Inclusivity for
Danish Refugees

Violence continued to force people to flee. In 2018, the proportion of the world’s displaced population continued to rise. In UNHCR Global Trend Forced Displacement reported, 1.1 million people were reported as new refugees during 2018. Every host country had to address this challenge. Our team strived for Danish refugees to integrate into their new lives.

Design Thinking
& Research

9 mins Read

1.

Background

Referring to the refugee population, UNHCR Global Trend Report↗︎ indicated the global shift towards living in urban areas rather than rural areas. In response to the trend, UNHCR adopted an urban refugee policy, Cities of Solidarity↗︎, to support the inclusion of refugees into urban communities. 

population-map

2.

Product Goal

As Cities of Solidarity started to play its role, this project became part of the extension, which revolved around designing an experience to be intentionally inclusive of needs we discover in our team research. The main goal was to improve the experience of living in Copenhagen feel more inclusive to refugees in a cultural way in the context of SDGs↗︎.

My Role

User Research
& Prototyping

Challenge

To meet the design goal, the process of designing is a painstaking trial-and-error effort. As a beginner to design sprint, I was initially not used to the fast-paced working style. The team and I were required to quickly understand the entire Danish refugee context and get basic research findings on tight schedules. 

sprint

3.

Research

We conducted a series of interviews with resettled refugees and relevant community managers. From the interview, we learned that when many refugees first entered Denmark, they had difficulty accessing any information from local communities. They don't know where to get it and how to get it. Some of them took at least years to integrate into local culture and felt psychologically tortured.

Vinícius Haesbaert
Community Manager at UNHCR

"Refugees take at least 10 years to feel integrated." 
He currently manages a community of practice and the revamping of the biggest website for asylum lawyers.

Vinícius Haesbaert
"Refugees take at least 10 years to feel integrated." 

Community Manager at UNHCR
He currently manages a community of practice and the revamping of the biggest website for asylum lawyers.

DFUNK↗︎
Danish Refugee Council Youth

"Having a mentor or helping hand is essential in making refugees feel at home."
It's an association of young people, working to improve the conditions of refugees in Denmark and Internationally.

Durum Bar↗︎
Middle Eastern Kebab Restaurant

"Double Identity. Something Good" 
The owner, a resettled refugee, has been running the Middle Eastern kebab restaurant in Copenhagen for many years.

On the other hand, We were told that refugees would feel more at home if Danish had a more open mind in the first place. In summary, our need-finding interview reveals problems in emotional support, social connection, language, and accessibilities.

lychee©Synthesizing

Synthesis Research Results

lychee©Interviewing

The Research Team and DFunk Manager

The Research Team and DFunk Manager

lychee©Interviewing_2

Interviewing in DFunk

4.

Insight

While we synthesized research results on the board and thought out loud, we could clearly see the needs of the refugees, and we identified two key points. One was that refugees were enabled to connect with Danish before refugees and locals started interacting one or one with each other. Additionally informed by our research, as part of the resettlement process, Danish refugees must first undergo health assessments. In other words, their health check could be a touchpoint in the physical world.

After voting within the group, we marked the problem statement — how might we create a welcoming experience for refugees at the first health check so that they feel more inclusive in a cultural way. During brainstorming, we initially proposed a new application with greater user satisfaction to address the problems outlined in our need thesis — emotional support, social connection, language, and accessibilities. 

As the more we deeply discussed, the more we believed that our design solution should be really simple and accessible social-emotional concepts. Instead of an application waiting for Danish refugees to download, we insisted on looking not only at the people involved, but also the products they use, environments they will live in, and the processes they will go. A helping hand in refugees' adjustment to their new lives, The Welcome Box, finally emerged from the ground.

lychee©Researching

Ideation

lychee©How Might We

How Might We

lychee©Ideation

Design Solution

lychee©Prototyping

Prototype

lychee©User Approach

Storytelling

5.

Prototype

The Welcome Box is a guide to refugees entering Denmark for the first time, containing five kits which lay out the central ideas on how to integrate local culture into their new lives. Based on eight dimensions of wellness↗︎, we bring intellectual, physical, social, and spiritual wellness into this set of kits.

It is filled with considerate tips and resources on coping with what every Danish refugee will face as they build a new life. Our team expects The Welcome Box to be a celebration for their fresh start and also a rich resource for building new connections.

In The Welcome Letter:
The first thing refugees see when they open The Welcome Box is the red heart. We set a positive context and show respect for the people themselves and their culture. Besides, the welcome letter is about sharing true personal experiences and mindset written by the refugees, who have been living in Denmark for several years.

On Spiritual Needs:
Religious beliefs can provide purpose and direction in refugees' lives. This kit shows the addresses of all cathedrals.

On Spiritual Needs:
Religious beliefs can provide purpose and direction in refugees' lives. This kit shows the addresses of all cathedrals.

On Language:
Denmark is a native Danish-speaking country. Even supposing all locals speak English, what refugees see on the street or on the supermarket shelves is basically Danish. As new foreigners to Denmark, Danish refugees need a language interpreter to adapt to an unfamiliar language environment.

About Social Connections:
It focuses on building supportive relationships with the locals and Danish refugees to encourage communication and trust. The kit provides introductions to local volunteers and social connections, as well as information on relevant community events.

On Health Checkup Guide:
As part of the resettlement process, Danish refugees will first undergo health assessments. They will be given The Welcome Box before the assessment and have this health checkup guide so that they know the process in advance.

On Health Checkup Guide:
As part of the resettlement process, Danish refugees will first undergo health assessments. They will be given The Welcome Box before the assessment and have this health checkup guide so that they know the process in advance.

6.

Takeaway

Unlike previous projects I'd done, I noticed Inclusion design was about neither focusing on the design details of a certain point nor creating inventive solutions. It required me to look at the bigger picture. The team had to understand user diversity and determine what functionality and features The Welcome Box should include.

From initial findings to usability testing, research has played a vital role. In desk research as a researcher, rather than understand Danish refugee context, it is important to go deeper into the full picture between the locals and refugees.

In addition, to make refugees feel truly included, the team needs to create an enduring, delightful, engaging product experience by understanding how refugees emotionally connect to Welcome Box kits.

In the next phase, our team will conduct numerous rounds of user testing to check experience issues and iterate through the cycle until the best experience solution is explored and then put back into development.

Credits

2018-2019 

Location
United Nations City
Copenhagen

Workshop
Design for Inclusion
CIID Summer School 
in partnership with UNHCR

Design Director 
Minnie Bredouw
Deirdre Cerminaro
(IDEO)

Interviewee 
Vinícius Haesbaert (UNHCR)
DFunk
Durum Bar

Team Member
Lychee
Jessica
Simon
Charmaine

Photography
Jessica
Lychee
Simon

Team Member
Lychee
Jessica
Simon
Charmaine

Photography
Jessica
Lychee
Simon