20 June 2014

Africa: Q&A - Rethinking Approaches to Refugee Assistance


Oxford — In this podcast, Alexander Betts, director of the Humanitarian Innovation Project (HIP) at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, discusses why - and how - the global community should radically rethink humanitarian responses to refugees.

Refugee economies, a myth-busting report published today (World Refugee Day) by HIP, says responses to refugee crises are often designed around short-term protection and assistance - an unsustainable strategy that frequently leads to "long-term misery". [1]

But there are alternatives. In the interview, Betts describes how HIP's investigations in Uganda - a country with an unusually liberal policy towards refugee employment and freedom of movement - brought researchers into contact with vibrant economic networks of refugees, often geared around technological innovation, such as maize milling businesses and radio stations.

He says such networks have enabled refugees to become more self-sufficient and to contribute to the national economy, bringing benefits to both refugee and host communities.

Listen here.

Link to Refugee economies


[1] Alexander Betts and others Refugee economies: Rethinking popular assumptions (Humanitarian Innovation Project, June 2014)

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