Conducting a Field Analysis

Conducting a field analysis is the second step to help you decide whether it is appropriate to situate your refugee rights organization (RRO) in your country. This exercise will guide you through the strategic and operational considerations to determine whether (1) any other organizations are already addressing the human rights violations that you have identified in your legal analysis, and (2) the feasibility of establishing a RRO in your country. There is also a downloadable template that will guide you to analyze whether specific refugee rights tools (legal services, community legal empowerment, policy advocacy, and strategic litigation) are being implemented by other organizations in your country. This will help you identify the gaps of where a new organization might add value for refugees, rather than merely duplicating services.

In your field analysis, relevant actors might include bar associations, NGOs, international agencies (e.g. UNHCR, OCHA, UNICEF, IOM, ICRC), government legal aid agencies, legal aid clinics, policy groups, consultancy firms and research institutes.

To conduct your field analysis, you may examine:

  • Which organizations provide assistance to refugees?
  • What services do they provide?
  • How would your work compliment the work of potential partners?

For a template that enables you to conduct an analysis on the availability of legal services, community legal empowerment, policy advocacy and strategic litigation programs in your country, you may download the document below.

In addition to identifying whether there are other organizations providing refugee assistance and protection, it is important to consider the political, legal and financial feasibility of establishing a RRO in your country. Some key strategic and operational considerations may include:

  • Would the government allow a refugee rights organization to operate and work with refugees?
    • If your organization was allowed to work in the country, would the government attempt to limit the scope of its work?
  • What is the local UNHCR office’s attitude towards refugee legal aid/your organization?
  • Do your board members have any connections to the country’s government, the UNHCR office, or refugee groups?
  • Does the law have any restrictions on receiving foreign funding?
  • Compared to other countries with refugee rights programs, would your currency be of more or less value in the local country?
  • What is the cost for your organization to pay for office space?
  • Is there expertise within the country or do we need to hire foreign staff?
    • If you were to hire foreign staff, does the country have restrictive visa policies?
    • Are there any security concerns, especially for foreign staff?
    • Would it be difficult for volunteers to travel to and stay in the country?
    • What is the cost of living in the country?
  • What are the legal requirements to set up a refugee rights organization?
    • Are there different legal structures that can be considered?
    • How long on average will it take to register the organization?

For more details on overcoming the legal barriers of registering your organization, you may refer to the registering your organization  page.

With these questions in mind, the field analysis should assist you in deciding whether your country is a suitable place to locate your RRO. During your research, you may choose to refer to the resources offered by International Refugee Rights Initiative, which provides a directory of the legal aid NGOs and pro bono services in various countries. The NGO Law Monitor is also useful when researching your country’s legal and political factors.

Further resources: