JOINT LEARNING INITIATIVE ON FAITH AND LOCAL COMMUNITIES
TOR for JLI F&LC Learning Hub on Refugees and Forced Migration
Purpose of the Group
The intention of this Hub is to be a horizontal learning community that links academics, policy makers and practitioners working on issues of forced migration and refugee protection. Framing questions for the Hub are listed below and will be refined further through evidence scoping and policy dialogue in the first phase of the Hub.
- What roles have faith-based actors played to support refugees throughout different stages and different spaces of their journeys?
- What evidence exists of faith-based initiatives to support refugees having had a positive impact on protection outcomes?
- To what extent, and how, are local faith communities and religious leaders promoting refugees’ protection and resilience?
- How do the theological reflections of local faith communities on issues around forced migration, hospitality and solidarity influence their approaches?
- How effective are current partnerships and relationships between faith communities and the mainstream humanitarian architecture/formal protection mechanisms?
- What lessons can be drawn from the ways that specific faith groups/communities interact with refugees?
For more information on the Hub members see the background section and list of organisations at the end of the document.
Any research conducted would be expected to adhere to academic values and principles including respect for academic independence, a focus on academic excellence and an aspiration to develop practical recommendations based on evidence generated by research.
The goal would be to arrive at practical actionable recommendations in these areas (for programmes and policy) that JLI members would be encouraged to implement in their own organisations, use to potentially influence the practice of others, and which could increase effective partnerships/collaboration between members of the Hub (secular and faith based) in refugee protection. The Hub will aim to identify and examine what we know within these areas, how we can better communicate this, and then to identify gaps in knowledge which can then be addressed through further research and learning (with an emphasis on practical application afterwards).
The interest in significance of faith in processes of forced migration has been steadily growing over the last few years, with many faith-based agencies, including humanitarian/development INGOs, looking at such issues in more depth and reflecting this in growing programmatic portfolios, collaborations and research. This interest is not confined to faith-based agencies, with growing interest also found amongst secular agencies – including in development, humanitarian and peace building sectors. The academic literature on these subjects is expanding rapidly and most current projections of future conflict trends feature prominent emphasis on faith-related conflicts. Beyond faith and non faith-based agencies, and academic stakeholders, external interest has also been demonstrated by DfID, the UN, the EU, AUSAID, and the US State Department. Networks of foundations are also showing interest.
In mid-2016, members of the former JLI F&LF Hub on Resilience in Humanitarian Situations began exploring whether a faith and forced migration Hub under the ‘Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and local communities” (http://jliflc.com) would be the most appropriate way of bringing together the variety of stakeholders working on/interested in this area. After initial scoping to see if there was interest, and ruling out whether other platforms were suitable, the concept of the Hub was endorsed by the JLI Steering Committee. A first meeting will be held in July 2016 with interested academics and agencies, to further refine which specific issues within the scope of ‘faith and forced migration’ organisations would potentially want to explore in detail. At the same time a more proactive outreach will take place to extend the reach of the Hub. A survey will be sent out in autumn 2016 to assist in narrowing down which areas the Hub will focus on. The results of this survey will be used to inform the on-gong revision of this TOR.
The convening co-chairs of the JLI F&LC Learning Hub on Refugees and Forced Migration are:
Sadia Kidwai, Islamic Relief and Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Reader in Human Geography, Co-Director of the Migration Research Unit, and Coordinator of Refuge in a Moving World (University College London)
The Hub chairs would guide the development and production of a scoping paper, coordinate learning and sharing amongst the group on an on-going basis and also provide leadership for any research pieces that emerge from the hub.
Membership of the JLI F&LC Learning Hub on Forced Migration is international and open to any expert working on refugees and forced migration, and will include members from global south and north, drawn from the worlds of academia, policy and practice. It aims to have members representing expertise in a diverse cross section of different faith-based groups (including Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, etc) as well as groups and individuals who identify as secular or non-faith based.
Expectations of Members
Learning Hub members will participate as both holders and seekers of evidence and will be expected to participate actively in the shaping of the Hub itself, including the development of research questions, the process of evidence gathering, and providing oversight and contributions to the preparation and editing of the Scoping Report.
Specific expectations – members will:
- ensure as far as possible that the most suitable person(s) in their organisation is/are engaging with the Hub, whilst acknowledging that there is flexibility given organisational changes in focus and staff changes.
- suggest other members of the group.
- complete surveys to help frame the Hub’s overarching areas of focus.
