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Adapting Graduation for Refugees in Zambia – Case Study Brief

By: Sanchez, Ines A. & Simanowitz, Anton


Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration

Self Help Africa

Trickle Up


This brief case study presents Trickle Up’s experience working with UNHCR Zambia and implementing partner Self-Help Africa to adapt the Graduation Approach to the specific needs and context of refugees living in Zambia.

Over the past 50 years, Zambia has been a haven to refugees escaping conflict in surrounding countries, including Angola, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Somalia and Zimbabwe. The first significant influx of refugees in Zambia was from Angola, in the late 1960s in response to the anti-colonial liberation struggle from Portugal, and in the 1970s as a result of civil conflict. The next wave of refugees came from Mozambique and Namibia in the 1980s as a result of civil war, and then from Rwanda following the genocide in 1994. Most current refugees arrive as a result of the ongoing conflicts in the DRC. In 2017, some 100,000 Congolese fled to neighboring countries, joining the 585,000 already in exile. Nearly 55 percent are children, many crossing borders unaccompanied or separated. Zambia currently hosts over 76,000 persons of concern, including 50,000 refugees (83% from the DRC), 23,000 Rwandan and Angolan former refugees who have been given the opportunity for local integration and eventually citizenship, and 3,000 asylums seekers.

Adapting Graduation for Refugees in Zambia - Case Study Brief