TFMI Project Spawns Refugee Rights Leadership Training
As part of a TFMI Spin-Off Project coordinated by TFMI fellows Sara Feldman and Karoline Popp together with Asylum Access, refugee rights advocates from 14 countries came together in Geneva from June 29th to July 1st to build practical skills, gain insights, and share best practices. Coming from organizations representing and serving refugees in Thailand, Ecuador, Tanzania, Hong Kong, Egypt, Kenya, Romania, Israel, Costa Rica, Iran, South Africa, Korea, the United States, and Switzerland, the 30 participants built connections across countries and learned from the diverse experiences represented within the group. Workshop sessions covered topics such as securing a client’s right to legal representation, outreach to particularly vulnerable refugee groups, policy advocacy strategies, and country specific case studies such as Korea’s new refugee law and Iran’s challenging advocacy environment.
In addition to formal workshops, the training included an “unconference” session, in which participants were able to choose topics of particular interest and explore them with each other, benefitting from the diversity of country contexts and organizational experiences. At the end of the training, participants shared that they had gained practical tools and strategies they would take back home with them to use in their work. Many expressed that the training had provided a refreshing opportunity to step back from their demanding and often stressful jobs and reflect on the larger issues underlying their work. Since the training took place during the days leading up to the annual consultation held by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees with their non-governmental partners, participants were able to use the connections they made at the leadership training to strengthen their efforts at the upcoming consultation. The leadership training also led to some practical initiatives, including a commitment by the participants to continue to share best practices and tools going forward.