Refugee Livelihoods

New research will help refugees build sustainable livelihoods

Market stalls by a road
Old market at Bokolmanyo refugee camp, Dollo Ado, Ethiopia. Photo: RSC/Raphael Bradenbrink

Refugees are often denied the opportunity to earn a living and become self-sufficient. What are the best ways to change this?

We are funding new research by the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford to investigate this question.

The research will take place in East Africa, where refugees face an uphill struggle to earn enough to support themselves and their families. As in other regions, this is due to legal and political barriers, the remoteness of refugee camps and a lack of job or business opportunities.

Refugee livelihoods

The research will inform policies and programmes that help refugees to become self-sufficient in East Africa and around the world. It will look at factors that affect refugees’ livelihoods including borders and mobility, shocks and vulnerability, and the politics around their social and economic rights.

The programme will also train, mentor and support aspiring refugee researchers through a new Refugee-Led Research Hub, based at the British Institute in Eastern Africa in Nairobi.

Practical solutions

Annemieke de Jong, Head of the Refugee Livelihoods portfolio at the IKEA Foundation, says: “The Refugee Studies Centre’s innovative research will help develop practical solutions to empower refugees, in both camps and cities, to become self-sufficient. This will enable them to afford a better life for themselves and provide a brighter future for their children.”

Professor Alexander Betts, who leads the Refugee Economies Programme, says: “Thanks to the IKEA Foundation, we will continue to undertake impactful research that supports the economic inclusion of refugees.”