Increasing Faith Voices in Support of LGBTI Migrant & Refugee Protection

South Africa, Kenya

In much of the world, LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers are doubly marginalized because of both their status as forcibly displaced persons and their sexual orientation or gender identity. The protection of refugees and migrants is an area where global interfaith agreement and collaboration is historically strong, but the needs of LGBTI refugees and migrants are not consistently identified and addressed by faith groups in ways that improve protection.

As a global, faith-based humanitarian organization, CWS has sought to strengthen its response to the specific protection needs of LGBTI forced migrants in its refugee and migration services. With support from the Arcus Foundation, in 2014 CWS began outreach to faith community groups in Kenya, South Africa and the U.S. The goals of this effort have been to improve access to protection by LGBTI forced migrants, while also encouraging LGBTI-inclusive approaches more broadly among both faith-based organizations and civil society partners.

The “101” workshops provide an introduction to diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity, and practical advice on improving access to services and protection by LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers.

CWS also organized two dialogue activities in Kenya, which provide opportunities for faith leaders, civil society and community representatives to exchange information and perspectives, and ideally identify common ground for joint action. These dialogues addressed the role of scripture in inclusivity, and ways that faith actors can promote the health and well-being of LGBTI forced migrants.

Key Partners

Arcus Foundation


280 individuals trained via “101” workshops
70 faith leaders and civil society representatives engaged in dialogue
Two workshops in Johannesburg, 70 faith leaders trained.