Understanding RLO Impact: A meta-synthesis of five external impact evaluations covering programs run by Refugee-Led Organizations (RLOs)
This study synthesizes and analyzes available data in order to answer two key research questions: What impact trends can be observed across five externally evaluated refugee-led organizations (RLOs)? To what extent can observations be generalized across organizations or geographies?
In order to answer the first question, between January and May of 2022, five RLOs (Basmeh & Zeitooneh in Lebanon and Iraq, Refugiados Unidos in Colombia, Refugees and Asylum Seekers Information Center in Indonesia, Saint Andrew’s Refugee Services in Egypt, and Young Africans for Integral Development in Uganda) underwent an external impact evaluation. The first section of this report uses conceptual content analysis to present impact trends across their evaluation reports.
The impact trends show that the five evaluated RLOs play crucial roles in improving the daily lives of people who live in their communities. The evaluated RLOs are uncovering or providing sustained access to services and revealing or facilitating long-term solutions. Importantly, the report finds that RLOs are doing so with the trust and respect of their community members, including for those who experience significant and intersecting access barriers. The report also synthesizes findings from evaluations that recommend increased investment in each RLO in order to deepen impact.
The second section of this report finds that the impact trends present across the five RLOs cannot be assumed to be true of other RLOs simply because they are also refugee-led. However, an exploration of commonalities between the five evaluated organizations reveals that they share several inputs that may underpin their impact: functional international partnerships including with donors, access to flexible funding, community embeddedness, and leadership by people of forced displacement
The research concludes that this list of shared inputs is likely worth promoting within any and all institutions who are responding to refugee situations around the world. Given their respective strengths and weaknesses, the findings suggest RLOs need greater access to international partnerships and flexible funding, while international actors need to reflect on the ways in which their responses can be community embedded and led by those with lived experience of forced displacement.
About the Evaluated Organisations
Between January 2022 and May of 2022, the following RLOs underwent an external impact evaluation: Basmeh & Zeitooneh in Iraq and Lebanon, Refugees and Asylum Seekers Information Center (RAIC) in Indonesia, Refugiados Unidos in Colombia, Saint Andrew’s Refugee Services (StARS) in Egypt, and Young African Refugees for Integral Development (YARID) in Uganda.
Refugees for Integral Development (YARID) in Uganda. Each of these organizations is refugee-led according to the definition provided by RRLI. RRLI defines RLO as “any formal or informal initiative/organization that is founded and run by people of forced displacement background and/or any formal or informal initiative/ organization where people of forced displacement are in major leadership positions and able to influence the work of the organization.”4
More information about each of the organizations, including their founding year, website, countries of operation, and organizational description can be found in Table 1.
Full Report here