Leveraging Women’s Community Leadership: A Model for Outreach in Urban Refugee Populations

Authored by: Roxane Wilber

Categories: Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: Human Development, Migration
Country: Syria
Region: Middle East and North Africa
Year: 2011
Citation: Wilber, Roxane. Leveraging Women's Community Leadership: A Model for Outreach in Urban Refugee Populations. Washington, DC: Inclusive Security, 2011.

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UNHCR’s field office in Damascus has a promising model for improving aid agency interactions with urban refugee communities. The approach demonstrates that women are essential allies for those seeking to protect displaced populations. Often leaders in the refugees’ efforts to help themselves, women have credibility in their communities derived from informal leadership. That credibility grants them unique access, enabling service providers with whom they work to better understand the population and its needs. By collaborating with women as liaisons, UNHCR has improved outreach, follow-up, service delivery, standing within the community, and the overall security environment.