Solutions for Refugees

UNHCR Solutions asked me to create a range of multimedia projects to promote internal learning within the organization. Certain UNHCR offices were implementing new and dynamic pilot projects, but the lessons learned and new ways of working that were being developed were lost in a huge organization with 126 different offices. 

 

 

The films, photo projects, and written stories were about alternative methods to refugee camps that could be used to take care of displaced people. One of the main messages in this body of work was that refugees were independent, willing to work, and did not need to rely on UNHCR for all of their needs. Throughout the course of a year, I visited eight different countries ranging from Benin to Colombia, and did around 120 interviews with refugees, UNHCR, and NGO staff. The films were placed on UNHCR internal learning web platform and also shown to donors, and screened at high profile fundraising events. 

Niger

When 17,000 traditional Tuareg pastoralists from Mali fled to Niger, the UNHCR Representative decided to try an experiment so that the pastoralists could continue to live their traditional life. It was impossible for them to live in a camp with their hundreds of animals, so instead the Representative negotiated with the government to allow the pastoralists to roam around a huge zone in northern Niger, and provided the refugees' assistance through food distributions and non-food items.

 

Alongside films and photo galleries, I wrote and researched a long 20-page report that analyzed the steps of how the huge zone worked in practice and what assistance the refugees needed from agencies. 

Page Samples Print Reports 

Colombia 

When indigenous people fled armed groups in Colombia, UNHCR had the challenge of not only resettling them, but also providing them the means to safeguard their culture. Milena, an indigenous girl in Florencia, explains why her people need to live within their community.

Uganda 

Finding solutions that enable refugees to live their lives in dignity and peace is a core part of UNHCR's Solutions work. They can include voluntary repatriation, resettlement and integration. A key part of UNHCR Solutions is finding ways that refugees can become more independent, and work for a living rather than just depend on aid. 

 

Uganda hosts 1.2 million refugees from countries that include South Sudan and Congo. The country's refugee policy is progressive and UNHCR has worked with the government to provide healthcare and jobs for refugees in one of the longstanding refugee settlements in Nachi Valley.