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Beyond the Crisis: Economic Opportunity and Hope for Refugees

By: Helen Greene


Trickle Up


On Tuesday, September 20, Trickle Up welcomed supporters, friends, and partners to our annual Patricof Forum event Beyond the Crisis: Economic Opportunity and Hope for Refugees.
The Patricof Forum was moderated by CBS’s 48 Hours Senior Executive Producer, Susan Zirinsky, with featured guest Ziad Ayoubi, Head of the Livelihoods Unit of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The event highlighted the expanding partnership between Trickle Up and UNHCR, which in its first three years has helped improve the livelihoods and self-reliance of 3,803 refugee families in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, Burkina Faso, and Zambia. Trickle Up is advising UNHCR on the components of our economic strengthening approach – the Graduation Approach – to help refugees start small business or find employment, with the goal of improving their livelihoods and better integrating into their host communities.

Zirinsky asked Ayoubi to discuss common misconceptions about refugees, both from a historical perspective and in light of the current Syrian refugee crisis. Ayoubi shared how UNHCR’s roots date back to 1950, when the agency was founded to help European refugees in the aftermath of World War II. He also cited recent statistics revealing the dramatic increase in the number of refugees worldwide — almost 34,000 people were displaced every day in 2015 — and the long-term nature of most refugee situations, currently lasting an average of 26 years. He explained how UNHCR addresses pressing, emergency needs for refugees and internally displaced persons in 126 countries, and how the Livelihoods Unit employs a variety of approaches to help refugees find job placements or start their own businesses in host countries.

“Trickle Up is helping us to change ourselves,” said Ayoubi.
Ayoubi shared his perspective on the partnership between Trickle Up and UNHCR, and the difference being made through Trickle Up’s role helping to advise the agency. Over the next three years, Trickle Up and UNHCR will expand Graduation’s reach in UNHCR operations to up to 17 new countries. By incorporating the Graduation Approach into the UNHCR Livelihoods Unit’s arsenal of interventions, we will provide sustainable economic empowerment to more of the poorest refugees than ever before.

Watch the Patricof Forum.