Federation for Community Development Learning
Federation for Community Development Learning

How to set up a Refugee Community Organisation

Written by Dhara Thompson


Published: 2008

How to set up a Refugee Community Organisation
RCO web 14.03.08.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [2.2 MB]

Summary: This is a resource designed with and for new and emerging refugee community organisations to help them establish themselves as organisations. The resource includes advice from activists who have recently set up refugee community organisations (RCOs), in the form of quotes


Over 60 A4 pages, the main content includes:

  • why start a group;
  • what are your aims;
  • who is included and who isn't;
  • different models of constituting a group;
  • resources, budgeting and fundraising;
  • problems groups may encounter;
  • learning from your experiences;
  • next steps towards developing as a group.

The draft of the resource was peer reviewed by representatives of recently established RCOs, informing the content and overall look of the resource. There is a fold-out illustrated 'river' in the back of the booklet which can be used to chart the progress of setting up an RCO, with artwork to represent the content outlined above, mirrored in the booklet. The booklet is also illustrated with photos.

It is aimed at people wanting to establish, and in the process of establishing, RCOs - as such it can be used directly by refugee community activists, or by development workers and trainers as a supporting resource. There is also a section on how generic development workers (such as in a CVS) can better understand the needs of RCOs. It shows the options that are available to groups, not a simple one-size-fits-all approach. FCDL has developed this resource and it is funded to be distributed among RCOs in Manchester.

However, it has relevance to anyone involved in establishing RCOs, directly or supporting such work. Local agencies and places of support can be inserted into the booklet. If offered nationally, for example through regional refugee and asylum seeker forums, this resource could reach some of the most marginalised refugee communities, offering valuable advice, with supportive stories from refugee activists, hopefully helping avoid mistakes and costly misunderstandings being repeated. It is a resource that has clearly been designed with and for refugees and asylum seekers and as such it has a relevance and appropriateness for those often isolated and poorly supported activists.

ISBN 978-1-904111-15-3

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