Violent crises and ongoing persecution around the world have forced well over 100 million people to flee their homes. For refugees who cannot return home or reside safely in the country to which they have fled, resettlement is often the best long-term solution. Resettlement involves permanently relocating refugees to a safe country where they can rebuild their lives.
As the number of refugees grows, so too does the need for skilled caseworkers who can support refugees to access resettlement. This casework requires a special combination of technical training and experience working with refugees in countries of asylum. However, many motivated and talented individuals don’t have the specific training required to do this work, and there are limited opportunities to gain this experience.
In order to bridge this gap, in September RefugePoint launched the Pilot Traineeship Program as part of its collaboration with UNHCR to deploy experts in refugee resettlement around the world. This first-of-its-kind initiative provides the unique blend of technical skills and on-the-ground experience necessary to become a resettlement caseworker.
Our inaugural cohort of trainees is currently at RefugePoint’s Nairobi office, where they are undergoing three weeks of intensive training before traveling to UNHCR offices across Africa to gain additional casework experience. The intensive training sessions include a one-week classroom portion with technical and theoretical training from both RefugePoint and UNHCR and two weeks of guided field experience conducting interviews and processing resettlement casework.
These individuals have extensive professional experience in the sphere of migration/refugee issues. They have studied these topics, supported refugees and asylees in their home countries, and/or provided legal support at different stages of the resettlement/asylum process. Each of our Trainees developed an interest in translating their skills to working internationally with refugees, assisting them at an earlier stage of their pursuit of safety.
Working with refugees who are seeking resettlement requires both practical and theoretical knowledge about the refugee resettlement process from a different angle than they’ve worked in before. RefugePoint’s thorough three-week orientation gives our Trainees a chance to learn the specific processes and skills they need to work at a UNHCR Operation to interview refugees and submit applications for resettlement. It helps them bridge the gap between their wealth of previous experience and the unique demands of working as a Resettlement Expert.
The Pilot Traineeship Program will build the ecosystem of humanitarians working to support refugees. There is a wealth of passionate and experienced individuals who can provide a unique and diverse set of skills to the resettlement field.
Further, this program can be an opportunity to train people with lived displacement experience: people who have an intimate understanding of what it means to navigate the stressful process of fleeing everything they know and attempting to start again in safety. RefugePoint is committed to actively recruiting interested individuals who have lived experience.
We’re thrilled that the program will prepare a new wave of qualified resettlement professionals for the field as a whole, enabling our community to support more refugees to access resettlement as a lifesaving and long-term solution. By providing an entry point for interested and capable humanitarians willing to work on the frontlines of the global refugee crisis, the Pilot Traineeship Program gives RefugePoint the chance to fulfill a pillar of our mission: supporting the humanitarian community to advance lasting solutions for refugees.