Camp to campUs

Once you are no longer fleeing you stop being a refugee. Once you have nowhere to go, where ever you are becomes your home. That does make sense, right? But still we have the tendency to call men and women refugees while they are already building up a new life.

Movement on the Ground does not speak of a camp but of a village, a campUs. And like everywhere else in the world, we call the person living in the village a resident. It might be just a matter of speech but the ideology behind these words embodies our Camp to Campus philosophy. 

Just like any other community we want the residents to have a place to meet each other, to have education, to have health care, to have nutritious daily meals, to have sport facilities and to have a centre for arts and music. On top of that we are aiming to make the refugee camps sustainable, self-sufficient and innovative for instance by cooking with local ingredients and installing solar panels.

We want our Camp to Campus philosophy to be the blueprint for ALL refugee camps in the world! We will use all our expertise, experience and resources to make that happen.


The Camp to campUs philosophy outlines the process of transforming refugee hotspots into communities that are safe, sustainable, healing and enabling. A campUs provides:

  • An active community that feels empowered and treats their environment with respect and care

  • Engaging programs including; waste management, sports, gardening, education and vocational training

  • Adequate infrastructure including; dignified shelter, electricity provision, Wi-Fi, recreational areas


The Camp to campUs philosophy most importantly engages the refugee population. This is based on the fact that refugees – or better referred to as residents – should be actively involved in the daily operations of the campUs.

From the very first activities of MOTG in 2015, residents approached the organisation to become involved and take part in the building of a campUs. By giving residents control over their living environment, they feel empowered and can use their time, knowledge, and skills to better the community. The immediate consequence of this is that the community feels more responsible for their living environment and will therefore treat it with care. The community also looks out for each other, checks in during food distributions, repairs broken tents for each other, which all improves the feeling of safety and security on the campUs.

Working with community volunteers is a cost-efficient way to run a campUs. A large number of activities and campUs maintenance can be done by community volunteers in exchange for a fair incentive pack. This makes the whole model of a refugee camp more self-sustaining and sustainable. 

“I started with Movement On The Ground because I was an electrical power engineer in the automation field. I had the right experience to work with the electricity team in Kara Tepe. I thought with my knowledge I can really help Movement On The Ground to serve others.” MOTG Community Volunteer

In 2020, MOTG worked with over 300 community volunteers across its locations, where the community takes up roles in construction, food distribution, translating, teaching, cleaning and sports.