EXPERT PRACTITIONER PANEL 2:
Participation in Policy, Advocacy & Governance
Co-creating advocacy priorities & actions: community-based sponsorship
Bekele Woyecha, UK Welcomes Refugees
Bekele Woyecha of SHARE Network partner UK Welcomes Refugees presented the participatory approach to governance and advocacy adopted by his organisation in the field of community-based sponsorship.
UK Welcomes Refugees is a new organisation, founded in July 2020 to ensure the inclusion of those with lived experience in the wider community sponsorship movement in the UK, ensuring their voice is heard in policy and decision-making. 'People with lived experience' of sponsorship includes both sponsored families/individuals, and those welcoming and supporting refugees as volunteer sponsors.
Member organisations of UK Welcomes Refugees act as delegates who communicate the views and experiences of volunteer sponsoring groups working at local level, which together with input from sponsored refugees steers the governance and advocacy priorities of the organisation.
UK Welcomes Refugees also undertakes advocacy and alliance-building activities in support of building a more welcoming UK in which community-based sponsorship can flourish. A mid-2021 conference is planned to bring together member organisations, sponsors and sponsored refugees to agree priorities for a national campaign addressing an aspect of sponsorship, asylum or integration policy, to be undertaken in the year following.