Rapid Results Institute

Stamford, CT, United States
Watch the video Watch the video

  • Human Services, Health, Economic Opportunity

  • Denmark | Germany | Norway | Sweden

  • Economically disadvantaged people, Children and youth, Refugees and displaced people

  • Public charity

  • $1,681,446 (2015)

  • 9

Executive Summary

Integrating refugees into host communities is a daunting challenge that our global community faces. This is not a new issue for countries where civil strife has been the norm for decades. But it has become more visible as it has challenged European countries in recent years. And it will only be exacerbated in coming decades, as climate change forces massive migrations from coastal areas. At the heart of solving this problem is the emergence of new ways of viewing the 'other', between 'receiving' and 'arriving' communities alike. We can facilitate this shift in mindset, from 'self' and 'other' to 'we and us', by curating carefully choreographed 100 day challenges that foster intense collaboration and innovation. We have done this repeatedly in a variety of contexts. With 100&Change's support, starting in Denmark, Germany and Nordic countries, we aim to help communities ('hosts' and 'refugees') co create new ways of living together.

Watch the video

The Problem

Many European countries are wrestling with the challenge of integrating refugees into their communities. Generally, municipalities are tasked with solving the issues of housing, education, employment, mental and physical health and social/cultural integration of refugees. There is consensus that the results of these efforts are falling short of aspirations of host communities and refugees. To illustrate, among individuals aged 18 65 years immigrating to Denmark from Iraq, Iran, Syria and Afghanistan in 2009 2013, only between 11.7% (Afghanistan) and 18.5% (Iraq) had found jobs after four years. This is creating a vicious circle: Many individuals in host communities feel that immigrant refugees are siphoning resources out of the social welfare system. And young immigrants are at risk of marginalization as they lose dignity and agency over their lives and livelihood. This problem directly impacts more than 60 million refugees worldwide, including millions aspiring to integrate into European communities. It is also fanning the flames of xenophobic movements in Europe and elsewhere. Time is not our friend here. The problem will be magnified as a result of migrations induced by climate change, and increasingly xenophobic attitudes will make just solutions harder to implement. The responses fall in two categories: Efforts by local governments to mobilize state resources and channel them towards housing, education, etc. And efforts by small nonprofits to create niche solutions to specific issues: employment; cultural integration; etc. Neither is sufficient. And they do not get to one of the core elements of the problem: how we view 'the other'.

Proposed Solution

We are not proposing a solution, in the traditional sense of the word. Like many problems we have worked on, we doubt that there is 'a solution' to this one. Instead, we propose creating a 'replicable container' for accelerating the emergence of solutions that will likely differ from one community to the next, and that will likely vary over time within the same community. These containers will take the form of '100 day challenges' that small teams of hosts and refugees from each community will tackle, with support from local coaches/facilitators that we will train. The challenges will be shaped with municipal and community leaders, with input from refugees, and they will focus on accelerating progress towards housing, education, health care, income generation or other related outcomes. Importantly, the teams will have full agency in setting goals and developing plans to tackle their challenges, and they will be given the freedom to experiment with their ideas and solutions outside the usual bureaucratic procedures and approvals. Each of these challenges, in addition to generating specific results in the targeted outcomes, will be designed as a crucible for intense collaboration and value exchange between refugees and hosts in the community. Two other 'softer' but critical outcomes will emerge: Trust between refugees and members of their host community: the 'other' becomes part of the 'we' Stronger sense of dignity among refugees as they shift from charity cases to partners and contributors to their own solutions and to the well being of their host community.

Evidence of Effectiveness

We have used 100 day challenges to help communities tackle diverse problems and to change the impact and the narratives surrounding these problems. In the US, our 100 day challenge work fueled the 100,000 Homes Campaign in 2013 (aimed at helping communities house 100,000 chronically homeless individuals). We introduced 100 day challenges into more than 60 communities participating in the Campaign. The number of chronically homeless individuals housed in Campaign communities in the two years prior to that was 20,000. Within a year of the program, the number went to 50,000. And by the end of the second year, communities had housed 105,000 individuals. In Eritrea, we used 100 day challenges to help the Ministry of Health tackle HIV/AIDS prevention. One focus was HIV/AIDS prevention at schools. After the initial few cycles that we directly supported, the Ministry of Education funded and organized a replication campaign, where each school in the country ran its own 100 day challenge. The process and results were documented as a chapter in a book on HIV/AIDS prevention published by the World Bank (Source Book on HIV/AIDS Prevention Programs, Volume 2: Education Sector Wide Approaches). Evidence of the shift in relationships was most visible in a program we developed for improving health and safety conditions in manufacturing facilities in Brazil and Turkey. The program involved organizing worker/manager teams to tackle specific H&S issues within 100 days. Apart from the dramatic impact on indicators like evacuation time and accident reduction, the program shifted adversarial worker/manager relationships into respectful and trustful ones.

Previous Performance

Our team developed and pioneered the core disciplines and practices of the 100 day challenge, and we continually adapt and sharpen the tools to deploy it. Among the team members we are fielding on this program are catalysts who have applied this approach in a variety of contexts: Working with HUD and the VA to help US communities tackle chronic and veteran homelessness. Working with NHS England to help local councils, clinical commissioning groups, and hospital trusts integrate social and health care. Working with manufacturers in Brazil and Turkey to integrate the efforts of workers and managers to tackle safety and health issues in the work place. Working with a number of Ministers of Health in African countries to tackle issues of HIV/AIDS prevention, family planning, and maternal and child health. Even though our team is small, we have been the catalysts for creating an impact that is hugely disproportionate to our size. Our work and its impact has been featured in the New York Times, Foreign Policy magazine, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and Harvard Business Review. For this program, we have partnered with organizations that will enable to extend our reach, sharpen our methods, and go to scale fast.

The Team

Team Purpose

The Rapid Results Institute works with communities, organizations, and governments to bridge the gap between aspirations and impact related to critical societal problems. We bring methods for unleashing the capabilities of people directly experiencing and confronting these problems. We have uncovered a phenomenon that emerges as a natural by product of the work we do: people involved develop a new sense of identity and deeper connections with each other. This is our inspiration for tackling this challenge. It gets to core principles that define our identity and our work: equity, inclusiveness, social justice, and respect for human dignity. Our partners in the submission are also passionate about unleashing human potential and about the importance of building bridges within and across communities. The German Red Cross is actively working on refugee integration. The other attribute we share with our other partners is a commitment to solve complex societal problems, at scale.

Team Structure

The core team will be comprised of four Rapid Results 'Catalysts'. They will take the lead on adapting the choreography, training local implementing partners, and providing quality assurance on the design and execution of 100 day challenges. They will be supported by our ME&L officer, who will also manage contracts with external evaluation firms. We will hire the following resources to work on the program on full time basis: Adult learning & curriculum development expert Communications and online community engagement expert Project manager Accountant Guidance and support to the Catalysts will be provided by the President (on half time basis), and supervision and support to the non catalyst members of the team will be provided by our COO (on half time basis) Red Cross Societies will provide in country convening, organizing, and facilitation support for 100 day challenges. Implement Consulting Group will provide advisory support to Red Cross Societies, leadership coaching to municipal leaders, and project management support, in Germany and Nordic countries. The Billions Institute will advise on design and implementation of our scale up strategies. CauseLabs will build a peer learning platform and develop customized digital dissemination tools. Social Kinetic will lead on ethnographic studies we will conduct before launching 100 day challenges in each country.