|Refugee Emergencies. A Community-Based Approach (UNHCR, 1996, 142 p.)|
|Part One. Emergency Response|
· Community services methods aim at involving refugees in assessment of their needs, planning activities and services and in the implementation and evaluation of programmes.
· The goals of community services are: to restore the refugees' humanity and dignity, to enable them to take decisions, to restore a sense of security, to create a sense of belonging and to rebuild a self-generating community.
· Community services are part of a larger whole, supporting and complementing other activities such as protection, health services and education.
· The focus of Community services is on providing services to individuals through the family and the community.
· Emergency response calls for a phased approach: 1) assessment, planning, developing guidelines on policies and procedures; 2) laying the foundation of the programme; 3) building up community services.
· Needs and resources change over time. Use a variety of sources for cross-checking and validating information.
· Consider how problems would have been resolved by refugees in the country of origin.
· Refugees most in need are often the least likely to make their needs known. Use outreach services to make sure they are not overlooked.
· Identify constraints that will limit action.
· The plan of action should be based on the findings of the needs and resources assessments and revised in accordance the evolution of situation.
· Establish a framework of policies and priorities and build consensus among groups involved (including refugees) on problems to be addressed, action to be taken and by whom, and on a timetable for specific activities.
· Many social welfare needs can best be met by resources that exist within the refugee community.
· The degree of security and stability achieved through providing protection and material assistance is enhanced by community services activities that provide for the emotional and psychological welfare of the refugees.
· Family reunification should be a priority.
· While participation and refugee involvement may sometimes retard the process of assistance, because of the intervening learning that takes place, in the long term it will ensure a self-help approach which is the goal of all assistance. Taking time to train refugees is well worth the effort and time required.