Today, over half of the world’s refugee population is children and youth. With so many young people on the move, it’s part of Scouting’s responsibility to actively reach out to and welcome displaced and stateless young people into Scout groups and educational offerings. 

WOSM and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), have been partners since signing their first Memorandum of Understanding at the 18th World Scout Jamboree in Dronten, Netherlands in 1995. National Scout Organizations (NSOs) have been working with refugee populations for decades, both in cities and urban areas as well as directly in refugee settlements, such as the Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya where there are more than 1,500 Scouts living as refugees in the camp as of 2020 or the Hatay province in Turkey.

On 3 April 2020, UNHCR and WOSM’s partnership was renewed with a Memorandum of Understanding to encourage collaboration between NSOs and UNHCR country presences across a number of key areas listed below. NSOs and UNCHR country presences are encouraged to match their current strategic priorities to understand how each partner can benefit by working together, and inform your World Scout Bureau Regional Support Centre of the collaboration. 

Types of support available:

  • Event and training support
  • Technical support for diversity and inclusion
  • Support for Scouting activities within refugee settlements
  • Advocacy collaboration

Areas of cooperation:

  • Increasing the protection space for displaced and stateless children and youth
  • Advocacy and outreach on stateless and displacement issues
  • Inclusion of stateless and displaced children and youth
  • Engagement and capacity development of stateless children and youth
  • Identifying and promoting solutions for stateless children and youth
  • Enhance the protection space for displaced and stateless children and youth through the delivery of non-formal education activities aimed at building self-protective skills, capacities and leadership competencies.

How NSOs can benefit: 

  • Support in welcoming stateless or displaced children and youth into the Scouting programme
  • Technical expertise that the NSO may not have in-house
  • Support in advocacy efforts around stateless and displacement issues
  • Credibility and institutional support for the work of Scouting
  • Closer collaboration with the UN system that may help open other doors
  • Access to camps where both parties agree Scouting activities should be developed
  • Volunteering opportunities with UNHCR

Key actions:

For support to get in touch with your local UNHCR Country Office, please contact

Annie Weaver, Senior Manager for Partnerships and Advocacy

For support in strengthening your NSOs work in Humanitarian Action, please consult the Humanitarian Action service on WOSM Services

For support in developing a relationship with UNHCR or formalising your collaboration with a partnership agreement, please consult the Partnerships Service on the WOSM Service Platform

Related stories:

UNHCR and Scouting Announce New Global Partnership

Scouts Gain Insights After Stepping into the Lives of Refugees 

UNHCR and Scouting Explore Plans to Strengthen Collaboration 

Case Studies:

Beyond Borders and Boundaries, Scouting Embraces Refugees Worldwide

Scouting Brings Hope, Sense of Belonging and Life-changing Opportunities to Young People at Dadaab Refugee Camp

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