For two days, September 8-9, ECDC gathered 13 staff from 10 local resettlement offices across the country who have been piloting co-sponsorship programs over the past year. The workshop was held in Arlington, Va., and was facilitated by ECDC national staff.
There is a saying that goes: It takes a village to raise a child. Similarly, it takes a village to support a person during a humanitarian crisis. With record-high humanitarian needs worldwide, this year’s World Humanitarian Day builds on this metaphor of collective endeavor to grow global appreciation of humanitarian work.
“We recognize that we cannot undo hundreds of years of history or things that may happen elsewhere, but at least here in our community [Arlington], we can affirmatively stand up and say that not only do we believe that all are welcome, but we are going to build our local community to make that so….”
In commemoration of World Refugee Day, Department of State officials visited agencies serving refugees, including ECDC’s Silver Spring, Maryland, branch office, to have informal, first-hand discussions with the refugees, community sponsors, and volunteers.
As the next step in its launch of a national co-sponsorship program, ECDC held three days of training in the past month for 14 staff from 10 affiliates. During the training, ECDC’s national Community Engagement department shared guidelines, tips, and materials that staff can use to recruit and train co-sponsorship teams.
ECDC is taking steps to increase the participation of local community members in welcoming and integrating newly arriving refugee families by starting up co-sponsorship programs in several locations across its affiliate network.