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This is your expert and here are my responses to your three questions.
Question 1. Volunteers are key bridgebuilders between people on the move and host communities. How might we create a system of recruitment, retention & management of our volunteers?
You are right in that volunteers are an important resource in any program, for a variety of reasons. Research (in health and education sectors) suggests that people like to volunteer towards a cause if (1) they feel a sense of personal connection with the cause; (2) feel like they can make a difference to enhance the life of another person/s; and (3) the opportunity provides them an opportunity to grow, either in terms of a career, social status or economically. You also need to provide volunteers on-going supervision, feedback (to them and from them) and training opportunities. Provide them ample chances to shape the program as well. So you can reflect on how this translates to your situation. While you may not be compensating them financially, you have to enable them to see all the other benefits - for themselves and for others due to their efforts.

Question 2. Besides face-to-face community outreach in refugee & immigrant communities, how might we best utilize partnerships and digital platforms to scale our reach and impact?
In terms of widening your reach, while you are focusing on improving the education opportunities for youth and adults in refugee communities, you could (1) reach out to/parner with organizations providing health and other types of services to refugees; (2) refine your program based on outcomes/ impact data and document what works/ does not work and actively share these lessons via digital platforms; and (3) explore if your model can be applied to other refugee communities within the US.

Question 3. Attaining sustainable funding streams with foundations & corporations are key to our long-term sustainability. How might we build a process for funder cultivation and retention backed by a clear value proposition which speaks to our key audience.
First, you need to be very clear on your theory of change - what is your end goal (employment? educational attainment? income? better mental health?) and how you plan to get there. Related to this, it should be clear that the program is designed to meet the community's need. Second, be very clear on how you are tracking whether your program is making a difference - in the short and long term. Third, be clear on how your approach is sustainable - partnerships, community leadership, leveraging existing services (rather than duplicating) are all key. Fourth, given that you are working on 'education' you should be able to calculate the cost-benefit of having refugee youth and adults complete/ fulfil their education ambitions. This will be make investments attractive to foundations/ corporations.


Nalini commented on The Nairobi Play Project

This is your expert and here are my responses to your questions.
Question #1. This project has required in-depth and high-quality teacher professional development. How can we scale it considering financial viability without losing quality?  In reviewing your website I am impressed with your teacher professional development training curriculum (at least what is available so far). What is needed is also clear standards on what you expect from teachers in the classroom, post training. How many of your teachers are adopting these standards? How does this translate into the desired outcomes for participants? We know from teacher-traiing literature that on-going mentorship and support is needed for quality implementation. It seems that you encourage peer support and provide feebdack via WhatsApp etc. All this is excellent. My suggestion would be to 'codify' your approach: curriculum, implementation/ teaching quality standards, evaluation of teachers' performance and feedback/ support model. Once you determine what these cost, you can think about scaling.

Question 2. Thus far we’ve conducted ethnographic field work over 2 program cycles, and our teachers have reported on the development of intercultural relationships between participants, but we’d appreciate any suggestions of feasible methods to track long-term impact.
It would be helpful to have a program-level Theory of Change, highlighting what are short and long term impacts you are seeking to achieve and how. It seems that you are seeking to have impact on two target audiences: (1) teachers; and through them on (2) youth participants. The vision is of course to positively influence how Kenyan communities integrate with refugees and vice versa. I provided some suggestions on the first aspect, especially focusing on quality of implementation in the previous bullet. Regarding youth, it would be helpful to be more precise as to the short and long term outcomes you are seeking. The short term outcome seems to be intercultural relationships. What exactly are you trying to achieve in the long term?Once you are clear about this, then you could possibly track some participants at 6-, 12- and 24-mnths after they leave the workshop against these.

Question 3. We’d like to make the program attractive to parents/community members who may be opposed to intercultural dialogue. Do you have recommendations?
In trying to make any program attractive to communities, it is important to co-create the program with these communities. Given that you have this opportunity/ project, it would be good to have a dialogue with the parents/ communities that your participants come from. Share the program. Share what you are learning. Ask for their views/ opinions. Do they see benefits? etc
Next, find ways to involve them in the design of the next phase or internal reflection/ reviews. May be form a volunteer committee representing the community. They will need some support in becoming effective members of such a committee.
Finally, in evaluating success/ impact of your efforts, make the community one of the target audiences.

Q1. How do we work with the perception that migration is an opportunity, not a risk, so families are safer and bridges are built in the community? Firstly, it would be good to be specific about what exactly you would like to impact as a result of your interventions. If one of these is an increased awareness of the opportunities and risks posed by migration, then this should be addressed as part of the experience of those impacted by migration. What are their dreams? How can/ did migration help? What are/ were the challenges/ risks? etc. 

Q2. How can we engage a wide audience without providing financial support and therefore creating service dependency? It is important that sustainability of an intervention is considered right from the start. So it is commendable that you are thinking about ways to stimulate engagement without an 'external' incentive. For this, (1) it is important that your intervention is in response to a need in the community, so there is a 'demand'; (2) the intervention has to be created in close participation with those likely to benefit; and (3) the benefits of your intervention should be clear and valued by those likely participate in the intervention. If you have a group of champions from the community, empower them to take the lead in the future.

Q3. How can we ensure motivation for the project is durable and extends far beyond the lifespan of the project activity period, without creating dependency? This question is tied to the above question and the responses to Q2 are applicable to this one as well. To reiterate, participatory methods of identifying need, creating solutions and evaluating the benefits will go a long way in sustaining the project. At every stage, ensure that the 'leaders' of the project are from within the community and CFI's role is that of facilitating and creating the space and providing the necessary resources (technical/ financial) to meet the demand.