Rethinking the Response: Sending; Transit; and Receiving Communities

At Humans on the Move we focus on finding collaborative solutions to the various challenges that have arisen from the current global refugee crises. The global community of changemakers over the past few years has been focused primarily on immediate responses to the crisis, often with good reason, but we believe the time is ripe to commit to innovation and investment in community-led solutions.

We seek to analyze and facilitate solutions based on a systems approach. Rather than concentrating solely on refugee and migration issues that are geographically specific, we seek out programs and solutions that apply to challenges based on recurring transition events present in all non-voluntary migrations and displacements.

We are using an analysis and implementation framework that is derived from one previously developed by our co-founder and Chief Strategic Officer, Lina Srivastava, who crafted it with partners working on the "Who Is Dayani Cristal?documentary and social impact project -- nonprofit organizations, NGOs, and stakeholders in migrant rights along the U.S.-Mexico border and the Central American refugee crisis -- including the Ford Foundation, CAMMINA, the Washington Office on Latin America, Amnesty International, Colibri Center for Human Rights, and local NGOs in Central America and Mexico. Based on a three-year consultative effort with these stakeholders, Lina and her team developed a framework addressing systems affecting migrants. We have adapted this framework to address global migration and refugee systems, and to categorize and implement solutions along the systems chain to best serve those people most affected by displacement

Sending Communities  

Sending communities are the places where people feel that they have no choice but to leave, whether that is fleeing from violence, political unrest, persecution, climate change, economic inequality and lack of opportunity, natural disaster, or a combination thereof. On a global scale, there is a focus on the country of origin, however in reality every single person is originating from a community. Often displacement happens internally within their own home country.

We understand as Humans on the Move that we are not going to be able to address or prevent forced displacement entirely. We are seeking  solutions that are more readily solvable through social enterprise solutions and programs -- particularly those led by the affected community itself --  that address challenges around economic disparity, climate change, food and water scarcity, and the like -- that often create the conditions requiring people  to migrate. For example, we support the development of entrepreneurial communities, locally-led and developed organizations that foster both small and micro-enterprises to highly scalable enterprises.

Transit Communities

People in transit fall into two categories. The first group is those individuals that are actually on the move -- on foot, by boat, train, or plane, via land or water, to search for safety and refuge. The second are communities of people who are in the process of seeking or have already applied for asylum, but still are in state of regulatory limbo.

People in the process of transit are more likely to be vulnerable to human smuggling, trafficking and modern-day slavery. We are in the process of seeking out both bottom-up and  top-down solutions that respond directly and with agility to people in transit, providing resources and tools while preserving identity, privacy, and security.

Receiving Communities

These are “host communities,” those who take in and accommodate resettled or relocated persons. Currently, the majority of refugees are being hosted in developing countries, whose economies and public infrastructure struggle to support their native and local residents, let alone an influx of refugees and migrants. They often already have high rates of unemployment, overcrowded schools and cities, economies with tedious, and potentially tenuous political situations. It is in these communities where solutions should be applicable where possible for both refugees and the local residents.

Communities receiving individuals and families through resettlement or relocation need support to be able to integrate these new community members in terms of language services, education, housing, cultural engagement, and the labor force. In those instances refugees are able to return home, their home communities will be in need of resources and solutions to allow them to reintegrate the returned, and support a more thriving population. Without this, the cycle of involuntary migration will continue.

It is critical that solutions not only address challenges for incoming refugee and migrant populations but for existing local populations as well. We seek solutions that focus on integration, innovation, and investment, that contemplates the rights and needs of those resettled, as well as the capacity for receiving communities to accept new neighbors.

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