In May 2003 UNHCR's Evaluation and Policy Analysis Unit (EPAU) launched the Refugee Livelihoods Project to improve understanding of how refugees construct their livelihoods, to assess the nature and extent of UNHCR's involvement in supporting refugee livelihoods and to facilitate wider information exchange.
The closure of a microfinance initiative in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya highlights constraints facing such programmes and lessons to be learned.
Since 1998 the Norwegian Refugee Council has taken a lead role in providing microcredit to enable IDPs in Azerbaijan to stand on their own feet.
Establishing community credit facilities has become an important developmental tool for building livelihood strategies. In the refugee camps where the British NGO Christian Outreach Relief and Development (CORD) has worked, programmes have provided credit in the form of cash, agricultural inputs or livestock.
Over the past decade or so, microfinance has assumed an increasingly important role in the drive towards the economic and social empowerment of refugees.
While the first priority of the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) is to provide food aid to avert starvation, there is a growing recognition that more lives could be saved in the longer term by extending the focus of humanitarian assistance to include those at risk of losing their assets. Livelihood support activities must be based on careful analysis, sound programming and strong partnerships.
Has UNHCR been effective in promoting self-reliance through income-generating programs in southern Ukraine? What can be done to improve self-reliance in Ukraine and other ex-Soviet members of the Commonwealth of Independent States?
The widespread trend in the past decade towards a broader model of humanitarian relief has included 'livelihoods protection' as a preventive strategy to save lives. In Colombia, Oxfam GB and many other humanitarian agencies have pursued this strategy over the past five years in the form of productive packages - income-generation schemes - for displaced people.
Since 2001 Access First, a project of the Oxford-based charity Refugee Resource, has been working in partnership with other organisations to support refugees and asylum seekers into work and training that match their abilities and aspirations.
Some 15,000 refugees - escapees from wars in Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia - live in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, without UNHCR assistance. Rejecting residence in rural camps, they have chosen an environment in which they can use their skills to achieve self-sufficiency and dignity.
Many Mozambican refugees in South Africa have managed to move on from initial short-term survival strategies to achieve long-term livelihoods.
Some 50,000 Palestinian refugees live in Egypt without the assistance or protection of the UN and burdened by many restrictive laws and regulations. Little is known about their plight and their unique status.
Some 65,000 Tamil refugees from conflict in Sri Lanka live in 133 camps in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. As peace talks generate hope for their repatriation, the work of a self-help group, the Organization for Eelam Refugees Rehabilitation (OfERR), shows how refugees can equip themselves with skills to be used to rebuild their homeland.
Providing skills training for youth should be a key component in promoting secure livelihoods for refugees. Young people must be given the chance to develop the practical, intellectual and social skills that will serve them throughout their lives.
Women asylum seekers locked up in Australia suffer unnecessarily due to the gender insensitivity of detention centre staff.
A third of the estimated 600,000 IDPs in Sri Lanka live in areas controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE). Displaced people within these so-called 'un-cleared' or 'liberated areas' (terms used by the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE respectively) are at especial risk. Their situation highlights the difficulties of assessing protection and assistance in the context of conflict.
This overview article assesses progress towards adapting national policies and legislation to the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union more than three million Russians and members of other ethnic groups have left the other former Soviet republics to take up residence in the Russian Federation. Their integration into their 'historical fatherland' - and particularly addressing their housing needs - is one of the main concerns of Russia's migration policy.