Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

New report from the Humanitarian Innovation Project, launched on World Refugee Day, covered by a number of media outlets including the Guardian, BBC, Voice of America and Thomson Reuters

On World Refugee Day, the Humanitarian Innovation Project launched its new report, Refugee Economies: Rethinking Popular Assumptions, with media coverage from around the world. The report aims to challenge the current model of donor state-led assistance, drawing on ground-breaking new research on the economic life of refugees in Uganda.

As UNHCR says that the world's population of displaced people tops 50 million for the first time in the post-World War II era, Dr Alexander Betts is also interviewed about the current global situation for CCTV America and The New York Times.

Media coverage

Beyond the hype: how can ‘innovation’ make impact?Guardian
The Guardian – 12 November 2014

‘Innovation’, a buzzword beloved of middle managers and tech evangelists, is probably one of the most overused terms in development. And it’s hardly surprising. As traditional donors and agencies cede ground to the private sector it is inevitable that the old ways of working will have to change. This is already happening. Read more>>

Global Refugee Work Rights Report: Q&A with Emily Arnold-Fernandez The Center for High Impact Philanthropy
The Center for High Impact Philanthropy (Blog) – 16 October 2014

 A complementary study released this summer by Oxford University’s Humanitarian Innovation Project, Refugee Economies: Rethinking Popular Assumptions, found that in Uganda 40% of refugee employers – refugees who started businesses and employed others – were employing Ugandans. Read more>>

Alternatives to refugee camps: Can policy become practice? Irin
IRIN – 7 October 2014

Keeping refugees in camps has not only been logistically far more convenient for aid providers, but has often been the preference of host states who view camps as minimizing both the perceived security threat posed by refugees and their burden on local communities and economies. However, as refugee crises have become more protracted, with over six million refugees now living in exile for five or more years, camps have become increasingly difficult to fund. Read more>>

Finding the Missing Piece of Refugee and Asylum Policy The World Post
The World Post – 6 October 2014 

Under the 1951 convention relating to the Status of Refugees, refugees have a number of rights including "access to national courts, the right to employment and education and a host of other social, economic and civil rights on par with nationals of the host country." It is surprising, then, that today many countries deny or severely restrict refugees' right to work. Read more>>

Doing Business Like A RefugeeNPR
NPR – 30 July 2014

Why most countries won't let refugees work. And why Uganda is trying something different. Alexander Betts is interviewed about the Refugee Economies report and the effects of allowing refugees in Uganda the right to work. Listen online >> (Interview starts at 10:24)

Here's what Australia can learn from Uganda about handling refugee Global Post
Global Post – 11 July 2014

The world is sitting by and watching in a state of disbelief at the “abhorrent” asylum policies of the Australian government, according to one of the world’s leading refugee and migration experts. Alexander Betts, professor in refugee and forced migration studies at the UK's University of Oxford, says it’s time for the United Nations and Australia’s “silent majority” to speak out against human rights abuses under Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Read more >>

Displacement economics: Uganda reaps from enterprising refugees AFK Insider
AFK Insider – 10 July 2014

They are upwardly mobile, connected to the global community and contributing to their country’s bottom line. Far from being social burdens or economic problems, a new Oxford University study has found that refugees can have a positive economic impact on their host country. Read more >>

New thinking needed on food aid for refugees in Africa Irin
Irin – 7 July 2014

The World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) have launched an urgent appeal to address a funding shortfall that has already resulted in food ration cuts for a third of all African refugees. As of mid-June, nearly 800,000 refugees in 22 African countries have seen their monthly food allocations reduced, most of them by more than half.  Read more >>

Refugee economies – the Ugandan model Irin
Irin – 30 June 2014

When a team from Oxford University's Humanitarian Innovation Project set out to explore what work refugees and asylum seekers in Uganda had managed to find, they were struck by the breadth and scale of businesses they were engaged in - from being café owners to vegetable sellers, to farmers growing maize on a commercial scale, millers, restaurateurs, transporters and traders in fabrics and jewellery. Read more >>

Betts and Pitterman on the global refugee crisis CCTV America
CCTV America – 21 June 2014

World Refugee Day recognizes the tens of millions of men, women, and children who flee countries ravaged by violence in search of safe havens around the world. What can be done to ease this global crisis? CCTV's Anand Naidoo is joined by Alexander Betts, the author of "Survival Migration," from Oxford University; and Shelly Pitterman, Head of the UNHCR office in Washington D.C. Watch online >>

Interview with Alexander Betts on Focus on Africa BBC
BBC World News – 20 June 2014, 18:30 BST

The biggest African and international stories from the BBC.

