SNV recently launched the Refugee Integration and Self-reliance in Ethiopia (RISE) project. The project aims to increase decent job opportunities for refugees and to further develop their skills. RISE is implemented with the support of The Netherlands Embassy in Ethiopia and in partnership with the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA).
Ethiopia hosts 928,663 (50.2% female) registered refugees from over nineteen countries. The country is challenged in providing adequate quality basic services and resources sustainably. SNV in partnership with the Government of Ethiopia launched RISE to support the economic integration of refugees and host communities through the promotion of inclusive business by Dutch affiliated private companies.
So far the project carried out the following activities:
- Scanning – in collaboration with the Legal Bureau of Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA), SNV scanned the structure of urban refugee representatives living and voluntarily operating in Addis Ababa on protection, health, HIV/AIDS and youth capacity building.
- Consultation – SNV brought together refugee representatives from clusters of Burundi, DRC, Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Yemen, and other minority groups. In collaboration with the government, the participants nominated eleven representatives (by nation) to serve as contact persons and to liaise with SNV and the refugees. The representatives will also serve as agents to disseminate information. SNV has conducted subsequent refugee consultations to understand the urban refugee environment and to discuss the new refugee legislation.
- Private sector engagement – RISE started to engage with private sector representatives like TULIP water Filter Company. This process will follow a phase-based approach, starting with the sales of water filters in 10 sales outlets in Addis Ababa and manufacturers in the country. This will require the employment of more than 40 salespersons. The government and SNV will work closely with the private sector to smoothen job placement. Rental of outlet shops will be finalised soon.
- Capacity enhancement – The project will help private companies to absorb refugees and host communities in their workforce. To complement this, RISE will develop Terms of Reference to run trainings for refugees to strengthen their socio-economic integration with the host communities.
The pilot phase of RISE noted that refugees representatives were reluctant at first contact as their previous experience with other agencies was only for ad-hoc trainings with no further prospects.“Later refugees have been responsive and respected our close monitoring and frequent discussions. The subsequent consultation and follow-up from the RISE team won their attention and surprised them to the extent of requesting to permanently serve as contact agents for SNV” said Beza Teferra, RISE Project Manager.
The pilot project will now be scaled up to create employment for more refugees and host communities, and the lessons learned will be shared to influence policies and future programmatic works.