A pivotal moment for Techfugees chapters

Our CEO, Joséphine Goube, recaps a gathering of Techfugees’ chapters representatives from all over the world and unveils our next move…

A long weekend produced big results as we welcomed some of the Techfugees Chapters’ leads from seven nations to Station F in Paris for our first Summer Bootcamp. This was a chance to reflect, collaborate, and pool ideas for our next years’ roadmap as an impact-driven global organisation.

Recent months showed us the benefits of sharing experiences across chapters and, if not standardizing our approach, at least uniting behind the same impact goals.

The time has come to be more than a decentralized network, establishing the tools for an agreed level of coordination between chapters.

This is a big change whose time has come. Techfugees began in response to the so-called refugee crisis of the mid-2010s; with the narrative changing alongside the challenges facing displaced people, we’re evolving to maintain momentum and make a bigger impact.

Playing to our strengths

Our chapter leads were quick to diagnose a key problem blocking us from meeting our full potential. Working in so many different contexts, it’s impossible to produce one unified solution to every problem faced by refugees.

The entrepreneurial approach which works so well in France and Germany was of limited use in Belgrade and Beirut, where refugees face greater political as well as logistical adversity.

For years, we’ve relied on the simple goodwill and commitment of our volunteers. They’ve taken us so far and achieved great things, but our growing pains were beginning to show.

What we needed wasn’t just a new way of working, but a new way of thinking; a fresh vision for what we set out to achieve each morning.

From vision to impact

In the past, chapters were set up based on the goodwill of the local community; applicable skills were great, but not our main focus. Now, with an agreed strategy both for existing chapters and the creation of new ones, we can be more tactical and maximize our long-term impact. We’re putting the right people with the right talents in the right places.

By targeting locations where refugee populations intersect with thriving tech scenes, we devote energy more effectively to four big goals for the next two years:

  • Expand Techfugees’ activities closer to tech hubs and refugee situations
  • Keep the community growing with an equal or improved ratio of displaced people involved in Techfugees events
  • Support refugee recruitment by the tech industry around the world 
  • Give rise to more tech for refugees projects and support them until refugees can finally hold them in their hands

Distilling our efforts down to these four goals lets us do more with less. A big bit of work and brainstorming during the bootcamp concerned the way in which we measure each chapter’s contribution to our global impact, where each succeeds in a very different way.

Previously, chapters were provided with a toolkit which they used with our guidance to replicate the success of other chapters. Now, chapter leads will be  able to more openly meet our common global impact objectives.

What’s our next move?

As we move forward, our sights move to where we might welcome our next new chapter leads. Nigeria, Canada, and soon Turkey are all promising candidates, each bringing interesting new contexts where we can meet our impact objectives.

But for those wanting to get involved, now really is the time to join an existing chapter near you and pitch in with the amazing work already being done. 

On behalf of the entire worldwide Techfugees community, thank you to the chapter leads for making this happen. We look forward to seeing you again at our next Global Summit early 2020.

This post was written by the team at Sookio.

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