Originally published by Campfire Innovation and reprinted with permission.
Grassroots organizations active in the refugee response are initiatives build by civil society - by people who are interested in improving humanitarian aid and who want to contribute. This means that the people involved (volunteers, supporters etc.) have a close relationship with refugees, and refugees themselves are usually involved in these organizations.
Because of this relationship, many organizations assume that they know what the needs and opinions of refugees are. Although it can be the case that, through personal relationships and conversations, information and ideas are shared and received by volunteers, this is not the case everywhere. Consequently, when there is a lack of this vital communication, many misunderstandings and conflicts can happen. Research done by Koosh has confirmed this and suggested that grassroots organizations should not rely only upon the informal conversations between volunteers and refugees. Rather, they should create official feedback mechanisms, procedures for understanding and incorporating feedback received, and methods through which refugees can take part in the decision-making process at each organization. Read More.