UK resident Hassan Hassan giving leadership training in Mogadishu
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16 January, 2017

Launch of new ‘Refugees as Re-builders’™ course

With the UNHCR agency revealing¹ that the number of people displaced by conflict has reached the highest recorded levels, Initiatives of Change (IofC) has announced that it will be launching a free Refugees as Re-Builders™ course starting in April 2017.

The Foundation Level of the three-part programme will run every Saturday for six weeks from 29 April at IofC’s London centre and ongoing mentoring is offered to all participants. With 40 places available, the course is open to refugees from any war-torn nation, diaspora of refugee origin and those working with refugee communities, who can demonstrate their intention to better their communities either in the UK or country of origin.

The Intermediate Level course will run in June/July 2017. And the advanced ‘Training of Trainers’ will run in Autumn 2017, is accredited by the Institute of Cultural Affairs.

The course runs parallel to IofC’s weekly Agenda for Reconciliation forum, which started in 2000.

Speaking of the impetus behind the programme, course coordinator Dr Muna Ismail said: ‘With more than half of the global refugees coming from just three countries, Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria and increasing numbers of people attempting to cross the Mediterranean in a bid to reach Europe, there’s never been a more pressing time to provide practical assistance to the communities affected.’

Ismail, a British scientist who fled her native Somalia in 1991, drew from her personal experience to identify the three interlinked elements that are fundamental to the recovery of nations after profound traumas: Dialogue for Social Cohesion, Ethical Leadership, and Sustainable Livelihood. These key themes form the building blocks of the programme.

IofC has been providing Dialogue Facilitation training courses to Somali and Eritrea refugees since 2005. A number of the alumni of these courses have since returned to Somalia to contribute to its reconstruction after 20 years of civil war. Some have played significant roles in government, parliament, the civil service and NGOs. The new three-part Refugees as Re-Builders™ course builds on this experience and offers it to refugees of all ethnicities.

‘As a charity which aims to ‘inspire, equip and connect people to address world needs, starting with themselves’, we recognise that refugees can be influential rebuilders of the war-torn countries from which they fled.

‘We have therefore created the Refugees as Re-Builders™ programme to help equip those affected with the practical techniques that can empower them to engender long-term societal change and ensure that refugees come be considered the catalyst of tomorrow’s change rather than a threat,’ explained Ismail.

There is an application form to fill out to apply for the course.

¹ The UN’s annual report, issued 20 June 2016, revealed that a total of 65.3 million people were displaced at the end of 2015, crossing the 60 million mark for the first time.

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