Given the challenges faced by refugees worldwide, the role of a refugee rights leader is crucial in advocating for the better implementation of refugee rights in law, policies and/or practices in your country. One effective strategy is to start a refugee rights organization (RRO) that enables you and others to jointly engage in advocacy. As this is a complex and messy undertaking, the Start-up section guides you through the steps of starting a RRO.

The Start-up section begins by explaining what a RRO is, and differentiate a rights-based approach from a charity approach and needs-based approach that traditional agencies adopt. It then guides you to conduct a legal and field analysis to help you decide whether starting a RRO is the most effective way to address existing challenges in your country.

Once you have decided to start a RRO, the rest of the section guides you through the practical steps that you will undergo before launch. This includes creating a mission and vision, registering your organization, fundraising at start-up, staffing, securing office space, and advertising your services. It also provides practical advice on developing strategies to establish effective relationships with key stakeholders, including with the government, UNCHR and other NGOs at the start-up stage.

By the end of the section, you should have understood the value of a RRO, and to have gained a better understanding of the key questions and steps involved when establishing a RRO. However, while this section captures the information that might be useful during start-up, the toolkit’s direct mentorship program can facilitate you to overcome the nuances and situation-specific challenges during the start-up process. When using this toolkit, you are expected to adopt the information provided according to your own context. Also, note that the steps outlined in this section does not necessarily have to be followed in order. For example, you may decide to establish a relationship with the government before advertising your services.

As a number of topics, such as fundraising and human resources, are also applicable beyond the start up stage. These topics are further addressed in the Operate and Manage section.

 What is a Refugee Rights Organization?
 Should I Start a Refugee Rights Organization?
 Creating a Vision and Mission Statement
 Preparing to Launch
 Establishing Relationships with Stakeholders
 Transitioning from Launch to Operations