Refugee Economies Programme
Funded by the IKEA Foundation, Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Stephanie and Hunter Hunt, World Food Programme, World Economic Forum, Deloitte
Launched in 2012 as the Humanitarian Innovation Project
Supporting the economic inclusion of refugees
The Refugee Economies Programme undertakes research on the economic lives of refugees.
Through primary data collection, it explores the conditions under which refugees can become self-sufficient and make positive economic contributions to their host states and societies. The Programme’s research is interdisciplinary, combining economics, anthropology, history, and political science. It is collecting original qualitative and quantitative data, and often draws upon a range of participatory methods, including working with refugee researchers. It aims to be policy-relevant but not policy-driven, and collaborates with governments, international organisations, NGOs, refugee-led organisations, universities, and businesses.
"Refugees often have skills, talents, and aspirations. And yet too often we focus just on their vulnerabilities rather than their capacities. Our research challenges the view that refugees are an inevitable burden, identifying the conditions under they can help themselves and contribute to their host societies."
Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs
The Programme’s work has three complementary pillars:
Collectively, these represent the questions that need to be answered in order to effect policy change.
1. Economic Outcomes
What explains variation in economic outcomes for refugees and their impact on host states?
2. Innovative Practices
What innovative approaches have been tried and with what consequences?
3. Political Economy
What shapes national and local policies on economic inclusion?
The centrepiece of the Programme’s research is the collection of an original panel data set, based on multi-country and time series data collection. With an initial focus on Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia, and covering 2017-2020, the dataset covers urban and rural areas, refugees and hosts, and includes multiple data collection periods.
The Programme’s partners include the IKEA Foundation, Stephanie and Hunter Hunt, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, RefugePoint, the World Food Programme, UNHCR, Deloitte, and YARID.
IMPACT CASE STUDIES
Humanitarian Innovation Project
HIP has a dual research and policy engagement mission. It is working not only to engage with a fundamental rethinking of the political economy of the refugee experience, but also to directly inform the work of humanitarian actors. Find out more
Refugee Economies in Uganda
The report Refugee Economies: Rethinking Popular Assumptions was launched on World Refugee Day 2014. Drawing on research in Uganda, the report sought to explore the economic lives of refugees. It has had a significant impact on policy, practice, and public debate. Further details
The Refugee Economies Programme was formerly known as the Humanitarian Innovation Project.
To find out more about the Programme, take a look at the website www.refugee-economies.org