From Burundi, land-locked in east Africa between Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and the DRC, comes the Initiative for Promoting Rural Health and Integrated Development (IPSDI). This project addresses the well-being of ‘returnees’, people who have come back to their ancestral lands after fleeing the genocides of 1993. The very local project is working in two Burundi communes in the provinces of Bubanza and Cibitoke. The judges commended “the local response to local needs of IDP/returnees in a challenging place”.
In Malaysia, Health Equity Initiatives, won for its enterprising Kiang Valley-based mental health well-being project that trains selected refugees and asylum seekers as Community Health Workers. The judges applauded a “constructive approach to the often neglected mental health issues among refugees/IDPs and training of health workers”.
Safe Passage, a Citizens UK project, operates in France, Greece, Italy, Belgium and the UK. It works across European borders, opening routes to enable refugee children from displacement camps and detention centres to reach safe places where they can lead a full and productive life. The judges said: “It is an important initiative in a politically-resistant, post-Brexit referendum environment”. A ‘just do it’ attitude, using legal means, practical advocacy and mentorship to unite child refugees with their families in Europe and help with resettlement was also highlighted.
The Lebanon Branch of Taawon (Welfare Association), won for LIFE: Learn I Inspire I Focus I Engage. This project is focused on skills education for Palestinian children refugees struggling against second-class citizenship and the exclusion from social, political and economic life entailed in getting by in Lebanon. The judges said: “A successful skills education program for the largely excluded Palestinian refugee community struggling – socially, politically and economically – in Lebanon”.
The annual prizes are open to projects or programmes focused on IDP/refugee self-reliance anywhere in the world. Ten initiatives, operational in 15 countries, were shortlisted for this year’s Prizes. They operate in a range of areas including agriculture and food security, education and community-learning, livelihoods and employment support, advocacy and legal assistance, and psycho-social support. They are working with a variety of displaced populations (including refugees and asylum-seekers, internally displaced, environmentally displaced and returnees) to improve the lives of more than 40,000 people in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
The other finalists, their projects and project locations:
The 2018 judges were:
Submissions for the new annual £25,000 prizes must be from non-profit organisations, which can also elect to nominate a project by a partner or affiliate organization. There are no geographical limits on the locations of submitted projects but Ockenden International invites entries for projects initiated no earlier than 36 months prior to the annual ‘call for entries’, scheduled this year for September 1, 2018. The organizers also expect evidence of properly measured and evaluated outcomes.
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 2017 prize was won by St Andrew’s Refugee Services (StARS) in Cairo, Egypt, for a programme designed to assist young unaccompanied adults. StARS’ ‘Youth Bridging Program’ is providing them with practical reasons, including education and other support, to further their careers in Egypt.
The two 2017 runners-up were the ‘Consolidation of Legal Aid Services to Forced Migrants’ from the School of Law, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda and ‘IDPs Support Project in Rasuwa’, a post-earthquake recovery programme from Parivartan Patra, Nepal (nominated by Cordaid, The Netherlands).
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