World Refugee Day: Supporting women refugees’ economic empowerment

20 June, 2017

Refugees around the world are commemorated for their courage and strength every June 20.

Yet half of the 19 million refugees worldwide are women with specific needs and vulnerabilities that are often overlooked.

To help women get back on their feet, the UN refugee campaign provides entrepreneurship skills and boosts women’s leadership.


In this campaign, women on the ground are being provided economic and social rehabilitation to empower them.


Hawa, 23, was eight months’ pregnant and became isolated when her husband was killed in combat in Central African Republic (CAR).

With the hopes of starting afresh for her son, she crossed into Cameron and became a refugee. Now she sells cassava flour, dried fish and nuts at the camp’s marketplace, and the UN Women staff have trained her to do a business plan.


Ouseina Hamadou, 22, who lives in the Ngam refugees host community, was trained by UN Women, developed a business plan and was provided with financial assistance to reinvest in a restaurant.


Europeans have also come up with innovative business ideas to create solutions for female refugees and in Norway, innovators and entrepreneurs took part in a “hackathon”. One app created at the event, The Digital Grab Bag, records identification data of refugees so they can be easily verified and their credentials protected.


“The average length of displacement is 25 years,” explains Caroline Rusten, Chief of UN Women Humanitarian Unit. “We need solutions for the immediate challenges, as well as for the long-term challenges faced by displaced women and refugees. And we need to embrace new technology to find more effective ways of doing things.”


Therefore in order to help alleviate this refugee crisis, the UN believes that more companies and businesses could be the answer to a better future.