measured according to specific sectoral outputs or outcomes over the course of a six-month or one-year project cycle. While self-reliance is often highlighted as a priority, few, if any, agencies are held to this goal, and this is in large part because self-reliance is not measured. Continue to read (page 5).

You can also learn more about the related work of Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) here: https://www.womensrefugeecommission.org/wellbeingindex/
Nearly two years ago we discovered that WRC and RefugePoint were working to develop similar measurement tools and decided to join forces — and invite others to join us — to create common measures for the field.
 

By |October 16th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on RefugePoint, Women’s Refugee Commission, the IKEA Foundation and 12 other partner agencies developing a tool to measure and facilitate refugee self-reliance

RefugePoint Responds to Historically Low Cap on Refugees

On Tuesday, we learned that the Trump Administration intends limit the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. to 45,000 for the 2018 fiscal year. This represents the lowest admissions goal since 1980. By comparison, the 2017 limit allowed for 110,000 refugees.

RefugePoint is profoundly disappointed that in this time of great need, with more than 22.5 million refugees worldwide, the U.S. plans to drastically reduce the number of refugees that it welcomes to the country.

“The decision to reduce the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. to 45,000 is life-threatening for many of the families that our staff are working with on the frontlines,” said Sasha Chanoff, Founder and Executive Director of RefugePoint.

Resettlement is often the best, and sometimes the only option for refugees who cannot return home and are not able to reside safely in the country to which they have fled. Drastically reducing the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. sets a dangerous precedent for other countries to become less welcoming, leaving millions of refugees in life-threatening situations.

RefugePoint and other resettlement organizations continue to strongly urge that the U.S. offer safety and protection to at least 75,000 refugees for the coming fiscal year. We believe that the U.S. must continue its role as the global leader in offering protection to refugees, and we ask that Congress and the Administration recognize the grave impacts that this decision will have on vulnerable refugees around the world, including unaccompanied children, people with severe medical needs, and survivors of torture. At this crucial time, we must step up and not back.

By |September 29th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on RefugePoint Responds to Historically Low Cap on Refugees

Unaccompanied Minors Greatly Impacted by Suspension of the U.S. Resettlement Program

Child protection is extremely important to the work and mission of RefugePoint. We currently have seven Child Protection Experts located in six countries across Africa. Children face extreme risks as refugees and are often subject to exploitation and dangerous living conditions. Additionally, unaccompanied and orphaned minors often have little or no access to education or other basic services. We recently had the opportunity to ask a RefugePoint Child Protection Expert working in Cairo, Egypt, about the impacts that the U.S. resettlement ban is having on her day-to-day work. Here, in her own words, RefugePoint’s Child Protection Expert in Cairo, Egypt, describes the impact that she is witnessing:

“I can say that the U.S. resettlement ban has and will continue to greatly affect the unaccompanied minors in Egypt. With about 1,900 unaccompanied minors, and 2,900 unaccompanied or separated children (UASC) in total, there are presently no resettlement countries accepting unaccompanied minors from Egypt (except on exceptional bases).

The U.S. was and always has been a willing recipient of unaccompanied minors, so this ban nearly completely eliminates any prospects for resettlement, which is the only durable solution for these children. I think that the impact of all of this will be something that we see the effects of for months, and possibly years to come. We will have to begin focusing more on the child protection system, and the available services here in Egypt. We also fear that the lack of resettlement options for these unaccompanied minors will lead to a drastic increase in those attempting to irregularly migrate by sea from Egypt.

As of April 2017, there were 34 unaccompanied or separated children (UASC) who were “stuck” in the resettlement process. I can confidently say that that number […]

By |September 11th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Unaccompanied Minors Greatly Impacted by Suspension of the U.S. Resettlement Program

One of the Last Unaccompanied Minors to Arrive in the U.S. Before the Travel Ban

Musa*, age 11, was among the last unaccompanied minors to arrive in the U.S. before the suspension of the U.S. refugee resettlement program, and was certainly one of the last to arrive from such a life-threatening situation.

At age 8, Musa was chased from his home in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and was separated from his parents as he escaped. Musa sought safety in Nairobi, Kenya, where he faced a life-threatening illness without access to the proper treatment. Many refugees who escape from the bullets and rubble of warfare are either injured or sick, and sometimes, appropriate medical attention is not available in the countries to which they flee.

