Resettlement, June 2011
a) What do we mean by training and learning?
By "training and learning," we are referring to organized activities intended to promote staff knowledge and understanding to more effectively carry out the mission (in this case, resettlement as a durable solution and tool of protection) of UNHCR and its partners.
b) Why should UNHCR and NGOs work together on these activities?
Resettlement is a highly effective tool of protection and durable solution for refugees, and may be applied strategically to have a positive impact not only on the refugees resettled, but also to complement local integration, repatriation and protection efforts. UNHCR has an essential role to play in leading and coordinating resettlement efforts. NGOs – as UNHCR's partners with close day-to-day contact with refugees – can play a critical role in identifying refugees with resettlement needs. That said, if UNHCR and NGO staff are not properly trained and on the same page, well-intentioned resettlement efforts can create significant problems for refugee and host communities, UNHCR and NGOs, and cause substantial setbacks for local integration and repatriation efforts. Consequently, joint trainings of UNHCR and NGO field staff on resettlement are important.
c) In what ways can UNHCR and NGOs collaborate on these activities?
Past experience has shown that UNHCR international, regional, and national training workshops and conferences on resettlement-related topics can benefit from the involvement of NGO partner staff as presenters as well as participants. Similarly, NGO and resettlement government trainings on resettlement can benefit from UNHCR in designing and conducting resettlement trainings, and by involving UNHCR staff to present and participate in such trainings. The effectiveness of such trainings has been further enhanced by engaging UNHCR and NGO participants in joint field exercises, such as participatory assessments, registrations and registration verifications, completion of Resettlement Registration Forms (RRFs), and the Heightened Risk Identification Tool (HRIT).
d) What are the key elements / considerations of such activities?
Three major considerations of joint resettlement trainings and learning activities are cost, relevance, and follow-up.
Due to cost and other considerations, stand-alone resettlement trainings may not always be possible or desirable, in which case resettlement trainings can benefit from existing training programmes (e.g. the UNHCR Resettlement Learning Programme) or broader training on protection-related issues (e.g. the UNHCR Protection Learning Programme) or durable solutions. Furthermore, not only are joint NGO-UNHCR trainings desirable to get UNHCR and NGO partners on the same page, but joint trainings – even if not fully overlapping – may often be more cost-effective than separate training sessions. Finally, due to cost considerations and staff turnover / rotations, it will be important to utilize training materials that will help empower and enable the participants to become trainers themselves upon return to their respective operations.
In terms of relevance, it is useful for trainings to provide the context of resettlement by covering broader subject matter than the particularized tasks of UNHCR and NGO participants. At the same time, joint trainings should address the division of labour among the UNHCR and NGO sectors, and may separate participants for particularly technical aspects which are relevant to the work of one sector but not the other. Joint field exercises incorporated into the training – such as refugee registration and registration verification, participatory assessments, completion of Resettlement Registration Forms (RRFs), and the Heightened Risk Identification Tool (HRIT) – have proven to be particularly effective tools for participants to internalize and activate passive knowledge acquired during resettlement trainings, and to build trust and working relationships among NGO and UNHCR personnel.
At the Headquarters, regional and local level, UNHCR and partner NGOs should take steps to monitor and support the field application of knowledge gained from the trainings conducted, and incorporate feedback to improve future trainings.