2020 Prize Winners for Refugee/IDP Projects

The four winners of the annual Ockenden International Prizes for refugee and/or IDP projects are Casa Alianza Honduras, FORGE for Humanity, Greece, the Mae Tao Clinic, Thailand and Small Projects Istanbul, Turkey.

Each winner receives GBP25,000, rewarding and recognizing innovative work that has promoted self-reliance among refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) the hallmark of Ockenden International since its inception in 1951.

Entries from 45 countries were represented in 2020s record 141 submissions with the four winning projects coming from Honduras, Greece, Thailand and Turkey.

The winners and their projects:

Casa Alianza Honduras (CAH) – ‘Every Child Deserves a Future’ (nominated by Compass Childrens Charity, UK): The judges said it was awarded a prize for a strong project providing refugee and Internally Displaced children with a place of safety, essential services and information to understand their rights. CAH is successfully addressing Internal Displacement, is well run, and has manifestly improved self-esteem and self-reliance of its young beneficiaries by imaginatively addressing underlying traumas, reducing stigma and deterring gang culture.

FORGE for Humanity (Greece) – Unlocking Potential: Won a prize for its unique focus on support for single male refugees travelling solo. In doing so the judges said FORGE is successfully challenging stereotypes while providing a support network to facilitate stability, integration and autonomy. The project attracted compelling references and a strong volunteer base, while the judges also noted that the £25,000 prize would make a real difference to a small start-up charity working with very few volunteers.

Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) (Thailand): For improving access to essential services for vulnerable displaced communities along the Thai-Myanmar border and in eastern Myanmar. The scope of a well organised and established organisation that provides conflict-affected communities with access to quality healthcare, education for 2,100 students in boarding schools as well as child rights awareness and teachers impressed the judging panel as did the achievement of training more than 2,000 health workers from ethnic areas of Eastern Myanmar who now provide primary healthcare in their respective communities.

Small Projects Istanbul (SMI) (Turkey) – Muhra, a Social Enterprise for Refugee Women: Awarded for its self-sufficiency and commercial success, Muhra is a local handcraft brand. The judges agreed that the small scale but intense enterprise worked as well for the individual craftswomen involved as for the venture as a whole. It also stood out for being initiated by Turkish women in Fatih, Istanbul, working with women refugees from Syria and Afghanistan among other places, enabling them to use their new skills to earn an income to support themselves and their families, providing economic empowerment and self-determination.

The other 2020 finalists and their projects were: 

  • AMERA International, for its support of refugee legal aid and in particular for its refugee information processing system in the UK, South America, Africa and Asia.
  • De Laas Gul Welfare Program, for its work promoting girls’ education and delivering primary education to refugee girls in Pakistan.
  • Jusoor, which is extending educational and entrepreneurial opportunities to Syrian children and youth in the Middle East, UK, Canada and the United States.
  • Kav LaOved, protecting refugee and asylum-seeker rights in Israel through individual assistance and advocacy to improve the legal, policy and regulatory framework of the labour market.
  • Melissa, a network for migrant and refugee women in Greece, promoting empowerment, integration and social cohesion.
  • Shatila Studio Limited, a social enterprise project run by Syrian and Palestinian women for Syrian and Palestinian women, in Lebanon’s Shatila refugee camp.
  • Tumaini Letu festival, nominated by Lake of Stars Africa, creates a cultural festival in Malawi’s Dzaleka refugee camp, designed and delivered by refugees to promote intercultural understanding with the host community.

The four annual cash prizes recognise and reward innovative work that delivers evidential self-reliance to refugees and/or IDPs, the hallmark of Ockenden International since its inception in 1951. The four annual prizes are open to projects or programmes focused on IDP/refugee self-reliance anywhere in the world. The 11 short-listed projects for 2020 were judged by Ockenden International’s seven-member Advisory Panel:

  • Michael Buerk, Broadcaster
  • Dr. Dawn Chatty, Professor of Anthropology and Forced Migration; former Director of the Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford and Emeritus Fellow, St Cross College
  • Dr. Georgia Cole, the Margaret Anstee Research Fellow at the Margaret Anstee Centre for Global Studies, Newnham College, University of Cambridge
  • Dr. Avila Kilmurray, Trustee, Conciliation Resources and consultant with The Social Change Initiative
  • Dame Frances Lannon, former Principal and Honorary Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford
  • Dr. Alice Nah, Lecturer at the Centre for Applied Human Rights, University of York.
  • Mike Wooldridge, OBE, former BBC Foreign Correspondent

Mr James Beale, Director Programme Delivery and Resource, Plan International, Trustee and former CEO, Ockenden International, advised.