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Person from the organisation YARID delivering food by motorbike © YARID
The refugee-led organisation YARID delivering food and other items to refugees in Kampala.

This Refugee Week (15 - 21 June) why not revisit this term’s RSC Public Seminar Series, held online for the first time using Zoom webinar.

Titled #ByRefugees: Strengthening refugee-led humanitarian response during the COVID-19 pandemic, the series has focused on refugee-led assistance and protection in the context of COVID-19. It features panels of individuals whose work is shaping how we understand and support refugee-led responses during crisis. Their accomplishments – whether as practitioners, policy influencers, funders, or community responders – challenge conventional top-down approaches to humanitarian assistance. These approaches are increasingly important in the current context, in which traditional humanitarian capacity has been stretched and forced to adapt. Refugee-led organisations are on the frontline of the response, in both refugee camps and cities.

The series explores how refugees are responding to the current crisis, reflects on how they can be supported by external actors, and considers the prospects for creating lasting forms of participatory humanitarian governance. 

The majority of panelists are refugees, and the series conveners are Alexander Betts and Andonis Marden from the Refugee Studies Centre, and Shaza Al Rihawi, Anila Noor, Najeeba Wazefadost, and Mustafa Alio from the Global Refugee-Led Network.

The first five webinars are all available on YouTube now. The final webinar will take place this Wednesday 17th June at 5pm BST.  Details of all seminars are below:

The seminars

6 May

Global agenda setting, from the bottom up: the Global Refugee-Led Network (GRN)

Mustafa Alio – Refugee Advisor, Co-founder, Jumpstart Refugee Talent (Canada)

Shaza Al Rihawi – Founding Member and Interim Chair, GRN (Germany)

Anila Noor – Steering Committee Member, GRN (Netherlands)

Najeeba Wazefadost – Founding Member, GRN and Asia Pacific Network of Refugees (Australia) 

Watch seminar 1 on YouTube 


13 May

Without recognition, without assistance: Refugee-led responses in urban contexts

Bahati Ghislain – Executive Director, Kintsugi (Nairobi)

Robert Hakiza – Executive Director, Young African Refugees for Integral Development (Kampala)

Janemary Ruhundwa – Executive Director, Dignity Kwanza (Dar es Salaam)

Watch seminar 2 on YouTube 


20 May

New partnerships: How international organisations can support refugee-led organisations

Dana Al Anzy – Partnership Associate, Civil Society and NGO Division, UNHCR (Geneva)

Edmund Page – CEO, Xavier Project (Kenya & Uganda)

Watch seminar 3 on YouTube 


27 May

Rapid response to funding gaps: Philanthropic support for refugee-led initiatives

Anna Crowley – International Migration Initiative, Open Society Foundation (London)

Annemieke de Jong – Refugee Livelihoods Programme, IKEA Foundation (Leiden)

Anders Knudsen – DEMAC Initiative (Diaspora Emergency Action and Coordination), Danish Refugee Council (Copenhagen)

Watch seminar 4 on YouTube


10 June

Limited room to manoeuvre: Refugee-led responses in camp settings

Nhial Deng – Chair, Refugee Youth Peace Ambassadors (Kakuma camp, Kenya)

Innocent Magambi – Executive Director, There is Hope (Dzaleka camp, Malawi)

Samuel Ouma Mijwang’a – Registered Nurse, Emergency Response Team, Kenya Red Cross Society (Dadaab camp, Kenya)

Watch seminar 5 on YouTube 


17 June

Affecting change from within: Refugees in international humanitarian organisations

Joelle Hangi – Intern, Innovation Service, UNHCR Regional Bureau in the East, Horn, and Great Lakes Regions of Africa (Nairobi)

Bahati Ernestine Hategekimana – Youth Activities Coordinator, Community Based Protection Unit, UNHCR Kenya Country Office (Nairobi)

Foni Joyce – Co-Chair, UNHCR Global Youth Advisory Council (Nairobi)

Watch seminar 6 on YouTube