Blog Post

Immigrant and Refugee-serving Digital Messaging Summit presentations (webinar recording)

By: Marco Campana
November 17, 2022

Refugee 613's 2021 Digital Messaging Summit was a dynamic interactive gathering bringing practitioners together to share and learn practical strategies and advice about managing digital messaging services by and for immigrants and refugees and build a network of people working in this area.

Many newcomers use digital messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram and WeChat to find and share useful information. More and more service providers and community leaders are meeting them there, but it’s an evolving and new area with few guidelines or established best practices.

This embedded playlist provides you with all the presentations from the Summit:

  • Designing Inclusive Digital Spaces with Amira Dhalla
  • Choosing The Best Platform For Your Digital Messaging Service with Bahar Taheri
  • Tracking The Success Of Your Digital Messaging Service with Daniela Seskar-Hencic
  • Digital Messaging For Groups & One-on-One Service: Tips & Tricks with Lama Chami & Mohamad Awada
  • Digital Security: Helping Newcomers Protect Their Online Identity with eSkills Canada
  • The Reality Of Digital Messaging In 2021 with Sharon Nyangweso
  • Handling Mis/Dis-information In Your Digital Community with Susana Mas


Refugee 613's Digital Messaging for Settlement and Integration (DMSI) project is all about connecting newcomers with the information they need to successfully settle in Canada, when and where they need it. As a communications and mobilization organization, the team at Refugee 613 knew that traditional means of communicating information (websites, brochures) often don’t reach those most in need, which pushed us to explore new and better ways of sharing information. The DMSI project was a three year exploration of new ways to connect with newcomers using inexpensive, popular digital messaging platforms. The core principle of this project was to ‘go where the audience is’ to reach community members in places where they are already communicating and sharing information.

The project has since moved over to Telegram, which more robust group admin functionality, as well as capacity for larger groups (WhatsApp limits groups to 256 members). Refugee613 received funding to evaluate their approach, work with other settlement organizations to pilot innovative approaches to using digital messaging in service delivery, and to share their learning. The Digital Messaging for Settlement and Integration (DMSI) project hosted a national conference to share and continue the learning. These presentation videos are from that conference.

Refugee 613 also created a practical toolkit - Using Digital Messaging to Support Newcomer Communities - A Toolkit for Individuals and Organizations. Use it to help plan and review your digital messaging strategy.

Useful information in the toolkit includes:

  • How digital messaging can support newcomers
  • Tips for using digital messaging successfully
  • Stages and steps to follow, including selecting your platform, guidelines for organizing and running a digital messaging service, and evaluating how well it is working
  • Real-world examples of digital messaging in settlement and integration

The toolkit also provides sample checklists, policies, guidelines and tools that can help you set up and run your service with confidence.

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