In collaboration with our partners and networks, we committed to expanding and championing education pathways and refugee inclusion in our work.
We committed to expanding and championing education pathways and refugee inclusion.

Four-Year Progress Report: How the WUSC network is fulfilling pledges made at the 2019 Global Refugee Forum

In 2019, WUSC made a series of pledges at the first-ever Global Refugee Forum (GRF). In collaboration with our partners and networks, we committed to expanding and championing education pathways and refugee inclusion in our work.  

Four years later, we want to express our gratitude to our networks and partners for the progress we have made together in fulfilling our commitments and the impact we have had on the lives of refugees worldwide. 

In collaboration with our partners and networks  across the country, we pledged: 

  1. to expand education pathways and develop welcoming communities in Canada;
  2. to champion education pathways worldwide and improve global practices; and
  3. to include refugee voices in programming, public engagement, communications, research, and policy dialogue activities.

Pledge 1: Expand Education Pathways and Develop Welcoming Communities in Canada

In 2019, in collaboration with Canadian youth, we pledged to increase the number of additional refugee students sponsored annually through the Student Refugee Program by 2023.  Thanks to support from our existing postsecondary network and new partners WUSC sponsors, on average, 15 more students per year through the program than in 2019. 

Since December 2019, we have welcomed a total of 619 students through the SRP.   

In 2022, we celebrated our largest cohort of students to date—174 in total—including 22 who arrived through our Afghanistan response

Ensuring the sustainability of the program on campuses across Canada was (and continues to be) vital. Since 2019, 20 new partnerships with colleges, CEGEPs, and universities have contributed to the overall growth of the program, bringing the total number of regularly sponsoring institutions to 102.

Through our forced displacement awareness raising campaigns and activities on post-secondary campuses, we have reached over 58,000 people.  Seven thousand of these individuals were engaged to take a concrete action toward building welcoming communities for refugees. Actions included supporting a levy increase at their institution to raise more funds and ultimately sponsor more students, making a donation, signing a petition, and more. All of which have contributed to our efforts to expand education pathways and develop more welcoming communities in Canada.

In addition to increasing the number of sponsorships available to refugee youth through the Student Refugee Program, we also launched two new complementary pathways to Canada: the Refugee Athlete Stream for refugee athletes and HIRES, a labor mobility pathway. To date, we have welcomed four students through our refugee athlete stream of the Student Refugee Program and fifty-nine through HIRES. Through the expansion of complementary pathways based on more diverse skill sets we are able to offer additional placements, partner with new stakeholders, and reach more diverse refugee youth.  

Pledge 2: Championing Education Pathways Globally and Capacity-building 

We pledged to offer technical and capacity-building support to various stakeholders, including states, post-secondary networks, institutions, and public and private sector actors, to establish and sustain new education pathways in their countries. 

Through our technical assistance work, we have provided support to a range of actors in countries around the world, including Mexico, Ireland, Belgium, Italy and the United States- where we are actively participating in the implementation of Welcome Corps on Campus, a new education pathway for refugees.

As a founding member and co-chair of the Global Task Force on Third Country Education Pathways, WUSC has delivered training, shared best practices, and provided technical assistance to numerous global actors. In addition, we have mobilized other actors by leading on the establishment of a Community of Practice and minimum standards for this work. We also contributed to the development of the 2030 Roadmap on Third Country Solutions. 

Capacity building is a crucial step in scaling this work to reach more refugee youth globally. 

Pledge 3: Including Refugee Voices

We pledged to ensure that individuals with lived refugee experience play a key role in informing the design and implementation of all our work with and for refugee youth. 

We have made significant efforts to promote refugee participation and amplify refugee voices in our programming, public engagement, communications, research, and policy dialogue activities related to refugee and forced migration issues. Below are just some of the many activities we have undertaken in recent years to champion refugee inclusion in our work and beyond.

To achieve this, we have strengthened and leveraged the WUSC Student Refugee Program alumni network both at the organization and at the individual campus level in postsecondary institutions across Canada. Our alumnists play a key role in guiding and shaping the growth and development of the SRP.    

In 2021, alongside the  Global Refugee Youth Network (GRYN), we hosted a roundtable on refugee leadership, bringing together young refugee leaders from Africa, the Middle East, and South America and allies to examine the state of refugee youth leadership globally and explore key trends, existing partnerships, best practices and emerging actors. The resulting knowledge product Time to Act: How to be an Ally to Young Refugees highlights key actions young refugee leaders want allies to take.

In honor of WUSC’s commitment to enabling refugees to participate actively in developing their own solutions, this past year we launched the Refugee-Led Counseling for Complementary Pathways Project which aims to increase access to protection-sensitive complementary pathways for registered refugees living in Jordan by strengthening the capacity of selected refugee leaders to become guidance counselors and lead these efforts. Two of these leaders are set to present on this important work at the upcoming GRF.

In order to enhance refugee inclusion in education and livelihood opportunities, we have established a community fund through our DREEM project for DREEM Youth Advisory Committee members to access funding for initiatives, projects, and events in refugee communities. We are committed to continuing these efforts to ensure that refugees are active contributors and decision-makers in the work we do. 

At the upcoming GRF, WUSC remains committed to sharing our best practices, learning from others, and joining relevant actors in making solid commitments to improve the lives of refugees worldwide. We are proud of the progress we have made so far and look forward to continuing our efforts to make a positive impact on the lives of refugees everywhere. Together, we can create a more inclusive and supportive world for those who need it most.

WUSC works to create a better world for all young people. To learn more, start here or subscribe to get highlights straight to your inbox. Interested in volunteering internationally? View our current opportunities. Looking for a new career opportunity? Check out our current job openings. Or show your support for our cause by making a donation.

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