Livelihoods & Self-Reliance
Helping Them Help Themselves
They may flee their homes with just the clothes on their backs, but forcibly displaced people always carry something of considerable value: their knowledge, skills and experience. A few of the more fortunate ones manage bring along precious productive assets, such as tools, livestock or money. But no matter how much or how little they arrive with, most displaced people have the potential to become self-reliant in their places of refuge. UNHCR, through the Livelihoods Unit, helps refugees, refugee returnees and internally displaced people tap this potential and build a platform for a better future.
Investing in people's livelihoods is also important because it helps cut the cost of aid and protection and enhances the chances for a sustainable durable solution, be it return, local integration or resettlement.
Being forced from one's home does not mean that somebody must become totally dependent on aid in their place of exile, be it in a camp or an urban setting. We run livelihoods projects in about 70 percent of our field operations. These include facilitating access to savings and loan mechanisms; skills and vocational training; entrepreneurship training and business support services, sustainable use of natural resources; labour-based activities; grant assistance in emergency situations; career guidance and support; and facilitating access to apprenticeships and jobs as well as work and business permits.
UNHCR's urban livelihoods initiative aims at helping refugees face the challenges they encounter in cities and towns.
A programme aimed at promoting the empowerment and economic independence of female refugees.