Refugees

Trees and fields

Building self-reliance; reducing aid dependency

With a total refugee population of around 3.25 million, East Africa hosts one of the highest levels of refugees in the world.

And the number continues to grow due to unrest and civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, and South Sudan. These refugees have a desire to work but very few opportunities to earn an income and rebuild their lives. Village Enterprise is responding by adapting our microenterprise graduation program for refugees. As refugees graduate from our program and become entrepreneurs with flourishing businesses, they gain hope, greater independence, reduced reliance on aid, and the ability to help their fellow refugees.

“Mercy Corps has had the pleasure of working with Village Enterprise during the Bridge project in West Nile, Uganda over the past year. During this project, Village Enterprise trained and mentored 438 refugees and host communities’ entrepreneurs to start 146 business groups. The organization’s effective and sustainable program contributed to an 11% increase in participants to be self-employed. Across the whole project, the average monthly income also increased by 46 among refugees!” Renee Van Woerden, Program Manager, Mercy Corps
Women with banana harvest

Delivering Resilient Enterprises and Market Systems for refugees (DREAMS)

We’re extremely honored that a collaborative proposal by Village Enterprise, Mercy Corps, and IDinsight (a global advisory, data analytics, and research organization that serves as the external evaluator for the project) has been named one of five finalists for the Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award, a $12 million grant to secure a brighter, more durable future for refugees. Our proposed project, Delivering Resilient Enterprises and Market Systems for refugees (DREAMS), provides an innovative solution to the crucial need for refugee self-reliance. Working in Uganda and Ethiopia—home to 10% of the world’s refugee population—DREAMS will provide 150,000 of the most vulnerable refugees with the security and dignity that comes from providing for one’s family. The program will integrate two proven models—Graduation and Market Systems Development—layering these approaches in a new way that will ensure that the poorest refugee households can significantly improve their income and well-being.

DREAMS Overview Video
Seamstress cutting cloth

Providing economic opportunities for refugees in Northern Uganda

Funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) and in partnership with Mercy Corps, we equipped South Sudanese refugees and their host communities to start sustainable microenterprises in three refugee settlements in the West Nile of Northern Uganda: Bidi Bidi, Palorinya, and Rhino Camp. Refugees who completed the program gained not only income but hope, a sense of purpose, and a way to help others around them.

Who We Serve

Learn more about the other populations we serve

Who We Serve