Helping refugees get critical information about rights and services. 

In the vibrant, bustling city of San Jose, Costa Rica, about 17,000 refugees and asylum seekers find relative stability and a sympathetic legal system. But they still struggle to get critical information that can help them become self-reliant, like computer training courses or microcredit opportunities. They are not always aware of the rights and services they are entitled to.

Their situation is common, especially for urban refugees who sometimes miss out on key support because they didn’t know about it. At the same time, UNHCR and local NGOs know the information they send out does not reach every displaced person who needs assistance.

Innovation Fellow Valentina Duque’s solution was to develop an integrated communications plan—including websites, videos and text messaging systems—that could better integrate Costa Rica’s refugee population.

By supporting their access to accurate and practical information about things like the procedures to change their migratory status or how to find decent employment, she believed refugees living in San Jose could more fully take advantage of their legal and economic rights and opportunities.

And by fully engaging refugees themselves in designing and supporting the communications approach, it will meet their specific needs, and be responsive when they change.

The project is being linked to, a global website initiative to provide better information to refugees and asylum seekers, as well as other information channels such as Ascend.

If you’d like to repost this article on your website, please see our reposting policy.