Those fleeing violence and oppression are some of the most vulnerable people in the world. They face countless risks as they seek safety and security, and once they find a safe place to stay, they must find a way to provide for their families in an entirely new context. At the end of 2018, the UN reported that the world is witnessing the highest level of displacement on record, with more than 70 million people forced from home by conflict and persecution, including 30 million refugees.
- The world's refugee population more than doubled from 2005 to 2019
- 80% of displaced people live in an area affected by acute food insecurity or malnutrition
- Refugee children are 5x more likely to be out of school than non-refugee children
Opportunity International responds to the unique needs of refugees by building innovative programs that serve those who have resettled in new cities or who are living in refugee settlements. In Colombia, we serve families who have been internally displaced by violence and refugees from neighboring Venezuela. And in Uganda, we are piloting programs that deliver financial services and training to families living in settlements. By meeting the multifaceted needs of these communities, we are affirming our commitment to those who are most vulnerable, marginalized, and at risk of extreme poverty.
Refugee Services in Action
Refugees, Innovations, Self-reliance, and Empowerment
In June 2019, Opportunity International and its partners launched the Refugees, Innovations, Self-reliance, and Empowerment (RISE) project in Uganda to help integrate and financially include refugees, promote self-reliance among refugees, and stimulate local economic activity in refugee settlements and surrounding host communities.
Uganda is home to 1.4 million refugees from countries including South Sudan, DRC, Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, and Ethiopia, making it the largest refugee host country in Africa. Like any broad demographic category, refugees come from different countries and circumstances, and they have diverse abilities and skills. They are young and old, men and women, business owners, farmers, teachers, and health workers.
Opportunity is working to strengthen refugees' financial and digital literacy by equipping them with skills and knowledge to climb the financial graduation ladder. Digitization, for example, reduces their need for physical cash.