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Kevin commented on RAICES Global Sanctuary Network

Dear Lily Cabrera  and the RAICES team,

Congratulations for your wonderful work in Texas and for this courageous initiative. For your expansion into Mexico, I would encourage you to get registered as a foreign non-profit in the country as soon as possible. I would also make sure you have strong local legal counsel in Mexico, both to assist you in registration and to help you navigate future issues of authorizations, employment law, taxation, etc.. This is particularly important if you're going to be employing staff in Mexico, but also for signing leases, contracting services, etc.. As for vetting your RSGN partners, I would focus on triangulating information with all of the reputable agencies who are already working on both sides of the border - including faith-based agencies - many of whom you probably already know from your work in Texas. I would also suggest some common written commitment to safeguarding/transparency/professional ethics/non-prostelytizing, etc., as well as some training/orientation of their staff/volunteers, that you could ask all of your members to sign on to, particularly any who work with unaccompanied minors. As for figuring out who is being served by other NGOs, there will hopefully evolve some coordination mechanism and data base against which you can check names, as in large refugee situations. Normally some UN agency organizes this but otherwise it can be done by a group of NGOs, since everyone has the same challenge to avoid duplication. At any rate, good luck!

Dear Chao,

Congratulations for a very impressive initiative. I'm afraid I lack the expertise to respond to your first and third questions, but I do have some insight on the second question and also some general comments/questions to consider as you refine this presentation. Most importantly it was not completely clear from this narrative what the current request for funding was for, i.e., what the scaling-up of this model would consist of (testing new technology? expanding into new countries? new sorts of activities? first-time micro-finance?). I read this over twice but was still confused as to what - of what was being described - already existed, and what was being proposed. It was also not clear whether Migration Lab aimed to produce technology to be made available to the development and humanitarian community, or aimed to establish it's own service provision programs, or both. Most confusing is the reference to very non-financial objectives of peace-building, social cohesion, resolution of land issues, inter-cultural communication; it is not at all clear how any of this would result from a financial inclusion technology. I know that space is limited in this format but it would be very helpful to clarify these issues. On the second question above, I would say that my experience is that the use of micro-finance or self-help groups to acheive other ends (other than as a source of financial support to their members) requires a great deal of accompaniement and generally doesn't work unless there is an existing strong collective desire to engage in some issue on the part of group members. At any rate, I think the objective of financial inclusion is a hugely admirable one and I'm sure that your work will continue to further it. Good luck!

Dear Simon and Citizen Fund team members,

I want to congratulate you for this wonderful effort. In response to your questions: In order to promote this idea I think you should focus on presenting a clear explanation and examples of what the money would be used for and how it would be distributed. The presentation above is overwhelmingly focused on whom the money would come from - which is interesting to me as a reviewer but not compelling to potential donors. Note that I didn't come away from reading this (twice) with any real idea of how raised funds would be used, other than a very brief reference to jhumanitarian and social projects. I would recommend that you focus on providing more concrete examples of such projects, the agencies that would carry them out, and your process for awarding and accounting for grants. This sort of information, coupled with your explanation of the benefits of including diaspora Venezuelans in the process, could make for a very appealing program. Good luck!