"I really liked the program because I learned about different ways refugees can find jobs or study abroad which is the dream to get resettled or find a durable solution. It helped me understand the requirements for each option and how to apply. I think every refugee should have access to this kind of information."
– Iraqi youth Refugee in Amman
The project in brief
The project is implemented by World University Service of Canada (WUSC) and Refugee Guidance Counsellors in Jordan. It began in February 2023 and is currently ongoing
A 3-year initiative funded by the UNHCR and inspired by Kepler’s Refugee College Guidance Counselor initiative in Rwanda. From 2023 to 2025, the project will strengthen the capacity of refugee leaders in Jordan to promote and deliver activities that share information about verified education and employment-linked immigration programs so that refugee communities become more aware of, and are better equipped to navigate and progress through the selection processes of the complementary pathways they wish to pursue.
The ultimate objective of the project is to increase awareness and accessibility of protection-sensitive complementary pathways for refugees living in Jordan. By working with refugee leaders across the country to promote, share information, and provide guidance to their refugee peers, the initiative aims to better inform and connect refugees with education, employment, or family reunification opportunities for which they may be eligible, and improve their ability to meet the prerequisites and navigate the processes that can lead to a durable solution to their displacement in a safe third country.
Main activities of the Good Practice
The main activities of the project included:
- Complementary pathways training and ongoing support for refugee guidance counselors from across Amman, Zarqa, Mafraq, and in the Zaatari Camp. Sessions are designed to equip counselors with the knowledge and tools to deliver information sessions, workshops, and guidance counselling to their peers about the opportunities available through complementary education and employment pathways and how to navigate them.
- Information sessions about complementary pathways, delivered by counselors who design and deliver these sessions along with targeted skill-building workshops to refugees living in the target communities to improve their eligibility for relevant opportunities.
- Personalized guidance sessions offered by the counselors to assist individual refugees to explore and navigate their chosen complementary pathway and the procedures involved, including through referral to other partners who can support them to meet the prerequisites of their desired pathway or program.
- Opportunity fairs that allow various employment and education pathway actors to promote their opportunities and provide refugees with a space to explore their options and speak to peers who have relocated to a third country through an education or employment pathway.
"The Complementary Pathways program has been immensely impactful for me on a personal level as I've delved deep into understanding scholarships, aligning with my aspiration to complete my studies. Moreover, its ripple effect on my community is profound—empowering individuals to enhance their English proficiency, self-development, and readiness for future opportunities. This collective empowerment fosters a more prepared and aspiring community, geared towards upcoming scholarship applications and personal growth."
– Refugee guidance counsellor
What challenges were encountered in delivering the project and how were they overcome?
Some of the challenges encountered thus far include:
- Identifying the appropriate mechanism for remunerating refugees.
- Ensuring that information about various complementary pathways accessible to refugees in Jordan was up to date.
- Clarifying roles and responsibilities between various stakeholders and the limitations of activities that can be undertaken by refugee guidance counsellors within the scope of the project.
- The absence of a clear mapping of the supporting services available (English language training, upskilling programs, etc.) available for refugees.
- There was a gap in knowledge on complementary pathways within both the urban and camp populations, and unequal knowledge between men and women refugees.
How they were overcome
The challenges were overcome through:
- Close collaboration with the local UNHCR office and teams
- Close collaboration with stakeholders who support education, employment, and family reunification pathways
- Ensuring that the feedback from info session participants was well-recorded and incorporated into the project's work plan.
- Ensuring that alumni voices are shared with the community to establish the trust needed in available opportunities.
- Integrating an additional explanation and introduction of the idea of complementary pathways during information sessions
“People in the community consider paying lots of money for unsafe routes, but now that we have this information, we can tell our families that there are better options.”
– Syrian woman in Mafraq
Results of the Good Practice
Refugees are more aware of the various complementary immigration pathways available to them, and feel better equipped to navigate them, thanks to guidance and information shared by their peers.
In what way does the good practice meet one or more of the four objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees?
Objective 1: Ease pressure on host countries
The project has the potential to reduce the overall displaced population in the host country (Jordan), by connecting more refugees to solutions in third countries.
Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance
This initiative enhances refugee self-reliance by connecting them to opportunities in third countries that recognize the skills and knowledge that they can contribute to academic institutions, industries and economies worldwide. Skills-based pathways contribute to more durable solutions and pathways to integration that facilitate autonomy and self-reliance in receiving countries.
Objective 3: Expand access to third-country solutions
Refugee-driven solutions for increasing information amongst refugee communities about verified complementary pathways is one strategy for expanding access to third country solutions and connecting skilled refugees to international employment and education opportunities.
"I came here to learn about scholarships. I didn’t know about the employment pathways; I am excited to tell my father and uncle because they both speak English and were professionals in Syria."
– Syrian youth in Zarqa
The project is tentatively scheduled until the end of 2025, with the hope to expand to other locations within Jordan (Irbid and Azraq), as well as expand the hiring of additional refugee guidance counsellors within existing and expanded locations. The project will also include some focus on upskilling through operational partnerships and raise awareness of opportunities available by way of service mapping. Information sharing is the primary pillar of the partnership with the overall aim of increasing refugee access to complementary pathways.
Are there areas in which support would be required to continue and/or scale up your good practice?
There is great potential to scale and replicate the initiative and approach to new geographies, however, additional resources and coordination with UNHCR country teams would be required. Similarly, ongoing donor funding or fee for service by stakeholders offering complementary pathways would be required to support the ongoing activities of the Refugee Guidance Counsellors.