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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Yes, And - Settling New Syrians

Ibbitson rightly gives credit to the Canadian government for stepping up and doing the right thing and so far managing the tricky balancing act of doing so in a way that doesn't blow up in anyone's face.

Fortunately for them - though not surprisingly - this isn't a challenge they've had to tackle alone.

In addition to sponsoring refugees and donating time and money to service providers, community groups across Canada have mobilized in creative, powerful ways.  Professionals are donating their services. businesses are donating space.  Groups of every day citizens are banding together, organizing clothing and backpack drives and inspiring other groups to form and do similar things.

Maybe this is what's happened with previous waves of refugees, to some degree - but this is the first time the Internet, Facebook and the like have been available to support and coordinate efforts.

Which isn't to say more coordination can't be done to better harness the good will and talent that's circulating out there, to say nothing of existing services.  This is actually a problem, as well-meaning folk recreate the wheel or confuse the process with the best intentions.

Funny enough, this reality is a microcosm of what's happening at the macro level with traditionally closed governments, service sectors and the like recognizing the need to collaborate better to be properly effective.

A team of us are working on a digital solution to help coordinate and empower the grassroots efforts around new Canadian settlement.  I have no doubt that this tool will have broader applicability down the road.

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