Some, like Musa, have been separated from their parents. Thankfully, two very kind-hearted Congolese refugees cared for Musa during his time in Nairobi. Through participation in our business development training, and a small RefugePoint business grant, Musa’s caretakers were able to grow a successful business that enabled them to provide for Musa’s needs. RefugePoint also provided transportation to and from the local hospital so that the caretakers could visit Musa during his treatments. RefugePoint was actively involved in Musa’s resettlement case and in determining what was needed to ensure the highest level of care for Musa.

The U.S. Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program (URM), which has assisted over 13,000 minors since it was established in 1980, ensures that eligible unaccompanied minors, like Musa, are placed within foster families in the U.S.

RefugePoint prioritizes refugee children in all of our programs, and with child protection officers placed across Africa, we have expertise in helping unaccompanied minors and orphans like Musa.

We are thrilled that Musa will now be able to access the treatment he needs, will be able to attend school, […]

By |August 7th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on One of the Last Unaccompanied Minors to Arrive in the U.S. Before the Travel Ban

All In a Day’s (Social) Work

Integral to RefugePoint’s holistic service model in our Urban Refugee Protection Program (URPP) is our Social Work team, comprised of four Social Workers, a Program Associate, an Education Officer, a Child Protection Officer, and a Program Manager. Often, a Social Worker is one of the very first staff members that a new client will interact with. Many of these new clients have just arrived to Nairobi and don’t know where to turn for assistance.

Through food, rent, and education support, our Social Work team empowers clients to transition out of highly vulnerable circumstances like unsafe housing, survival sex, and just one meal a day, to self-sufficiency, and ultimately, self-reliance. Using a case management approach, clients are assigned an individual social worker that oversees their entire experience at RefugePoint, from intake to graduation. Working closely with our Medical team, Counselors, and Livelihoods Program, Social Workers help guide clients through the graduation model, assessing their unique and individual needs every step along the way. Whether they need assistance enrolling their children in school, a translator to access medical services, or group therapy to help develop healthy coping mechanisms, RefugePoint clients build a case plan with a Social Worker to set goals, measure progress, and create opportunities for self-reliance.

We want to share with you what a typical day in the field looks like for RefugePoint Social Workers in Nairobi, and so we recently spent the day with Caroline, a RefugePoint Social Worker who shares a first-hand account of a typical day in the field interacting with clients.

Name: Caroline
Title: Social Worker
Date: July 2017
Assignment: Food Distribution and Primary Household Bio-Data Collection
Neighborhood: Eastleigh

Today I am going to Eastleigh, a neighborhood in Nairobi, to collect information from a new client who is an […]

By |July 26th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on All In a Day’s (Social) Work

RefugePoint’s Statement regarding the Administration’s interpretation of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Executive Order 13780

There are more refugees in more life threatening situations than ever before. Conflict and persecution have forced more than 65 million people from their homes, including 22.5 million refugees who have crossed an international border.

The Supreme Court ruled on June 26th to uphold parts of President Trump’s Executive Order 13780, and suspends travel for refugees who “lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

The Trump Administration’s interpretation of “bona fide relationship” is very narrow, and does not include resettlement agencies, and organizations like RefugePoint. It also does not count grandparents, grandchildren, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, sister-in-laws and brother-in-laws, or cousins, as “bona fide relationships”.

The Administration has halted refugee resettlement to the U.S., and is limiting the entry of thousands of refugees who do not have an immediate “bona fide” family member who is already in the U.S.

This interpretation is clearly not in keeping with the Supreme Court’s decision regarding the executive order, which only stipulates that in order to be resettled, a refugee needs to have a relationship with a U.S.-based entity (which we believe should include resettlement agencies and organizations such as RefugePoint that have long-term established relationships with refugees).

The administration knows that many Americans and U.S. residents are anxiously awaiting the resettlement of their refugee aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and other family members. Banning these important and bona fide family members, or mischaracterizing them as not ‘close,’ overlooks and ignores the exceptions outlined by the Supreme Court. For the thousands of orphans and other vulnerable family members stranded in dangerous situations abroad, this guidance may isolate them from the only family they have left.

The administration’s unduly narrow definition of bona fide family is wrong […]

By |July 5th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on RefugePoint’s Statement regarding the Administration’s interpretation of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Executive Order 13780