Refugee Livelihoods

Investing for success: a new way to help refugees improve their livelihoods

We are supporting the first ever development impact bond for refugees, an innovative finance model that sets out to improve refugees’ livelihoods in Jordan and Lebanon.

Imagine trying to start again in another country after fleeing from a conflict. You’ve lost everything—your home, your job or business, your savings. Even if you’re legally allowed to work, you’re competing with local residents and other refugees for limited opportunities. If you’re a woman or a young person, perhaps this is the first time you’ve ever had to work. What do you do?

For many refugees, the only option is to rely on humanitarian aid. But this isn’t a long-term solution. Refugees need dignified work that enables them to support their families.

Lack of funding

Lebanon and Jordan host more than two million refugees between them, most of whom come from Syria. This puts huge pressure on their economies and creates social tensions. There’s also a lack of long-term funding for programmes to help refugees improve their livelihoods.

That’s whythe IKEA Foundation is supporting the scale-up of a programme by the Near East Foundation in Lebanon and Jordan. The programme will help refugees and people from host communities gain the skills they need to set up small enterprises and create safe and stable livelihoods.

Development impact bond

The programme is financed through a development impact bond. This is a financial model where social investors provide capital to roll out a development programme. Outcome funders pay back the investors if—and only if—the programme achieves measurable social outcomes. These are independently evaluated.

Per Heggenes, IKEA Foundation CEO, says: “We’re supporting the development impact bond as an outcome funder because it is an innovative way to help refugees become self-reliant in the long-term. We believe that by paying for success, we can attract more funding towards refugee livelihoods and encourage programmes that have the biggest impact.”

Learn more on the DIB website: