The Asylum Access approach works to incorporate the best practices of pedagogical, as well both for- and non-profit mentoring programs. Under this approach,
- The agenda is set by the learner–this permits RRLs to set the timing, pace, medium, content, learning style, assessment, as well as collaboration.
- The relationship is long-term
- The mentorship is concerned with the implications beyond the task – solving problems in general, not specific ones.
Asylum Access centers its mentorship program on learner-created Learning Agreements. The learning agreement is an individualized learner-centered document that recognizes the learner’s abilities and educational objectives. Each learning agreement identifies a range of topics that refugee rights leaders choose to undertake, together with associated assessment methods that will verify the RRL’s learning. The learning agreement serves to express:
- the nature and content of the program of learning;
- its link to the relevant organizational and broader refugee rights goals
- what the RRL will be able to do on successful completion of each goal. RRLs will understand what will be expected of them in order to achieve the goals they have set forth.
RRLs will complete an initial assessment to determine the base level of both skills and knowledge relevant to leading a refugee rights organization. Once the RRL completes the assessment, the Mentor will evaluate the results and provide the RRL with an explanation of identified gaps in knowledge or skills so that the RRL can draft a learning agreement. Based on the RRL’s learning goals, Asylum Access will determine a set of Mentors within the organization best suited to mentor the RRL in each competency area. Depending on the learning needs of the specific RRL, Asylum Access staff is prepared to mentor RRLs in any or all of following Asylum Access’s competency areas:
- Creating a mission & vision
- Prepare to Launch
- Situate Your Organization Locally
- Operate & Manage
- Results-Based Management
- Human Resources
- Financial Management
- Scaling Up Services
- International Refugee Law
- Legal Services
- Community Legal Empowerment
- Policy Advocacy
- Strategic Litigation
One of the greatest challenges to beginning a new project, or developing a new program, is finding the right kind of support. Although our mentors have a great deal of knowledge, there may be moments where outside support may be the most helpful for a RRL. Asylum Access’s networks can serve as tremendous support to our RRLs. Furthermore, where it is appropriate, Asylum Access strives to connect RRLs with potential funders.
If you are interested in connecting with Asylum Access as a Refugee Rights Leader, please contact [email protected] for more information.
Benefits of the Toolkit Initiative
The Toolkit Initiative has the potential to provide substantial benefits not only to the RRL but to the Mentor and to the broader refugee rights community. Mentors benefit from this relationship by understanding the issues faced by refugee rights organizations from a new angle, which has the potential to influence mentors to approach problem-solving differently, to better inform organizational policies, and to ultimately improve the content of the Toolkit. Additionally, the broader refugee rights community benefits from increased retention of organizations with similar goals. Increased success among global refugee rights organizations has the potential to change the status quo of refugee response, resulting in a benefit to the broader RRL community.
The primary benefit of the mentorship relationship to the RRL is access to directed, practical knowledge from an experienced RRL who has successfully managed similar issues in their own process of building a refugee rights organization from the ground up. RRLs will benefit from a one-on-one mentorship that serves to supplement information provided in the Refugee Rights Toolkit. Additionally, RRLs will become part of a global network of RRLs, and will be introduced to possible sources of funding, where possible.