World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day

June 20th, 20223 min read


Embracing RLOs

As defined by UNHCR, Refugee-Led Organizations (RLOs) are organizations whose establishment and leadership are entirely refugees or refugees occupy more than half of the positions of leadership and decision making. The organizations can be Women-led, youth-led, community-based or organizations of persons with disabilities that are inclusive of refugees. RLOs’ mandate include but not limited to provision of advocacy, protection or/and assistance to refugees and/or host communities. Refugee-led organizations can be; Formal or informal which may or may not be registered officially or have legal recognition in the host country. The extent of organizational development and structure of RLOs varies as does their decision making process and access to funding. In Kenya, many of the RLOs offer support to the host community and also engage in activities that promote social cohesion and integration of refugees and asylum seekers.

World Refugee Day 2022

This year’s celebration is themed on:

“Whoever. Wherever. Whenever. Everyone has the right to seek safety.”

It is a clarion call that every person on this planet has right to seek safety, whoever they are, wherever they come from and whenever that are forced to flee. At the center of right to safety for refugees and asylum seekers is the integration framework in existence at the host country; and RLOs come in handy in this respect. They act as the “Voice of Refugees” in public space and first point of contact for displaced persons and asylum seekers; therefore, they are well placed to provide lifesaving information concerning the services available to them and their rights.

The journey of refugees and asylum seekers is dangerous making them highly vulnerable to physical violence, sexual exploitation, exposure to diseases, discriminations and extortions.

What needs to be done?

The current response by governments, humanitarian agencies and actors is inadequate and this calls for other innovative strategies to supplement the existing safety framework. One of the ways is to strengthen the role and expand the scope of RLOs to help in scaling up response efforts, implementation of the innovative solutions as well as strengthening the mechanisms of protection. The entry point to supporting RLOs is for government to streamline the registration processes and procedures as well as implementation of the Refugees Act 2022. On the humanitarian actors’ side, they should put more emphasis on strengthening the systems and structures of the RLOs. For RLOs sustainability, organizational development interventions are the focus frontier for stakeholders in the refugee ecosystem. Refugees and asylum seekers are better served by fellow refugees through RLOs.

Thank you for visiting

Article by:

Ben Yano - Organizational Development Advisor; L’AFRIKANA CBO