Complementary pathways through education

Complementary pathways are safe and regulated avenues by which refugees may live in a country and have their international protection needs met, while also being able to support themselves and reach sustainable and lasting solutions.

“I can see a bright future for myself once I am done with my studies. I will go back to South Sudan and I will help my people, through whichever means, except guns. I don’t know how I will contribute yet but I will. I must.”

(Samuel, 26)

UNHCR and partners are working towards the creation of additional, complementary pathways that offer protection and solutions in third countries through higher education scholarships.

Key considerations for third countries when developing complementarity pathways through education include:

  • Access to legal status in the country where the scholarship will be provided – including support to obtain the necessary travel documents and the possibility for the refugee to remain in the third country after completion of the scholarship programme;
  • Participation in the programme should not jeopardize the right or legal status of refugees or other protection afforded to refugees under international law;
  • The programme should take into account the needs, interest and situation of refugees, including the cultural context, their specific educational and learning needs, disabilities, inability to provide required documentation, as well as language proficiency;

Scope of the scholarship programme, such as provision of financial support, living costs, counselling and psychosocial support, language support, travel costs, possibility for family members to join, etc.