Should I Start a Refugee Rights Organization?

Before thinking about the steps involved in starting a refugee rights organization (RRO), it is important to first analyze whether or not you should start a RRO. While it may be indisputable that refugees in your country have a very difficult time, starting a new organization or taking a rights-based approach may not always be the most effective strategy.

This section guides you through the process of conducting a legal analysis and a field analysis in your country. These analyses are (1) to help you identify the needs in the existing landscape, (2) to inform your decision on whether to start a RRO, and if so, (3) to inform your decision on the organization’s focus and strategy.

There are two sub-pages in this section. It includes:

  • Step 1: Conducting a legal analysis to identify the legal and policy framework for refugee protection in your country, and the extent to which these laws and policies are implemented. This is designed to help you identify whether refugees are facing human rights violations, and if so, the scale and severity of these violations. Based on these findings, there is a Self-Assessment Quiz to guide you to decide whether you should (1) start a refugee rights organization, (2) start a project within an existing human rights organization, or (3) adopt alternative approaches.
  • Step 2: Conducting a field analysis to determine whether any other organizations are already filling in the gaps that you have identified in your legal analysis. In particular, the page provides guiding questions to help you assess whether refugee rights tools, i.e. legal services, community legal empowerment, policy advocacy and strategic litigation, are currently adopted by existing refugee organizations in your country.

As conducting legal and field analysis can be quite cumbersome and can take months, note to schedule sufficient time for this process. After conducting your analyses, you should have a better idea of whether you should start a refugee rights organization, and the type of services your organization (or project) can provide to fill the existing gaps in advocating for refugee rights.

Many highly relevant considerations can be found on the Scaling Up Services page, which details key questions to consider when you decide to open other offices in your country, region or further afield.