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UNHCR-NGO Toolkit for Practical Cooperation on Resettlement. Community Outreach - Outreach to Refugee Communities: Definitions and FAQs

Resettlement, June 2011

a) What types of outreach activities can UNHCR and NGOs jointly engage in?

NGOs may assist with or lead information campaigns to make refugees aware of programmes and policies that affect them. Such campaigns might include: community meetings, door‐to‐door visits, meetings with community members and leaders, messaging through flyers, posters or billboards, or arts and cultural events.

NGOs can assist with the exchange of information between refugees and UNHCR, relaying news and concerns or issues that will assist UNHCR in its work with States to provide effective protection for refugees and to inform the development of policies and programmes.

Oftentimes, NGOs have close contact with refugee communities, which enables them to be the "eyes and ears" in many situations to bring to light at‐risk refugees in need of interventions including resettlement. In this way, NGOs play an important role in expanding access to resettlement.

b) What are the key elements / considerations when conducting outreach activities?

It is important that NGOs and UNHCR coordinate the outreach messaging carefully, to ensure a consistent message. NGOs and UNHCR should do joint contingency planning prior to commencing a major information or sensitization campaign, to anticipate any potential problems and plan how to mitigate / address them. Where possible, refugees and other key stakeholders should be involved in the planning process and the development and implementation of information sharing activities. It is important that there be established feedback mechanisms in place for information from the community to flow back to NGOs and UNHCR.

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