Entries closed for the 2021 Ockenden International Prizes

The three-month window, September 1st to November 30th, for entries in the 2021 Ockenden International Prizes for successful self-reliance refugee projects has closed.

Ockenden International’s ninth annual quest to find and reward the most effective self-reliance projects for refugees and/or displaced people will be discovered in the coming months.

The GBP100,000 prize money is to be shared equally by four winners who will each receive GBP25,000 to extend their projects and programmes.

The cash prizes recognize and reward innovative work that promotes self-reliance among refugees and/or displaced people anywhere in the world – a distinguishing feature of Ockenden International and its predecessor organisation, Ockenden Venture, since 1951.

The chair of Ockenden International, Judith Ingham said: “Thousands of refugees and IDPs – and their communities – are benefitting from the self-reliance and independence these projects promote.

Prizes given since their launch in 2012 currently total GBP675,000, which has been shared by 25 projects in 17 countries and regions. The prize money promotes best practice and enables our winners to develop their winning projects to improve the lives of those facing some of the most challenging global issues of the day.”

Submissions for the GBP25,000 prizes are sought from non-profit organisations, which can enter their own projects or alternatively nominate projects managed by non-profit partners or affiliated organisations. Projects can be led by – or have a high level of participation from – the project beneficiaries themselves.

Prizes will be awarded to projects that promote self-reliance among refugees and/or displaced people. ‘Self-reliance’ is understood broadly and may be furthered by projects promoting education, providing legal assistance, or developing life skills and by any other programmes that help displaced people build stable, independent lives.

The entries will be judged by a panel of experts who will be looking for highly effective projects that have led to real change in people’s lives, with measurable evidence of outcomes, as explained in the Entry Rules and Judging Criteria. The deadline for entries was midnight (GMT) on Monday, November 30, 2020, with the four winners to be announced by March 31, 2021.

The Ockenden International Prizes remain focused on identifying solutions to the challenges faced by displaced people, raising awareness of their needs, and rewarding outstanding projects.

The 2020 winners and their winning projects

The four winning projects of 2020 came from Honduras, Greece, Thailand and Turkey.

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.