Entries closed for 2022 Prizes

Entry window: Wednesday, September 1st – Tuesday, November 30th 2021

Entries are no longer being accepted for the 2022 Ockenden International Prizes for innovative refugee and/or displaced people projects.

Four cash Prizes, for projects proven to improve refugee self-reliance, recognise the agency, dignity and autonomy of refugees and forced migrants, anywhere.

Ockenden International, renowned for its work for and with refugees for more than 70 years, launched its 10th annual competition on the 1st of September to find and reward the most effective self-reliance projects for refugees and/or displaced people.

The GBP100,000 prize money will be shared equally by four winners – to be announced by the end of March 2022 – who will each receive GBP25,000 to extend their projects and programmes.

The cash prizes recognize and reward groundbreaking work that advances self-reliance among refugees and/or displaced people anywhere in the world – a distinguishing feature of Ockenden International and its predecessor, 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 establish.

“Prizes given since their launch in 2012 now total GBP775,000, which has been shared by 28 projects in 18 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 our times.”

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 Tuesday, November 30, 2021, with the four winners to be announced by March 31, 2022.

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 four winning projects of 2021 came from Israel, Sweden, India and Greece:

ARTEAM (The Garden Library), Israel The 2021 judging panel was impressed by the project’s “clarity of purpose, the number of its teachers who are refugees and who share the same challenges and particular circumstances in southern Tel Aviv.” It was also singled out for its “genuine inclusiveness”, which the judging panel said is “based on policies of direct input and self-reliance, self-sustained in a challenging environment for refugees and asylum-seekers from Eritrea.” The number of women directly involved and the project’s ability to self-finance were also noted by the judging panel.

Dream Orchestra Ideell Förening, Sweden All eight judges were captivated by the charm of the Göteborg, Gävle, Alingsås-based orchestra project’s unique and imaginative leadership project that empowers young refugees by learning a musical instrument – to orchestra level standards – building the disciplines required for employment with the social skills necessary for integration while making them part of a community, essential building blocks to self-reliance. The judges said “the orchestra’s beautiful music underscores the project’s importance in elevating confidence and self-esteem – individually and collectively.”

The Ara Trust, India Nominated by the University of York’s Centre for Applied Human Rights, The Ara Trust, India’s Migration & Asylum Project (M.A.P.), based in New Delhi, won the judges’ attention for being led and staffed predominantly by women – in a male-dominated legislative and legal environment – women who they agreed are “effecting real change and evidence of it for the stateless through strategic acumen, development of a network of paralegals, a clear rights approach, strategic litigation cases, digital stories by refugees in advocacy and publication of a ‘know your rights’ booklet along with access to its services via social media. The Ara Trust has also successfully amplified the need for political and social change” the judges added.

Velos Youth, Greece The Velos Youth Centre project in Athens was chosen for providing a safe space and holistic support for a specific demographic: displaced, unaccompanied people, mostly men, aged 16-21. The judges were impressed that the Centre is run by refugees for refugees and is funded collectively. They liked the Centre’s focus on young men “vulnerable in this age group to many malign influences. The assistance and support provided are an exceptional example of constructive ways to support young people in making self-reliant lives” the judges said.