While efforts to incorporate refugee voices into humanitarian protection practices continue to gain momentum, meaningful consultation of refugees in sponsorship program operations remains limited. And there is little reflection on opportunities for improvement.
Consultation with sponsored refugees on their experiences can help identify areas for improvement and inform how to do so. Involving refugees in the creation of key program elements, such as predeparture orientation or postarrival training, can help mitigate the risk of cultural shock. Engaging previously sponsored refugees as mentors for newcomers or as trainers of volunteer sponsors can help bridge cultural gaps, improve integration outcomes, and bolster volunteer efforts. Promoting refugee engagement in advocacy can also help raise awareness about the value and scale of the sponsorship pathway.
In this webinar, speakers examined the challenges that hinder refugee participation in sponsorship program design and operation and explore meaningful ways, tools, and mechanisms for effectively expanding refugees’ role in current and future programs. The conversation showcased innovative initiatives that are already making strides in refugee involvement.
This webinar was convened under the Building Capacity for Private Sponsorship in the European Union project (known as CAPS-EU), which is working to build capacity to design, implement, sustain, and scale up community sponsorship programs for refugees. Led by the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) and supported by the Belgian reception agency (Fedasil) and MPI Europe, the project is co-financed by the European Commission under the Asylum, Migration, and Integration Fund.