Put innovation at the heart of refugee protection work

From Global development | The Guardian Fri Jan 4 2013, 05:53:41

Putting refugees in camps isn't enough - harness their creativity and help them become self reliant and prosper

The traditional model of refugee protection is donor-state funded and prioritises keeping people alive. It is the international analogue to the domestic welfare state. This is often necessary during emergency. But all too often people get stuck in refugee camps for many years. Over 6 million of the world's refugees are in so-called protracted refugee situations, with an average length of stay of 17 years - Somalis in Kenya, Eritreans in Sudan, Sudanese in Chad, Afghans in Iran and Pakistan, and Burmese in Thailand.

The existing humanitarian paradigm can be inefficient. It could fail to make use of the best products and processes available; prove unsustainable, requiring public money to be endlessly channelled into warehousing people; and may lead to dependency, often undermining people's ability to help themselves. Instead, there may be alternative ways of doing refugee protection, which draw upon untapped resources or build upon refugees' own skills, aspirations, and entrepreneurship.

Innovation is not about novelty or invention. It is about adapting to context. It is a methodology for change, often used in the private sector but, which is, with few exceptions, neglected in humanitarian work. It can be understood as a four-stage process: problem specification, looking for potential solutions, piloting those solutions, and scaling them where appropriate.

[view whole blog post ]
 See More    |     Report Abuse

You might also be interested in the following news stories:

Afrique de l'Ouest:   Les réserves d'International Crisis Group sur la force africaine contre Boko Haram (interview)
30 November 2015

La force militaire africaine que des Etats africains, en majorité ceux du Bassin du Lac Tchad, sous le leadership du Nigéria, comptent mettre en place, verra-t-elle jour ? La question ... [read more]

Africa:   Lake Chad Recedes to 'Catastrophic' Levels (news)
Deutsche Welle
27 November 2015

Countries that share Lake Chad will be asking world leaders at the climate talks in Paris to help them transfer water from the Congo basin. The once rich lake has lost 90 percent of its water due to ... [read more]

Afrique:   COP21 - Les jeunes Tchadiens ont déjà trouvé un accord (news)
Radio France Internationale
29 November 2015

La COP21 a déjà eu lieu au Tchad, il y a une quinzaine de jours, à l'Institut français de Ndjamena. [read more]

blogAfrica is allAfrica.com's platform to help you keep an ear on the African blogosphere. We draw diverse voices from around the world who post regularly and insightfully about African issues. Bloggers, submit your blog's rss-feed!

Today's Featured News
Mozambique Ruling Party Faces Tough Contest

Renamo supporters: Ruling Frelimo faces a stern challenge at Wednesday's polls from...

Surge in Central African Republic Violence

African Union troops in Bangui (file photo): The UN has expressed alarm...

Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana Get Crucial Wins

Asamoah Gyan of Ghana (file photo): The Super Eagles have boosted their...