Interview with Alexander Betts on the Kat Orman show BBC
BBC Radio Oxford – 20 June 2014, 15:00 BST

Kat hears from BBC Folk Award winner Bella Hardy, in Food Friday we look at afternoon tea and other British food traditions. Plus an immigration expert talks about World Refugee Day. Listen online >> (Available until 26 June 2014)

Refugees boost local economy  Voice of America
Voice of America – 20 June 2014, 14:04 BST

A new study says refugees do not have to be a burden on a host country’s resources. In fact, they can actually help boost the local economy if given the chance. The findings were released June 20th, World refugee Day. Read more >>

Five things they tell you about refugees that aren't true Guardian
The Guardian – 20 June 2014, 10:56 BST

Existing approaches to refugee assistance simply aren't working. That's the topline from our report, Refugee Economies: Rethinking Popular Assumptions, published for World Refugee Day today. Read more >>

UN reports sharp increase in refugees as civil wars cripple nations New York Times
The New York Times – 20 June 2014

In Central African Republic, they ran from home and slept under the trees. In Colombia, they dared not return to their villages. From Syria, they fled by the hundreds of thousands, escaping barrel bombs and summary executions. Read more >>

Thinking through ‘refugee economies’ International Rescue Committee
International Rescue Committee – 20 June 2014

To mark World Refugee Day, the Humanitarian Innovation Project has launched a new report, "Refugee Economies: Re-thinking Popular Assumptions." The report explores the economic lives of refugees from Somalia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and South Sudan who are living in Uganda, and does an excellent job of myth-busting some of the more common misperceptions of refugees. Read more >>

Refugee tech innovators in Uganda SciDev.Net
SciDev.Net – 20 June 2014

Contrary to popular myths about refugees relying on aid and being a burden to the countries hosting them, the refugees in these photographs are running thriving enterprises, often based around the adaptation of different technologies. Read more >>

Q&A: Rethinking approaches to refugee assistance SciDev.Net
SciDev.Net – 20 June 2014

[OXFORD] In this podcast, Alexander Betts, director of the Humanitarian Innovation Project (HIP) at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, discusses why — and how — the global community should radically rethink humanitarian responses to refugees. Listen online >>

'Networked and trading': study clears up myths about refugees  University of Oxford
University of Oxford – 20 June 2014

On World Refugee Day, a new Oxford University report shows how refugees can boost the economy of countries where they settle. Read more >>

On World Refugee Day, RSC launches report showing positive impact of refugees on host countries Oxford Department of International Development
Oxford Department of International Development – 20 June 2014

A report released today by the Refugee Studies Centre at ODID uses research in Uganda to demonstrate that, far from being passive individuals who rely only on aid, refugees can also be economically active in their host countries, helping to support themselves and even providing employment for local people. Read more >>

Interview with Alexander Betts on Power Talk programme Power FM
Power FM – 20 June 2014, 09:30 BST

Dr Alexander Betts discusses new report, Refugee Economies: Rethinking Popular Assumptions, with Eusebius McKaiser on South Africa radio station, Power FM. Listen online >>

Oxford professor slams refugee 'warehousing,' calls for more freedom Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters Foundation – 20 June 2014 04:00 BST

NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Refugees can be an economic asset, not a burden, and a radical rethink is needed of host countries’ humanitarian policies, an Oxford University professor has said. Read more >>

The global displacement crisis: trying to avoid a lost generation in the Middle East Debating Development
Debating Development – 19 June 2014

On the eve of World Refugee Day, the global refugee population is larger than at any time for nearly two decades. The largest numbers are in the Middle East, where there are now over 2.8 million Syrian refugees, 2.5 million Afghan refugees and 750,000 Iraqi refugees, in addition to the longstanding presence of 4.8 million Palestinian refugees. The recent resumption of conflict in Iraq illustrates that these numbers are only likely to increase. Read more >>


Related content

Refugee Economies: Rethinking Popular Assumptions Publications

‘Networked, online and trading’: Yes, we’re talking about refugees, says study News & Media

Refugee Economies: Rethinking Popular Assumptions Events

Humanitarian Innovation Project Research