2021 Prize Finalists for Refugee Projects

Innovative projects deployed in nine countries have been short listed for the 2021 Ockenden International Prizes for refugee projects.

Ten projects, working effectively to enhance self-reliance for refugees and displaced people, are in the running for the four annual £25,000 prizes to be announced in London at the end of March.

The 2021 prizes, the ninth since their inception in 2013, attracted 146 entries from 43 countries with projects and programs operational worldwide.

The Chair of Ockenden International, Judith Ingham said: “Thousands of refugees and displaced peoples – and the communities in which they live and work – are benefitting from the self-reliance and independence these projects inspire.

“With a record 79.5 million people forcibly displaced worldwide, we at Ockenden strive to make the prize money for these projects reward best practice and enable the recipients to extend their reach in what are globally dreadful times for refugees, internally displaced people [IDPs] and asylum seekers.”

This year’s finalist programmes include: a community-based education initiative for migrant and asylum-seekers in South Tel Aviv, Israel, aimed at equipping its members to better self-advocate for their rights; comprehensive employment support and job matching for refugees in Greater London and surrounding counties, UK; leadership training for unaccompanied minor asylum seekers through peer-teaching in the orchestra in Göteborg, Gävle and Alingsås, Sweden; self-managed savings clusters for people without access to formal financial services in eight of Ecuador’s 24 provinces; a prize-winning robotics team called Team Hope, established as part of a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM-based) training course for Syrian refugees in Bekaa, Lebanon; distribution of locally-developed  financial products, services and training programs for the 20,000 refugee households in west central Uganda’s Nakivale and Kiryandongo settlements; training for distribution and maintenance of portable solar-powered refrigeration in the Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya; India’s first and only refugee law centre, which has brought about changed management processes for asylum-seekers in New Delhi; support for community-sponsored refugee resettlement to the UK; and a safe space for unaccompanied youths in Athens, Greece.

The organisations (in alphabetical order), their projects and organisation location short listed for this year’s awards, are:

  1. ARTEAM (The Garden Library), Israel – ‘The Community Education Center (CEC)’
  2. Breaking Barriers, UK – ‘BB Employment’
  3. Dream Orchestra Ideell Förening, Sweden – ‘Young Leaders Project’
  4. Misión Scalabriniana Ecuador – ‘Socio-economic Integration of Venezuelan and Colombian Refugees through Savings and Internal Lending Groups
  5. Multi-Aid Programs (MAPs), Lebanon – ‘Robogee’
  6. Opportunity International UK (OIUK), Uganda – ‘Refugee Innovation, Self-Reliance and Empowerment (RISE)’
  7. Solar Freeze, Kenya – ‘Solar Freeze’
  8. Sponsor Refugees, UK – ‘Sponsor Refugees’
  9. The Ara Trust (nominated by the Centre for Applied Human Rights (CAHR), University of York, UK) India  – ‘Migration & Asylum Project (M.A.P)
  10. Velos Youth, Greece – ‘Velos Youth Centre’

The four cash prizes recognise and reward innovative work that delivers evidential self-reliance to refugees and/or displaced people, the hallmark of Ockenden International since its inception as Ockenden Venture in 1951.

The four annual prizes are open to projects or programmes focused on displaced people/refugee self-reliance anywhere in the world.

The 10 short-listed projects for 2021 will be judged by Ockenden International’s eight-member Advisory Panel:

  1. Michael Buerk, Broadcaster
  2. Dr Dawn Chatty, Emerita Professor of Anthropology and Forced Migration, former
  3. Director of the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, 2011-2014
  4. Dr Georgia Cole, the Margaret Anstee Research Fellow at the Margaret Anstee Centre for Global Studies, Newnham College, University of Cambridge and former Joyce Pearce Junior Research Fellow, Refugee Studies Centre/LMH, Oxford
  5. Dr Dilar Dirik, the Joyce Pearce Junior Research Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford, a post held in conjunction with the Refugee Studies Centre     
  6. Dr Avila Kilmurray, Trustee, Conciliation Resources and consultant with The Social Change Initiative
  7. Dame Frances Lannon, former Principal and Honorary Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford
  8. Dr Alice Nah, Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Applied Human Rights, University of York
  9. Mike Wooldridge, OBE, former BBC Foreign Correspondent
The annual three-month window  for entries in the Ockenden International Prizes closed on 30th November 2020.

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