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Co-empowering: from victim to solution

Refugees supported to lead local solutions in their host community via local and remote coaching

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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

Refugees are forced to flee from their homes and usually find themselves in intermediary countries like Indonesia where they apply to UNHCR for validation of their refugee status and then apply and wait for resettlement. During this waiting period refugee communities have little rights and are disempowered from reaching their goals and establishing a new life. This disempowerment leads to a loss of hope and can add to the trauma already experienced in becoming a refugee. This often leads to refugees feeling victim to their circumstances and unable to reach their dreams of a new home. This in turn can have a significant impact on wellbeing, employability and motivation that get worse over time. Traditionally services have focussed on short term and limited material aid. They often place refugees at the mercy of these services and therefore dependent on them. We find that this leads to a general loss of life skills which become a significant disadvantage to resettlement and mental wellbeing in the long term. In this context some individuals including people involved in co-design of this proposal, step into the leadership role and aim to support members of refugee communities to maintain and build bridges with local communities. When refugees are supported to lead initiatives to respond to local needs, the morale and resilience of the whole of community grows. The key is the establishment of situations where refugees can: - develop coping mechanism and take responsibility for their wellbeing - create a network that supports a positive and solution focussed attitude - feel empowered to make a positive difference in their life and community - engage with the host community around common needs. Further to this, it is critical that services take the role of coach rather than provider so that responsibility is shared with community and they are empowered to act.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

This project will target refugee communities in Jakarta and Cisarua, Indonesia. Refugees in Indonesia do not have work rights, access to education, material assistance or any residency rights. They face long waiting periods for assessment of refugee status with UNHCR and even longer waiting periods for resettlement. Living well within the local community needs cooperation and creativity and is vital for retaining hope and dignity for the future.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

People on the move are not encouraged to intermix. This is fuelled by lack of legal status of refugees, poor awareness about refugees within host communities, bias media coverage and politics that encourage fear of the other. We believe that refugees and some members of developing communities share similar needs. We believe that by joining together in diagnosing and addressing local needs communities can bridge conflict and misunderstanding and create positive social change.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

Through building connection with local communities and access to coach and mentors this idea will enable refugee led initiatives with limited resources to build their social capital and connect with local communities. The human connection and interaction with broader community will respond to the human needs of hope and dignity. The opportunities to build bridges with local community and co-design activities that engage local communities and refugee communities this idea will provide a platform for experiencing joy.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

This idea will sustain and further develop the leadership capabilities of refugee led initiatives. It will also focus on succession and sustainability of the efforts of individuals leading and shaping initiatives that directly contribute to the well-being of the refugee communities. The idea will build links with the local community and shape broader engagement with the communities refugee initiatives take place within. The formal and informal activities covered through this idea will benefit both refugee communities and local communities. The stories and narratives of engagement and friendships formed through the implementation of this idea will shape the learning of the impact and assessment of the positive change created over the course of the proposed project.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

The strength and motivation of leaders from refugee communities in supporting the advancement of refugee communities despite the challenges individual face in their journey and the need to sustain this leadership capability has been the inspiration behind this idea. The good will within the local community and the importance of strengthening the relationships and fostering positive outcomes for all involved has been another inspiration factor in shaping this idea. The opportunity to co-design and co-empower with the refugee led initiatives and local communities is the foundation this idea is formed upon.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

We have established partnerships with refugee and local organisations that would be critical to this project. We have been working with these partners in Indonesia for 12 months and have been seeking to co-design the right approach and to learn about their work. Refugee led organisations include HELP For Refugees in Jakarta and several learning centres in Cisarua. We also work with RAIC Indonesia on health related projects, with Sisterhood on projects for women and with Beyond the Fabric who provide access to skills and income. We have worked closely with other refugee education centres including Roshan Learning Centre. We have a formal partnership with SUAKA which is an Indonesian organisation providing legal assistance to refugees in Indonesia. Through these partners we have access to a network of other local actors that can assist with the project.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Being on the move, crossing borders, and/or temporarily settled

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Service: A new or enhanced service that creates value for end beneficiaries

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Early Adoption: We have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the intended users of the idea. I have proof of user uptake (i.e. 16% to 49% of the target population or 1,000 to 50,000 users).

Group or Organization Name

HOST International Ltd

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

HOST strives to improve the lives of people impacted by forced displacement as they seek a new and better life. We do this by providing practical care, strengths-based support and skills development that bring hope and dignity to individuals and communities. Simultaneously, HOST recognises the shared needs of host communities and works to develop the capacity of these communities by developing practical skills and addressing local barriers to integration. Our approach is embedded in strong, respectful and compassionate relationships as well as a commitment to co-designed solutions. Our vision is that communities are thriving, harmonious and empowered to implement their own solutions. This involves physical, social, cultural, economic and psychological integration of displaced people as well as community activation. We strive for host communities and displaced people to live and work together productively and harmoniously and to design solutions to their own needs.

Website URL:

Type of submitter

  • We are a registered Non-Profit Organization

Organization Headquarters: Country


Organization Headquarters: City / State

Sydney, NSW


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