AAT will identify survivors of torture, domestic abuse and sexual gender-based violence, etc. and according to the severity of their psychological trauma, refer them to partner health organizations in our network. Through initial interactions with clients, our staff is trained to independently determine the nature of our clients’ mental well-being. Our partners then have the capacity and expertise to further evaluate refugees’ mental health needs and provide the appropriate services. We’re committed to protecting our clients well-being by providing them with the tools to overcome the psychological trauma that they fled and ensuring they have all the resources they need to lead meaningful, empowered lives.
4) How have you incorporated...
AATZ has been operating in Tanzania since 2010, working to make refugee rights a reality for the estimated 296,000 asylum-seekers and refugees living in Tanzania. AATZ has a history of success in addressing violations of refugees’ human rights. In our 7 years of operation, through focus groups and client feedback surveys, refugees have expressed a strong desire to work and build self-resiliency for themselves and their families. Our Community Legal Empowerment workshops offer refugee groups a safe space to openly discuss their needs with AATZ and overcome trauma. Through this programming we have learned that these spaces are critical for our refugee clients to find community support and process their trauma.
Further, we have a robust online database that tracks both quantitative and qualitative data on our clients and is regularly analyzed to adjust strategies as needed. Each of our legal empowerment sessions dedicates time to collect feedback on program design and satisfaction -- which is then regularly incorporated into our programming and allows us to make changes to the program design as needed.
5) What are your learnings...
Our clients in Tanzania, Mexico, Ecuador, Thailand and Malaysia have all expressed that the right to work is critical to their capacity to rebuild their lives and provide for their families. When you can work, you have the agency to make choices about your own life. In Ecuador, we’ve seen our livelihoods program and legal empowerment services literally shift the paradigm for refugee response in the country. Through constitutional amendments and an improved refugee landscape in Ecuador, we’ve been able to develop a model tailor-fitted to each of our countries of operation that ensures refugees can access the legal services they need to empower each other, overcome their trauma, and effectively integrate into their country of refuge.
However, we also recognize the tumultuous journeys that our clients experience, especially those arriving Tanzania. Therefore, without adequate healthcare to remedy the underlying mental health problems, the right to work is insufficient in empowering refugee communities. We believe the right to work and mental health solutions are interconnected in their ability to help refugees thrive in their new home countries.
OpenIDEO : Thanks for your points of feedback! I've attempted to clarify our ideas below:
1) Can you clarify: ...
Our main goal with this project is to ensure refugees in Tanzania receive adequate psychosocial support to address underlying mental health needs caused by intense violence and trauma that they’ve experienced. Furthermore, through the Refugee Roadmap program, we aim to support refugees’ local integration from all angles. This entails empowering refugees to navigate the complex Refugee Status Determination (RSD) process which opens up access to external healthcare services, education, and even, economic integration into society.
Our clients in Tanzania (and elsewhere) have told us that the right to work is critical to improving their capacity to rebuild their lives and provide for their families. When you can work, you have the agency to make choices about your own life. However, we recognize that the tumultuous journeys our clients have experienced to get to Tanzania have lasting effects that permeate all aspects of reintegration and resilience. Therefore, without adequate healthcare to remedy the underlying mental health concerns, the right to work is insufficient in empowering refugee communities. We believe the right to work and mental health solutions are interconnected in their ability to help refugees thrive in their new home countries.
Through the Refugee Roadmap, we aim to bring partners together in a network which unites the realms of healthcare and employment to tackle the challenges refugees face from all angles. Through training and information sharing, this network equips refugee employers with the knowledge to identify the appropriate health needs of their refugee employees, and be equipped to refer them to the appropriate health services upon refugees’ self-identification. The Refugee Roadmap network ensures that refugees not only have access to work, but a sustainable suite of health resources in their community to enable a sustained upward career trajectory.
2) Have you considered...
Though not comprehensive, existing laws in Tanzania allow some refugees to access work permits and find employment outside of camps. Asylum Access Tanzania has proven experience working in Tanzania and engaging with the government to transform the legal landscape for refugees. This is evidenced by AATZ's numerous legal and advocacy successes in the country - one of which created a channel for the Tanzanian government to begin issuing work permits for refugees. AATZ also pioneered the new use of an alternate legal status (a so-called “peasant permit”) in Tanzania, which granted legal status and freedom of movement for over 100 Congolese refugees in less than a year.
While the Tanzanian government is a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention which recognizes the rights to free mobility and employment, in practice, the government effectively bars refugees from leaving the refugee camps and integrating into society. To have any hope of integration, refugees must navigate the complex Refugee Status Determination (RSD) process, which allows refugees to access informal protection from arrest and detention, humanitarian assistance from UNHCR (The UN’s High Commission on Refugee’s) and NGOs, and in turn, build new lives. However, the process is not easily accessible for those residing in camps. Accessing this legal process and obtaining legal status is vital for refugees to apply for a work permit and build a new life outside of refugee camps.
Asylum Access recognizes many refugees are unable to navigate the complex legal status process alone, so we offer legal empowerment services -- through both one-on-one legal advice sessions and community empowerment workshops -- to fill this protection gap. Once that right is fulfilled, we then support our clients in applying for a work permit. For example, one of our clients, Suzanne, a Congolese refugee, received assistance to obtain refugee status and then to obtain a work permit from the Tanzanian government. This legal assistance meant she longer had to restrict her life and work to a camp. Today, she runs a restaurant in the capital city of Dar es Salaam and continues to attend livelihood workshops organized by Asylum Access. Our assistance helped Suzanne feed her family and plan a future for herself as a successful businesswoman.
We are still currently in the outreach stage so it is too soon to disclose names of our potential partners. We seek to create a network of partners from the private sector, local government actors, healthcare providers and regional stakeholders:
-Private Sector: Schools, dispensaries, pharmacies, owners of Salon, tailoring business, decoration business, catering business, hotels, carpentry and masonry businesses, shops, radio stations, band owners, dance groups, NGOs, community based organizations, land lords, land owners, transportation businesses, skills and entrepreneurship centers and micro-lending institutions
-Local Government Actors: District, Ward, and Village/Street Chairperson and Executive Officers Land Officers Labor Officers Social Welfare Officers Government schools and hospitals
-Health care providers: Government and private hospitals/dispensaries and clinics.
- Regional Stakeholders (for sharing best practices) Government officials, NGO partners and refugee business owners from neighboring countries, like Uganda, that allow refugees to work.
One of our key learning to date is regarding misconceptions among the general public about refugee employment. Employers we hope to partner with initially expressed worry that employing refugees would get them in trouble with the Tanzanian government. The majority of employers we have sought partnership with were not aware that work permits for refugees are free. Our team is discussing ways to conduct an awareness campaign for local employers so that this knowledge becomes widespread.