Refugee camps are similar to regular old towns in many ways. They can be home to several thousand residents, and some are as big as large cities. With so many people living together, sometimes in close proximity, a group or structure to organize the camp and the camp residents is usually a necessity.
Refugee camps are also similar to towns and cities in that many have existed for long periods of time. Although they’re always established as a temporary solution, camps usually remain for years – Alight manages Nakivale refugee settlement in Uganda, for example, which was founded in 1958. Camps are diverse, sometimes with many different nationalities, ethnicities, and religions represented.
Imagine the city or town you live in is lacking a public works department or economic development office. Just as those roles and jobs are vital at the municipal level, so they are absolutely necessary inside of refugee camps.
A primary role of a camp manager is to coordinate all of the agencies and actors working inside of a refugee camp. Camp managers are tasked with understanding the needs inside a camp, knowing what services are being provided by which agencies, and identifying any gaps between the two. We coordinate agencies to ensure that there is no duplication of efforts and services are provided to camp residents in a consistent manner.
As the principal source of information, the camp manager can notify the UN High Commissioner for Refugees or other funding partners when an issue arises or a gap in services exists in a camp, and recommend strategies for addressing the problem.
We also create systems, structures, and mechanisms for camp residents to participate in the decision-making and daily life of the camp. This can include creating structures for refugees to have a voice and representation in their community.. Just as in a democracy officials are elected from specific jurisdictions, each sector of a camp is represented on a camp council. Representatives are the first notified of developments related to the camp and are expected to communicate with their constituents. Sector representatives also bring forward new problems or issues in need of resolution.
Alight currently provides camp management services in: