Fostering entrepreneurship to connect refugees with the global economy

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The impact.

A group of Young Global Leaders (YGLs) is working with refugees in Kenya's Kakuma Refugee Camp to realize their economic potential.

When the 11 inspiring young leaders travelled to Kakuma Refugee Camp in July 2019, they were following up on commitments made in 2018 to connect the settlement to the global economy, foster refugee entrepreneurship and provide training to 1,000 displaced people by 2021.

Some 30 young emerging leaders from the host and refugee communities took part in the training sessions on topics ranging from leadership and financial investment to the role of China in Africa.

YGLs committed their time, knowledge, expertise and network to design and implement an effective programme to respond to the needs, challenges and opportunities of Kakuma Refugee Camp.

After joining the training programme in Kakuma, participants received certificates from Oxford University and have embarked on a virtual mentorship programme that pairs them with YGLs from around the world. The mentorship curriculum was developed by YGLs and is hosted on iamtheCODE, a YGL-founded initiative that mobilizes governments, businesses and investors to support young women in science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics, entrepreneurship and design.

What’s the challenge?


In a remote area of Kenya, the Kakuma Refugee Camp has a population of more than 190,000 people. According to a recent International Finance Corporation report, Kakuma is a $56 million economy with an estimated 2,700 registered businesses. In fact, Kakuma hosts over 30% of all businesses in the local municipal area of Turkana County.

Many refugees in this camp have skills that they could use to support themselves and their families. However, a lack of documentation and access to capital means many families cannot realize their entrepreneurial ambitions.

Our approach.

In July 2018, 15 YGLs travelled to Kakuma Refugee Camp to deepen their understanding of forced displacement and develop a practical framework to improve opportunities for refugees. This learning experience led to the creation of a shared vision to provide entrepreneurship training to 1,000 displaced people by 2021 to help Kakuma Refugee Camp realize its economic potential.

The Forum of YGLs has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Oxford University Centre on Refugee Studies, Aliko Dangote Foundation and Danish Church Aid (DCA)-Kenya to design and implement a 3-month Executive Leadership Educational programme in Kakuma Refugee Camp.

The programme targets 30 young men and women, a class of both refugees and members of the local host community, who have the potential to lead and contribute to improving the well-being of people in the area.

The aim is to enable those leaders to emerge and mentor another cohort of leaders.

Get involved.

The Forum of YGLs is leading a collective commitment on Kakuma that covers three areas: Education and Protection; Economy and Capital; and Infrastructure Connectivity and Energy.

Contact the Forum of Young Global Leaders to find out how you can support this effort.

Join us today and help shape a better future
Get involved
Join us today and help shape a better future
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