Community-based Protection in Malaysia

Current UNHCR, NGO and community resources

Key CBP activities in Quarter 1, 2017.


Promote refugee participation and self-management in all aspects of the work, ensuring active participation in the dissemination of information, prioritisation of needs, and in the design and implementation of community protection programmes.


Work in partnership with refugee communities and the civil society to ensure services and referral pathways from the refugee community are strengthened and expanded.


Work in partnership with the refugee community and civil society to strengthen the community based protection approaches.


"From the community, by the community"

As part of the strategies to increase awareness and knowledge on sexual and reproductive health (SRH), the Health Unit together with a multi-functional team, is building up the capacity of community focal points to serve as information hubs and linkages to SRH services. Equipped with relevant knowledge and skills, community members can then be the agent of change to cascade down the information to other community members. This helps to create a sense of belonging for the project to ensure long-term sustainability.

Livelihoods community engagement

UNHCR’s Livelihood’s unit engaged with 12 refugee community groups to plan and design projects to address Livelihoods constraints experienced by the communities. Proposals were received from refugee communities to seek support for Community Centres, English Classes and enhancing Vocational Skills. Additional training was provided on Livelihoods Profiling and Database Management to facilitate self-sufficiency within refugee communities.

'Safe from Start' GBV project

The Safe from Start project aims to increase awareness and capacitate refugee communities to prevent and respond to SGBV and strengthen community referral pathways. UNHCR is building on the best practices of the project in 2015 and 2016 and working on expanding it to the Rohingya community. 50 individuals from refugee communities trained on SGBV prevention and response.

Children Protection Working Group

The Children Protection Working Group members are undertaking awareness raising and capacity building activities with 5 community based committees to encourage children’s participation and strengthen referral pathways within communities.

UNHCR and child protection

  • Exploring partnerships to establish and strengthen community based foster care among refugees
  • Enchancing the quality of care provided by refugee communities and mitigating protection risks faced by at-risk children.
  • Sensitization issues to be carried out with partners on prevention and response to child protection issues.

Fame Festival, 4-5 March

A two day successful food and arts festival organised by a group of Middle Eastern refugees to their culture and heritage.

Volunteers were engaged by UNHCR to document success stories in the community, such as the creation of a small entrepreneurship group called Lady Ayaz Sewing Group (Pakistani-Ahmadi), as well as Afghan Sewing and a Catering Project.


External Partner Referrals 

  • The Partner Referral Network allows organizations who are actively engaged with refugee communities to identify individuals in need of expedited protection intervention and assistance.
  • From January to March 2017, external partners referred 210 cases, consisting of 530 individuals, to UNHCR.

UNHCR's Community Liaison Unit

There are 267 volunteer community focal points in 10 states in Malaysia. UNHCR's Community Liaison Unit  is working with volunteer focal points from refugee communities nationwide.

Community focal points will be provided with information packs on UNHCR/community services, and in the future will receive access to other forms of UNHCR multimedia information sources for refugees in Malaysia.

These focal points will enable greater access to support services for members of their communities, and allow the communities to engage with UNHCR.


UNHCR's Education Department, 30 partners and 128 community learning centres are working together to provide access to 7,154 children, and to provide safe spaces for all layers of the refugee community. Learning cenrtre will engage with different local stakeholders, including parents and community members, to tap into community resources and develop sustainable support networks.


To increase access to Health, UNHCR's Health Unit negotiated a medical insurance scheme, REMEDI (Refugee Medical Insurance), to provide inpatient health coverage at a minimal financial cost for refugees and asylum seekers.

The insurance scheme is further complimented by a relationshop with QUALITAS (a private health care provider with 69 clinics nationally), that ensure walk in access and reduced fixed price medical coverage for outpatient care.


External Stakeholders

  • UNHCR's Livelihood's department engaged with 3 retail stakeholders and a team of volunteers to support refugee entrepreneurship groups.
  • Stakeholders will assist with the production, sales and marketing of refugee entrepreneurial products.

Stakeholder Coordination Meeting

A coordination meeting was held between UNHCR and 25 individuals from 18 external stakeholders to discuss current UNHCR case processing. This consultation, held in partnership with the Malaysian Bar Council Migrants, Refugees and Immigration Affairs Committee on the 20th February, served as a forum in which to exchange ideas related to Community Based Protection.

Updates were also provided on the referral network and future Community Based Protection strategies were discussed.

18 Partners Network Meeting

  • Perak Women Association and Rohingya Society Malaysia to work jointly on a woman and children empowerment program.
  • Soka Gakkai Malaysia to work with Rohingya women in Klang district to enhance their life skills.
  • Interest from additional stakeholders to collaborate on community based activities.
  • Pitching session to support CBOs.
  • Discussion on cross-cultural communication and good practices.
  • Completing Livelihoods Sector Service Mapping.

External Partner Referrals Training

Since January 2017, UNHCR has facilitated 2 training sessions on the referral network for 9 new external partners.

This training provides external parties with the ability to identify individuals with heightened protection needs who can be referred for expedited access to UNHCR services.