Growing displacement around the world has increased pressures on migrant-receiving communities and service providers, many of which are struggling to meet the core needs and longer-term integration of resettled refugees and recognized asylum seekers. Yet as has been demonstrated in Europe and North America in recent years, the rapid rise in the numbers of arriving humanitarian migrants has been matched by an equally unprecedented outpouring of public support, with offers to volunteer or provide donations.
How can the benefits of volunteering be harnessed by overstretched providers? This report considers where community members can add the most value to integration efforts, assesses the barriers that community organizations and integration service providers face in engaging volunteers, and offers recommendations for how policymakers can facilitate the effective engagement of communities in integration initiatives.
While volunteer efforts cannot replace specialized social service agencies or well-resourced social assistance programs, they offer unique resources that can be an invaluable complement to the services that professional agencies and case workers provide. Yet engaging volunteers or community sponsors is hardly a cost-free or even cost-saving endeavor for most resettlement and integration agencies, and dedicated resources must be provided to establish and maintain effective community engagement.
SOURCE: Susan Fratzke and Emma Dorst. “Volunteers and Sponsors: A Catalyst for Refugee Integration?” Migration Policy Institute, Nov. 2019.
The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia