One of the biggest challenges facing refugees and migrants is navigating the livelihoods and financial landscape of a camp or city after they arrive in a host or transit country. This camp or city may be their intended destination or a place of transit; nevertheless, they may spend several years there, and need to find a way to survive financially, support themselves and their families (including those still back home), and hopefully even thrive. We refer to this achievement as ‘financial health.’
To better understand and meet these needs, the IRC and our partner Tufts University launched the FIND research project in April 2019. This report explores how refugees navigate financial and livelihoods obstacles, and the strategies that enable them to manage their finances, access financial services, and attain some measure of financial health and sustainable livelihoods. We focus on two host countries, Uganda and Mexico, both with large numbers of diverse groups of refugees, many of whom have been displaced for years.
The IRC also recently published a report looking at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and digitalization on financial inclusion of refugees, based on IRC’s programme expertise and the FIND research in Uganda and Mexico, but also Jordan Kenya and Ethiopia.
After studying the financial lives of displaced populations, the IRC has designed a client-response program to meet the specific needs of refugees in Yumbe and Kampala. The pilots in each location aim to address specific barriers raised in the research. Findings from these pilots will be available in spring 2021 and will inform IRC and other humanitarian actors future programming.