The 2023 Ockenden International Prizes

£100,000 in Prizes to be Awarded

Entries are being accepted for the 2023 Ockenden International Prizes. The cash Prizes, for projects proven to advance 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, has launched its 11th annual competition 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 31st of March 2023 – 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 since its inception as the Ockenden Venture in the early 1950s.

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 bring to the fore.

“Prizes given since their launch in 2012 now total GBP875,000, which has been shared by 32 projects in 21 countries, regions and territories. 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 @ www.ockendenprizes.org. The three-month deadline for entries is midnight (GMT) on Wednesday the 30th of November, with the four winners to be announced by the end of March next year.

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

The four winning projects of 2022 came from China, Greece, Lebanon, Turkey and Ukraine, and the State of Palestine:

Justice Centre Hong Kong, China The 2022 judging panel said the Justice Centre Hong Kong, China, is doing essential work “providing strategic litigation in difficult circumstances.” The Justice Centre Hong Kong has a “clear and concrete focus on legal rights, providing access to legal representation for people from many countries and in many languages”. It has a good self-help App and has wedded psychosocial support initiatives to legal representation. “It is the only local NGO providing legal representation for refugees in Hong Kong,” the judges added.

INARA, Lebanon, Turkey and Ukraine The seven-member judging panel were impressed by (the International Network for Aid Relief and Assistance) INARA’s “long-term commitment to children recovering from and/or overcoming horrendous, life-changing injuries.” The US-established organisation is looking after 197 young patients “providing after care aimed at gaining a full and complete life through medical interventions and psychosocial support that fills an important gap, making a real difference to their chances of independence.”

Irida Women’s Center, Greece The ‘Irida Protection Project’ hit all the right Prize buttons: “It is a comprehensive project staffed and run by women who had been or were refugees themselves”. The project in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, provides basic protection and legal aid for displaced women from 35 countries “driven by the needs of the women themselves.” The judges noted the project’s flexible, adaptive and egalitarian administration, its organic development in a challenging environment “and successful outcomes that demonstrate how the lived experience can debunk myths about helpless women.”

UAWC, State of Palestine The judges said the UAWC food gardening project had proved to be an “effective small scale agricultural project.” The project’s beneficiaries live on land administered by the UN with little or no space for agriculture. Any agriculture has had to ‘think vertically’ with the rooftop gardening and seed project ensuring hard-won self-sufficiency. It was this year’s only finalist focused on ecology and emphasising sustainability instead of financial imperatives. “For people facing evictions and loss of independence this is a project genuinely rooted in community and self-reliance by producing its own food.”

There is more information about the Prizes in our Entry Rules & Judging Criteria.