Leadership training is key for anyone working in the refugee rights movement. This may be directed at your leadership staff, or at entry-level colleagues in order to ensure they become refugee rights leaders in any sphere of work they are later involved in. equipping workers with the skills they need to become powerful and effective leaders should be a priority, given the relatively small size of the refugee rights movement globally – compared to humanitarian aid approaches.
Leadership training can be both a continuous and one-off learning experience. Increased responsibility on the job can be coupled with mentoring by existing senior staff, and many of the tips outlined in the professional development section apply equally to supervisors as they do to volunteers, interns and other employees.
Organizing leadership workshops, retreats, trainings or conferences however, can have added benefits for staff. If these are internal events, the act of bringing co-workers together facilitates a space in which to collectively brainstorm new directions or solutions to problems the organization is encountering; to celebrate institutional successes together, and to iron out any management or internal issues in a goals-oriented environment.
Residential or longer trainings, whether internal or external, may provide a bonding experience between staff and counterparts, and present particular networking benefits.
In deciding what topics to cover, consult staff on their needs and concerns, particularly regarding gaps in their knowledge that have implications on their work.
Below is Asylum Access’ learning guide for a leadership training held in 2012 which can be used for inspiration regarding possible training topics for your team. Topics covered are both operational and legal. It is good practice to provide a program including trainers’ biographies, contact details and areas of expertise. The manual also contains space for participants to note down their major take-aways, lessons learnt and questions from the session.
Training modules from early Asylum Access leadership training sessions:
- How to use data in advocacy
- The Right to Legal Representation: This session is designed to explore the pursuit of due process for clients as a major objective as well as to provide Lessons Learned and recommendations from to overcoming international bridges in providing legal representation.
- Successful Outreach: LGTBI in Kenya: This session is designed to give an overview of the successful outreach programs in particular communities, specifically LGBTI refugees and includes recommendations for designing an effective outreach program
- Prioritizing Cases and UNHCR Accountability: This session is designed to focus on case-management information practical in the field, as well as, more theoretical discussion regarding best practices for approaching interactions or conflicts with UNHCR.
- Nairobi Code Opportunities, Challenges, and Change: This session is designed to provide an advanced training of the Nairobi Code for managers. This training is aimed to help UNHCR staff members to understand how to think about lawyers who serve refugees and Legal Aid NGOs.
- Human Rights Mechanisms: This document helps clarify what the Human Rights Liaison Unit does as well as examines some of the main treaty monitoring bodies.
- Talking Points in Advocacy: This session, is designed to provide the group with many tips, strategies, and anecdotes about using talking points in advocacy.
- Advocacy in Challenging Contexts – Iran: This case study is designed to provide recommendations for action when working in challenging contexts through an example of Refugee Rights in the case of Islamic Legal System and Long Stayed Refugees in Iran.
- Leveraging Volunteers: This session is designed to provide you with a staffing model for organizing and training full-time and pro-bono volunteers.
- UN Conference: This session provided a space for participants themselves to raise topics which had not, or insufficiently, been treated during the training.
- Advocating for Legislative Change in South Korea: Through this South Korean case study, we can learn what was done to make the law, what the content of the Korean Refugee Law is, and what is desired to be done further to advocate for legislative change in each participants’ country.