Community sponsorship programs are unique in their design and can pursue different objectives. When developing a program some overarching principles may need to be considered as they will have a direct impact on the program.
Among other principles, it is particularly important for those designing a community sponsorship program to consider the following:
- Protection is a central element of a community sponsorship program. The rights of refugees and their protection needs should be safeguarded, and considerations can be guided by international protection conventions and human rights treaties.
- Durable Solutions are the main goal of the international protection regime allowing refugees to live in dignity and peace by offering safety, security, and a legal status that preserves the quality of the program as a durable solution.
- International Responsibility Sharing is crucial to provide international protection and demonstrate solidarity, allowing States to help share and reduce the impact of forced displacement situations. Community sponsorship of refugees presents an opportunity to participate in international responsibility sharing at a local level.
- Additionality is a key principle to consider when designing a community sponsorship program. To contribute to available places for protection in a country, community sponsorship programs should be implemented in addition to existing resettlement and complementary pathways.
- Family reunification supports an individual's right to family life and should be a key policy design consideration for a community sponsorship program. The opportunity for refugees to bring their family members to safety also supports their integration process.
- Meaningful refugee participation will improve the program design, implementation, and evaluation as the input from those with lived experience adds valuable information and perspectives.
- Community Building is at the core of community sponsorship programs creating more welcoming and inclusive communities. Programs are based on a true partnership between the government and communities, that are empowered to act.
- Ongoing partnerships and accountability are an important part of community sponsorship programs that are designed and set up as public-private collaborations. This can include infrastructure to ensure ongoing dialogue between the stakeholders, as well as monitoring and evaluation activities to improve program and policy integrity and efficacy.