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Forging a Path to Dignity with Refugees

By: Tyler McCelland


Trickle Up


The average length of time that a person stays a refugee is 20 years, often going well beyond the immediate conflict or disaster that put them on that path, and making them particularly vulnerable to economic and social exclusion.

Without assistance, they can face sustained discrimination and marginalization. Refugees are at risk of violence, chronic hunger, and other issues faced by people living in exreme poverty.

That’s why Trickle Up is working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to deliver practical livelihoods programs to refugee populations. UNHCR’s program already provides many of the stabilizing services we know are critical for the extremely vulnerable – health care, education, and legal support.

But now, at pilot locations in Egypt and Ecuador, when refugees cross borders into safety, new considerations such as work experience, language, livelihood skills, and assets have become a key part of the intake process. By assessing skills and experience, UNHCR can begin business coaching or job placement at the outset, instead of placing refugees on long-term assistance.

UNHCR field workers are already recognizing the changes our partnership has been making as they reach communities and find refugees who have never come into an aid office for services. Together, UNHCR and Trickle Up are reaching more people more effectively – a major development in our global effort to end extreme poverty.