RefugePoint provides permanent solutions for some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees. Its approach is to identify and protect refugees that have fallen through the cracks of other humanitarian assistance programs. They operate throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and emphasize helping women, children, and urban refugees.
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- There are over 65 million forcibly displaced individuals worldwide due to conflict or persecution, with 20 people become newly displaced every minute. Over 22.5 million of those displaced are refugees, meaning they have been forced to flee their home country
- Around half (51%) of all refugees are children, many of whom are separated from their parents or travelling alone
- 84% of refugees come from low and middle income countries close to situations of conflict, are extremely poor, and therefore are particularly vulnerable and with few options available
- Public programs providing for refugee assistance are perpetually underfunded, leaving the vast majority of refugees in desperate situations, often struggling for survival
RP works with refugees through two flagship programs:
- RP’s Resettlements Program involves permanently relocating refugees to countries that have active formal programs for resettling refugees. Although the resettlement quotas are de minimis for most host countries, the United States, Canada, and Australia have recently accepted refugee resettlement applications in modest numbers (approximately 65,000, 20,000, and 10,000 respectively). The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (“UNHCR”) is responsible for managing the resettlement process on behalf of all refugees via interactions with countries that have permanent resettlement programs. As with many of the UN’s tasks, the UNHCR is overwhelmed by the magnitude of the need and under-resourced. In partial response, RP provides staff to augment UN resources in UNHCR resettlement offices across Africa, taking on case management for the most at-risk refugee applicants whom they believe still have a chance of being accepted by receiving countries.
- RP’s second program is its Urban Refugee Protection Program which provides lifesaving interventions, such as shelter, health care, and business training directly to the most vulnerable urban refugees in Nairobi. The vast majority of the 21 million refugees worldwide are living in urban settings in foreign countries where they struggle to survive and adapt. Refugees, even if registered with UNHCR, frequently find themselves in a quasi-legal status where there remains a perpetual risk of arrest, harassment, and persecution by local officials and residents. Although most people think of a refugee’s status as a transitional or temporary in nature, the reality is that most refugees remain in refugee status for 20 years, and frequently the condition is permanent. RP recognizes this unfortunate reality and works to help refugees integrate locally, live safely and with dignity, and learn income producing skills to put them on a path to self-reliance and sustainability. Although the Urban Refugee Program currently exists only in Nairobi, RP believes there are opportunities to replicate and scale this program to other cities in Africa where there are high concentrations of refugees living in an urban setting.
RefugePoint has worked in 49 locations in 28 countries, and has assisted refugees who have fled from 39 different countries.
RP’s M&E regarding the UNHCR Collaboration Project counts the services provided by RP funded staff deployed in UNHCR centers around Africa. The key performance indicator is the # of resettlement referrals completed by RP staff to host nations (United States, Canada, and Australia being the major hosts). Although it is impossible to precisely link the number of submitted resettlement referral cases to a number of accepted cases, all evidence suggests that 80% to 90% of completed applications to the United States, Canada, and Australia are accepted (i.e. result in actual resettlements to the host country).
- Since 2005, RefugePoint has referred over 38,500 refugees for resettlement to 13 host countries.
- 5,070 resettlement referrals in 2015 and 5,133 in 2016
- Forecast for 6,250 referrals in 2017
Urban Refugee Protection Program:
RP’s M&E regarding the Urban Refugee Protection Program focuses on moving refugees from vulnerable and unstable living conditions to becoming “self reliant”. RP determines self-reliance on the basis of self reliance measurement tests (“SMRT”), proprietary to RP, that are given to the refugee every six months. The SMRT scores each refugee household on a scale of 1-4 in eight domains: food, shelter, non-food items, economic wellbeing, physical health, mental health, protection, and child protection.
- 1246 refugee clients graduated from RP's program in 2015
- 543 refugee clients stabilized in 543 and 457 graduated from RP's program in 2016
Path to Credibility
In October 2016, two Focusing Philanthropy team members visited RefugePoint in Nairobi, Kenya. They were able to see first-hand the work that RefugePoint conducts with the UNHCR as well as the Urban Refugee Protection Program. They visited a vocational skills workshop as well as the home of Conglese refugees who were currently receiving support from RefugePoint's programs.
Democratic Republic of Congo
Achieving Self Sufficiency | Affordable Housing |
Building Community Infrastructure | Basic Health Care |
Increasing Income | Access to Job Opportunities |