Build Relationships

A crucial first step to building a community legal empowerment (CLE) program requires building relationships with the individuals your program will serve. There are various strategies that can be employed to identify what the refugee population looks like, how to reach them, and engage them directly, and how to begin to shape CLE services.

To lay the foundation for CLE activities, your first focus will have to be on building a relationship with individuals who can first help you understand the refugee communities, their structure and characteristics. Whether the organization is already serving refugees and has a natural pool of refugee clients or has never worked with a refugee before, investing time to map and get to know the refugee populations that live in your targeted geographic area will provide valuable lessons for building the CLE program.

The identify refugee in your context section defines three areas of investigation:

  1. Desk research: Desk research may provide helpful initial sources of information to effectively start to understand who is living in your context;
  2. Internal client research: Assessment of information readily available through your organization’s data if it is already serving refugees;
  3. Field outreach: Field research by conducting outreach to refugee populations and also groups and individuals who interact with refugees.