Refugee Livelihoods in Urban Areas: Identifying Program Opportunities

I wanted to highlight a publication just released by Feinstein International Center - "a global desk review of livelihoods programming for refugees in urban settings together with a review of low- income urban development prorgams that could be relevant for refugees."

The report does not make direct mention to food security, nevertheless the program opportunities identified are very relevant.  As they state, "despite a growing body of research about the livelihood problems of refugees in urban areas in countries of first asylum, there is little evidence about which humanitarian programs work, what livelihoods initiatives refugees undertake themselves, and where opportunities for programming interventions lie. This study addresses this knowledge gap by analysing the urban livelihood context, and identifying programming opportunities and examples of promising program initiatives. The study’s key objective was to support livelihoods programming for refugees by generating new ideas from related fields of inquiry, such as low-income urban development and youth unemployment, and adapting these ideas to make them relevant for refugees."

For the purposes of the study they defined livelihoods programming “as that which directly supports household income generation by promoting wage employment or self-employment through skills and vocational training, microfinance, business development and legal services, job replacement, apprenticeships, mentoring and so forth.”



The Feinstein International Center is pleased to announce new publications on Refugee Livelihoods:

Refugee Livelihoods in Urban Areas:  Identifying Program Opportunities

Recommendations for programming and advocacy

Refugees in urban areas face a specific set of livelihoods problems, and in recent years many aid agencies have begun to try to address these problems by supporting refugees through vocational training, microcredit and other services. So far, however, there has been little evidence about which humanitarian programs work, and where opportunities for programming interventions lie. This study, funded by the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, addresses this knowledge gap.  Through case studies in Cairo, Tel Aviv and Quito, we analyzed the urban livelihoods context for refugees and identified programming opportunities and promising program initiatives. In each city, we sought to generate new ideas from related fields of inquiry, such as low-income urban development and youth employment that could be adapted for refugees in countries of first asylum.

Our three case studies represent contrasting refugee policy contexts and livelihoods experience, and offer lessons for other host settings.  Each case study begins with a review of existing livelihood programs in the country. This includes a mapping of commercial, humanitarian and governmental organizations that provide programming, advocacy or other resources that support the livelihoods of refugees, migrants and low-income citizens. We then interviewed asylum seekers and key informants to deepen our understanding of the livelihoods context in each country.  Our main program recommendations, based on all three cases, are included as a stand-alone document.


Read the reports at website,

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