The Need for Innovation in US Resettlement

Wedad, 18, from Syria, practices her English as she reads her emergency contact card at the IRC office in Phoenix. Photo by Ethan Fichtner.

In the face of continued political uncertainty and increasing anti-refugee sentiment, it is crucial that the IRC innovates new, scalable, and cost-effective approaches to refugee resettlement as part of our response to external challenges.

Now is the ideal time to focus on innovation in refugee resettlement at the IRC for four crucial reasons. First, we must be more assertive about what resources and support refugees need in the coming months and years. Second, we need to develop a good evidence base to influence the current political space and future political debates, particularly with respect to how to effectively integrate refugees. Third, we will need to program more efficiently with fewer funds and innovation is a route to identifying new ways to do so. Lastly, the surge in private support for refugee resettlement should be leveraged and converted into long-term engagement and support.

As such, we are thrilled to announce that IRC’s US Programs and the Airbel center are launching a three-month collaboration that aims to refresh and rethink how we structure, finance, and deliver resettlement services.

Photo: Ethan Fichtner/IRC

This collaboration will design new approaches that can then be piloted, tested, and scaled. Over the arc of the project, a multidisciplinary team will work to identify new solutions and engage staff and clients for feedback.

Much of our innovation opportunities will be field-driven, so we will be engaging IRC U.S. field offices and the resettlement community. Over the arc of this project, we’ll update you with insights and burgeoning solutions. Make sure to check back here!