Online Project Showcase

Refugee Women’s Livelihoods Group

  • Organisation:

    Australia for UNHCR

  • ABN or Auspicing Organisation:

    35 092 843 322

  • Scope of Activity:


  • Geographic Location:

    Kampala, Uganda

  • Target Groups:



Funding Information

  • Total Funding Required (AUD):


  • Current Funding (AUD):


  • Funding Needed (AUD):


  • Tax Deductability Status (DGR):


  • Tax Concession Status (TCC):


  • DGR Additional Information:


  • Other Funding Partners:

    Currently internally funded

Project Information

  • Project Commencement Date:
  • 1 Jan 2017
  • Project Completion Date:
  • Ongoing
  • What issues are addressed?:
  • The Refugee Women’s Livelihood Group was established to address livelihood barriers faced by female refugees as they adapt to their new environments. An estimated eighty percent of those forced to flee are women and children, meaning women often arrive alone or with their children and are faced with changing family responsibilities as they become the sole provider for the household. In most cases, women arrive without any means to support themselves and rely on assistance to pay for even basic necessities.
    The Group gives the women a means to support themselves whilst also facilitating social interaction and comradery by bringing vulnerable women together. This network of support also builds a sense of identity and belonging as the women adapt to their new surroundings. By building a set of practical skills, the women become financially independent and support their families, while also contributing to the local economy. This allows the participants to rebuild their lives with dignity
  • Project Description:
  • The Refugee Women’s Livelihood Group was established by InterAid at the request of UNHCR in Kampala, Uganda. Women are the sole providers for many of the refugee families living in Kampala’s slum districts, having fled from conflict in DRC, South Sudan, Burundi and Rwanda. Of the original group, nine were widows and the sole bread winners for their families. All were identified as vulnerable, living in poor conditions and struggling to meet the needs of their multiple dependents.
    The group of refugee women produce African beaded key rings. The initial project aimed to directly support vulnerable refugees living in an urban environment and also provide a more direct connection between Australian donors and refugees. Each new donor is now provided with a key ring as a thank you for supporting the UN Refugee Agency. Donors are then invited to hear each of the ladies’ personal stories through strong content featuring photos and videos on our website.
  • Alleviating suffering / disadvantage?:
  • The opportunity to work and earn a living is one of the effective ways for displaced women to rebuild their lives in dignity and peace. Australia for UNHCR supports livelihood programs to foster skills development and self-sufficiency among refugee populations. It allows women to contribute to their host economy, creating strong social ties to the local community. The program empowers women to rebuild their lives. The women who benefited from the program have expressed the life-changing impact a steady income has had on their wellbeing. With their newfound independence, the women are able to provide for themselves and their family. “I was struggling financially for many years before I entered the Refugee Women’s Livelihood Group to learn new skills and share my ideas and experience. The money I have earned has allowed me and my family to eat more regularly, move out of our mud shack and rent a new room” – Chantal, 27 from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Changing Policy, Practices & Systems?:
  • In urban settings, protection and livelihoods are closely intertwined. Forcibly displaced people need to acquire goods and services, and cash every day, but many aspects of urban settings make the pursuit of livelihoods risky. Uganda’s refugee policy is progressive and open, allowing these women the opportunity to earn an income, however even in situations where refugees can legally work, access to decent employment continues to be a huge obstacle.

    Beyond meeting protection objectives, UNHCR work to promote economic inclusion of those forced to flee their homes by advocating for their right to work and building their livelihoods through market-oriented programmes. With the support of the public, Australia for UNHCR strives to empower women and their families to build strong social, economic and cultural ties with their host communities, and to strengthen their capacity to claim their rights.
  • Investing in or empowering women?:
  • The members of the Refugee Women’s Livelihood Group have expressed how the project has been life-changing for each of them, helping to support their families through provision of shelter, and money to feed their families and send their children to school.
    One of many examples of how this project empowers women is Agnes. Agnes is a refugee from Rwanda and the sole parent of two daughters. When they arrived in Uganda, she and her children lived under a tarpaulin in a slum district of Kampala and survived by doing laundry for neighbours. Since joining the Group and learning to make keyrings, Agnes has moved the family into better accommodation and seen many positive changes in her life.

    “I am no longer lonely because the Refugee Women’s Livelihood Group always meet and help each other. I can now pay rent and eat at least once a day… I hope to keep working with the group so I can feed my children a balanced diet and pay for better medication for myself. Thank you for giving me hope.”
  • Media / Promotion?:
  • When National Director, Naomi Steer, visited the project in 2015, she saw an opportunity for mutual benefit. Australia for UNHCR subsequently ordered thousands of the beaded keyrings to include in its welcome packs for new donors.
    Each new donor is provided with a keyring as a thank you for supporting UNHCR and to serve as a daily reminder of the plight of refugees, the work of UNHCR, and the impact that their support has provided to each of the women in the Refugee Women’s Livelihood Group. Donors are then invited to hear each of the ladies’ personal stories through strong content featuring photos and videos on our website.
    In addition to the information provided to donors with the welcome pack, the project is promoted through articles in our biannual newsletter ‘With You’, and is featured on our social media channels.
  • How is success evaluated / measured?:
  • The success of the Refugee Women’s Livelihood Group is measured by the impact this livelihood project has on the women it serves. UNHCR assesses how well the women have adapted to their new environments, the number of women who are receiving a steady income as a result of the project, and the general wellbeing of each individual. Australia for UNHCR monitors the amount of keyrings sold, ensuring that the project is well-staffed and that each member of the Refugees Women’s Livelihood Group has a manageable workload.
    Every new regular giver receives a keyring in their welcome pack. Donors find that the key rings are high quality, attractive and very practical, and will hopefully serve as a daily reminder of the plight of refugees, the work of UNHCR, and the impact that their support has provided to each of the women in this vulnerable group.

Contact Information

  • Contact Person:

    Elizabeth Grady

  • Email:

  • Website:

    Click Here

  • Phone:

    (02) 9276 6866