Self-reliance and livelihoods

Self-reliance and livelihoods

Self-reliance and livelihoods improved

African and Iraqi refugees are partially integrated in the informal labour market in Egypt; however, refugees suffer from difficult working conditions, such as long working hours and low salaries.

Self-reliance programming will focus on two main areas:
  • Expanding self-reliance initiatives to target a larger number of job seekers, including youth and women in training programmes.
  • Expanding the protection pillar of self-reliance programmes in order to improve working conditions of wage-employed individuals.
Thus, UNHCR and partners will work to enhance access to jobs and income generation opportunities.

In 2015, UNHCR will aim to enrol 7,000 refugee men and women in self-employment schemes and 10,000 in wage employment opportunities. Activities will target different refugees’ nationalities and will include training, entrepreneurship and job placement. Programmes will also target members of host communities to ensure social cohesion and coexistence.

The Livelihood Service Initiative (LSI) - established in partnership with Catholic Relief Services - targeted more than 2,500 refugees from all nationalities in the Greater Cairo area in 2013.  These 2,500 refugees have been identified and selected for livelihood services including: socio-economic assessment, skills assessment, training and capacity building and job placement services. Some 150 refugees were hired in jobs that matched their background and experience and 500 refugees received training on different skills such as; information and communications technology, professional training, vocational training and life skills training.

If resources are limited in 2015, UNHCR will decrease the number of beneficiaries to 3,000 (for self-employment) and 5,000 (for wage employment). Priority will be given to youth, women and heads of large households that have a high dependency rate. Inclusion of host communities will continue so as to avoid any tension or potential conflict between refugee and host communities.

In 2015, self-reliance programming will be mainstreamed and the graduation model that has been piloted in 2013 and 2014 will become the general model for livelihood programming. Moreover, UNHCR will contribute to the local economic development in Egypt by building partnership with Development agencies. This activity will enhance the co-existence of refugees and host communities and will expand UNHCR efforts in supporting host communities who share the burden of the refugee crisis. 

Self-reliance and livelihoods improved

Results and impact

UNHCR’s livelihood programme using the ‘Graduation Approach’ continued throughout 2015. The programme was launched in Cairo in 2013 and expanded to Alexandria in 2014. In February 2015, Damietta was added as a third programme area and the programme design was adapted to the local context.

In April 2015, UNHCR in coordination with its partners CRS and Caritas undertook a qualitative review through focus group discussions and interviews with beneficiaries. The 128 respondents identified many areas of concern associated with the workplace such as travel distance, long working hours, inadequate pay and perceived discrimination. Respondents also noted a positive impact on their households and personal lives. Some felt that they benefited from the graduation project through increased income, soft and technical skills development, increased integration opportunities and strengthened social ties.

In June 2015, UNHCR conducted a routine technical review of the implementation of the Graduation Approach as a livelihood methodology in Egypt, along with Trickle-Up and BRAC University. Among others, the review recommended exercising flexibility with the value of the micro-grant disbursed to reflect the proposals of selected refugee entrepreneurs. Some training activities were also discontinued due to lack of market orientation. Recommendations of the mission were adopted and pursued. In the last quarter of 2015, a mid-term evaluation of the Graduation Approach was implemented by an external company.

UNHCR developed and enhanced tools for livelihood support. Monitoring and follow-up tools using more detailed indicators were discussed with partners and the UNHCR protection team and incorporated in the reporting system. UNHCR and partners also discussed harmonized selection and graduation criteria for participants.

At the end of 2015, the following results were registered among the African and Iraqi beneficiaries:
  • 53 individuals (15 male and 38 female) were provided with entrepreneurship and business training and opened their own businesses (in addition, 48 beneficiaries for self-employment received business training by the implementing partner without funding through UNHCR)
  • 47 individuals (29 male and 18 female) were provided with guidance on labour market opportunities and found wage-employment
  • All participants in livelihood support programs had their socio-economic profile and livelihood capacities defined and monitored
  • 66 individuals (23 male and 43 female) received grants for business start-up and opened businesses
  • 140 individuals (68 male and 72 female) participated in vocational and soft skills training for livelihood purposes
  • 70 individuals (20 male and 50 female) participated in language training for livelihoods purposes.
Unmet needs

Large parts of the adult population are in need of suitable skills building programs, job-placement support, micro-grants and financial literacy skills, including appropriate saving schemes. Funding in 2015 only allowed a very limited number of beneficiaries. There is need to enhance programs supporting refugee/asylum-seeker job seekers and aspiring entrepreneurs.

The socio-economic assessment conducted by UNHCR in 2015 focussed on the Syrian population. Data collection concerning other nationalities was limited. As the programme using the Graduation Approach targets the most vulnerable, an assessment of all refugees and asylum-seekers would be extremely valuable for targeting of livelihood support.
Impact Indicator Baseline Year-End Target
% of female persons of concern (18-59 yrs) earning at least minimum wages for more than 6 months per year 5 37 50
% of persons of concern (18-59 yrs) earning at least minimum wages for more than 6 months per year 15 31 40
Output Performance Indicator Year-End Target
Vocational training / Technical skills provided # of PoC enrolled in formal national insitutions for certified skills training 140 300
Access to training and learning enabled # of PoC provided with language training for livelihoods purposes 70 300
Access to self employment / business facilitated # of PoC provided with entrepreneurship / business training 53 200
Access to wage earning employment facilitated # of PoC provided with guidance on labour market opportunities 47 250
Sectoral cash grants or vouchers provided # of PoC receiving cash/vouchers for business start up 66 150