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Building Self-Reliance for Refugees – Project Brief

By: Sanchez, Ines A. & Simanowitz, Anton


Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration

Trickle Up


This brief presents an overview of the Building Self-Reliance for Refugees project, performance against project objectives, and lessons from a 10 country pilot project with Trickle Up and UNHCR. It includes a brief overview of an analytical framework for understanding how organizations can respond to the needs of refugees using the Graduation Approach.

According to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, both the number of people affected by forced displacement and its duration have consistently increased since 2011. At the same time, the funding gap for humanitarian assistance required by populations experiencing protracted displacement is widening. To address this growing need, the international community is increasingly advocating for, and engaging in, building the self-reliance of displaced populations as a sustainable solution to long-term humanitarian crises.

As part of this global movement, UNHCR started working with Trickle Up to design and implement the Graduation Approach (GA or Graduation). Graduation is an effective, time-bound, and multipronged intervention to help people create sustainable livelihoods and overcome extreme poverty in 2013. In 2016, the US Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (BRPM) provided a three-year grant for Trickle Up’s Building Self-Reliance for Refugees project. Through this project, Trickle Up has supported the design and/or implementation of Graduation programs in 10 UNHCR country operations in Argentina, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, Malawi, Mozambique, Sudan, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, as well as to AVSI Foundation in Uganda, Caritas Switzerland in Jordan, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) Jordan (forthcoming), and World Vision Iraq.

Building Self-Reliance for Refugees - Project Brief