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The Navigator - Being in charge of your own path

‘The Navigator’ enables UDMs to share their needs and provides them with up-to-date practical information about where to find help.

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

Undocumented Migrants (UDMs) who are relatively ‘new’ in the Netherlands struggle to find help. Organizations do help UDM’s, but these organizations are usually only active on a local level. To ensure UDMs have access to help, we want to develop ‘The Navigator’. This is a platform that enables UDMs to share their needs and provides them with up-to-date practical information about where to find help. We will use the approach Human Centered Design (HCD) to develop ‘The Navigator’. HCD is used by our 510 department. The HCD approach enhances effectiveness and efficiency, improves human well-being, user satisfaction, accessibility and sustainability; ISO 9241-210:2010(E). On the website of 510 they refer to IDEO ( The form of the platform depends on the outcomes of co-design sessions. It will help the Red Cross and other aid organisations to: - Work more efficiently; - Be aware of new/changing needs. The signals give the Red Cross and other organizations information about the UDMs’ needs, so that they can optimize and improve their assistance to UDM’s; - Lead better informed the discussion on humanitarian needs with local and national authorities.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

The Netherlands (whole country). Note: Within the Red Cross movement, we share information about the migrant routes in Europe, to better assist the migrants in their needs. In particular we share information about the needs of undocumented migrants with the Spanish, French and Belgium Red Cross, therefore the impact can be transnational.

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)

With ‘The Navigator’, we aim to create a nationwide platform shaped by UDMs, enabling them to meet all their basic needs, to access the services they are entitled to and to create a network by themselves. By this way, UDMs become less dependent on other people or organizations and will be in in charge of their own path.

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

‘The Navigator’ solves the need for practical up-to-date information. It will help UDM’s to: - Find help more easily. Finding access to shelter will be prioritized, as to provide a stable environment from where UDMs can think and make plans for the future; - Gain access to healthcare; - Get legal information about their situation; - Stay safe from exploitation and criminal networks; - Create a peer to peer network. ‘The Navigator’ will connect UDM’s, and support them to create a network; - Become less dependent on other people or organizations. They will be in in charge of their own path.

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

By ‘The Navigator’ UDMs will have the possibility to inform themselves about the help they need or the legal system. UDMs become less dependent on other people or organizations. Where UDMs now can be lost and alone, UDMs will have something to connect with, they can trust and rely on. By ‘The Navigator’ they can connect with other people or organizations. And they have the ability to create their own network and stay safe from exploitation and criminal networks. Access to knowledge and information ('The Navigator') will make UDMs less vulnerable. It is a way to empower a community.

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

- Working together with a vulnerable group, listen to them and involving them instead of talking about them; - Empower UDMs by using their talents and skills; - Giving UDMs the option to be (more) independent. Put them in charge of their own path; - Giving trust and something to hold on; - Cooperation between organizations, sharing information and knowledge.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

In the Netherlands, at least 35.000 migrants reside without a legal status. UDMs have limited access to basic services. Their harsh conditions, struggle for survival, lack of agency, and uncertainty about the future are detrimental to their mental and physical health. Most live out of sight of the public, roaming the streets, squatting or subletting temporarily. Only a few have access to a municipal night shelter. Many of them have been in Aliens detention at least once, but are unable to (be) return(ed) to their country of origin. They remain in a legal limbo. The Netherlands Red Cross has several projects aimed at improving UDMs’ capacity to better protect their health and to find help. As they are struggling to survive, they lack the tools and conditions to take back control over their lives.

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

By using the approach Human Centered Design (HCD) to develop ‘The Navigator’, it becomes tailored to the target audience, the UDMs. The form of the platform depends on the outcomes of co-design sessions, we empower UDMs and create co-ownership for ‘The Navigator’. The HCD approach is a proven environment for success. In the last 6 months we organized co-design sessions with 20 UDMs, they prioritized these needs : 1. Practical information: “We are not sure where we can get help, and what kind of help.” 2. Talents & skills: “We did beautiful things before we got into this situation, we want to be able to use our talents and skills again.” 3. Psychological support: “We need networks [..] good people and people with a similar experience.” We will use the outcomes in combination with the co-ownership to build ‘The Navigator’. Our 510 department have start with HCD pilot projects all over the world to create a information platform (

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

Partners and stakeholders will be involved in the development phase. We involve them, because we want to connect, build and work together. The relevant partners that will be involved are governmental and non-governmental organisations that offer help to UDMs. The different partners will be involved according to their role and impact on UDMs reality; either contextual (eg. policy-making), knowledge and activity in the topic (eg. CSOs) or communities representatives in which the UDMs live. First we want to approach organisations with who we closely work together with (from 2015 on), like the National support ODM, Salvation Army, ROS (Rotterdam), Docters of the World (Amsterdam), World House (Amsterdam), ASKV (Amsterdam) and INLIA (Groningen). We involve them and ask them to involve organisations they work closely together with. In this way we want to spread the ownership and create participation.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Arriving and settling at a destination community

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

  • Channel: A new way to deliver existing products or services to customers or end users

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Blueprint: We are exploring the idea and gathering the inspiration and information we need to test it with real users.

Group or Organization Name

The Netherlands Red Cross

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

The Red Cross is an organisation helps to strengthen resilience of vulnerable people exposed to hazards and crisis situations and we respond to disasters and conflicts to save lives and alleviate suffering. In the Netherlands with more than thirty thousand volunteers and internationally through technical assistance, supplies and financial support. We do this without regards to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinion. Our seven principles guide our humanitarian work: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality.

Website URL:

Type of submitter

  • We are a registered Non-Profit Organization

Organization Headquarters: Country

The Netherlands

Organization Headquarters: City / State

The Hague

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Photo of Anne van Berkel

Dear Bremley, thank you for your response and feedback. I took a look at the Migration Lab Program. Seems a great project! To check if I understand you correctly, do you mean that I should add 'doing research about existing platforms that support migrants' to the project idea?

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