1.A Using this Guidebook
This Guidebook was created to help public servants, civil society organizations, and community members research and design community-based refugee sponsorship programs in their countries. It divides a program model into ‘building blocks’, based on Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees system.
These building blocks represent the components of community sponsorship that people should consider when developing their own programs. While Canada’s program is successful, it will not work in every country; the Guidebook is designed to encourage and support local actors as they design something tailored to their own context.
With its examples and case studies, the Guidebook also deals specifically and in a detailed way with the role of private sponsors in Canada’s resettlement program. With this material, it intends to demonstrate how Canada’s government structures its program and how civil society and private sponsors have organized in Canada. Canada’s program has evolved considerably since it began and is just one example of how government and civil society can collaborate to provide protection to refugees and support their settlement once they arrive in their new country. It is not the only way, but it is one strong example from which other countries and civil society actors may draw inspiration.
Canada’s model is also not perfect – Canadians are still learning and continuously evolving their program. Canada has a powerful tool that enables robust citizen engagement in refugee resettlement but it does not have a model that can or should be replicated exactly by another country. The Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative hopes that this Guidebook will support local actors seeking to learn more about community sponsorship as well as offer concrete guidance to those working to design community sponsorship programs tailored to their own context.