- share existing learning on key thematic areas (studies, reports, case-studies etc), through the Hub web page and meetings, and engage with the insights shared by other agencies.
- participate and help frame the research questions (for scoping paper and main research paper)
- circulate and widely distribute surveys to partners and networks (where relevant) to draw in additional Hub members and get their input.
- review draft reports, including the scoping and main research reports.
- contribute evidence as appropriate (e.g. suggesting partners, facilitating visits, providing case studies etc) and helping to seek sponsorship of reports where possible.
- provide guidance for a summary policy note based on the scoping report
- disseminate the reports internally for learning purposes and commit to reporting back on take up/learning and engagement with the wider group on next steps.
- seek opportunities to present the scoping study, its recommendations and policy brief to relevant policy makers and practitioners.
The JLI F&LC Learning Hub on Refugees and Forced Migration is expected to last for 3 years and the stages of a hub would be as follows (roughly):
- Consultation and formation of the group
- Scoping: a review will be conducted of ‘what is out there’ and ‘what is being done’ with regards to relevant thematic sub areas. These may include a particular focus on ‘gender, intersectionality and forced migration’; ‘LFCs, material assistance and solidarity for refugees’; and ‘LFCs and safe passage for refugees’). A scoping study, annotated bibliography and summary note will be produced. This will be led by the Academic Co-Chair of the Hub with the active involvement of the other Co-Chairs. This would lead to outlining a number of questions and areas where further research needs to be conducted.
- Learning and sharing: Ongoing learning and sharing of existing analysis, research, debates and evidence relating to key thematic areas and trends within the Hub, to encourage collective learning, dialogue and influence and identify future opportunities for collaboration.
- Research: based on questions and gaps identified in the scoping phase, funding would be sought for specific projects, each led by an academic partner (not necessarily the Co-Chair). The Hub’s role will be to identify funding opportunities and encourage Hub members to do the same so that research gaps can be addressed. The Hub may also link members from academia, policy and practice in research collaborations, as other JLI Hubs have done in the past.
- Dissemination: The policy and practice implications of the research would be fed back as learning to members, to digest internally, further other collaboration, and also be used in advocacy to wider policy, practitioner and academic communities.
- Public Outreach: The broader implications of the research would also be shared widely with interested public audiences, including through media outputs, contributions to online fora, and relevant public events.
- Hub sustainability: It is anticipated that the Hub would help form partnerships and relationships that would endure beyond its official lifespan of 3 years. If members so wished, discussions can occur about how to continue such a platform beyond its JLI lifespan.
- Learning Hubs operate virtually, generally meeting by conference call, initially once a month (TBC), and actively collaborating over a three year period.
- JLI F&LC provides limited financial support for research assistance for the Scoping report, and coordination and linkage to other Hubs and to the JLI Steering Committee, through its Coordinator.
Hub timeframe (approximate)
Stage 1. July – September 2016
- ToR finalised
- Co-Chairs and Hub members identified
- Hub officially launched & first meeting held in September 2016 at the UN Refugee Summit
- Online JLI F&LC website presence established
Stage 2. Mapping (approx October 2016 – October 2017), as well as ongoing learning in the Hub
- Specific ToR for Scoping Study agreed by members, with questions, processes and leads identified and confirmed.
- Scoping process begun, first draft completed and circulated for members for feedback , document finalised and launched. Summary Policy Note developed, finalized and disseminated.
- Powerpoint presentation on Scoping Report developed for use by Hub members in presentations
- Members post resources on the web-based Hub page
Stage 3. Learning and sharing (across all three years of the project, 2016-2019)
- Hub continues to meet with members sharing other learning and new projects at meetings and virtually via website.
- New Hub members continue to join and sharing learning.
Stage 4: Research stage (over course of 2nd & 3rd years of the hub, 2017 – 2019)
- Based on research questions in the scoping paper, collaborations / partnerships will be encouraged between potential funders, research institutions and other JLI members, to address these areas and undertake discrete pieces of research. Other members can feed into this in terms of case studies, reviewing, assistance to find funding etc.
Stage 5: Dissemination (over course of 2nd & 3rd years of the hub, 2017-2019)
- JLI Hub on Refugees and Forced migration research is disseminated amongst members and also other external stakeholders.
- Co-Chairs and Hub Members share insights from the Scoping Survey to public fora
- Paper(s) submitted to peer-reviewed journal
- Learning is internalised as well as discussed in the hubs.
- Learning is showcased at high level events to inform policy and practitioner discussions.