United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has awarded seven non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including four from Africa, for their refugee-led response to Covid-19 pandemic.
Each NGO will receive $15,000 prize money.
The UN agency recognised the humanitarian efforts of Great Step Initiative, Refugee Youth Education Hub, Association Vivre Ensemble, and Fruit Basket.
The UNHCR 2020 NGO Innovation Awards honoured the refugee-led organisations for helping forcibly displaced and vulnerable people cope during the pandemic.
Kenya-based Refugee Youth Education Hub promotes peace and development through learning.
The NGO set up a library of over 60,000 books to help refugees continue learning during Covid-19, as it hosted a local radio show that provided refugees and host communities with updates during the pandemic.
Morocco’s Association Vivre Ensemble (Live Together Association) was also awarded for promoting social cohesion among refugees and host communities in the country through youth activities in schools, summer camps, youth clubs and universities.
In addition to providing food and rental assistance to refugee and Moroccan families during the pandemic, the NGO also shared life-saving information through digital outreach campaigns.
Furthermore, the Fruit Basket, a South African NGO that advocates for the rights and safety of LGBTQI+ refugees, asylum seekers and migrants living in the country, responded to some most pressing needs during the pandemic.
The organisation provided food, rent and medication and also maintained a sense of community for those experiencing social isolation; while Great Step Initiative, established by Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria’s Adagom settlement, provided psychosocial counselling and set up a number of Covid-19 hotlines.
Other winners were Sweden’s Hero2B, Indonesia’s Roshan Learning Centre, and Honduras’ Jóvenes Contra la Violencia (Youth Against Violence).
‘Through this award, we want to give a signal that – more than any other type of organisation – refugee-led organisations have proven to be the most important and effective at finding innovative and local solutions to the challenges faced in their own communities during these difficult times’, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said during the virtual ceremony.
Photo source: UNHCR