RefugePoint provides lasting solutions for some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees. Its approach is to identify and protect those who have fallen through the cracks of other humanitarian assistance programs. RefugePoint works throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and emphasizes helping women, children, and urban refugees.

Budget
$5,600,000

Headquarters
689 Massachusetts Ave.
2nd floor
Cambridge, MA 02139

Countries Served
Burundi, Democratic Republic
of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia,
Kenya, Myanmar, Rwanda,
Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Zambia

Problem


There are over 65 million forcibly displaced individuals worldwide due to conflict or persecution, with 20 people become newly displaced every minute. Over 22.5 million of those displaced are refugees, meaning they have been forced to flee their home country.

Around half (51%) of all refugees are children, many of whom are separated from their parents or travelling alone.

84% of refugees come from low- and middle-income countries close to situations of conflict, are extremely poor, and therefore are particularly vulnerable and with few options available.

Public programs providing refugee assistance are perpetually underfunded, leaving the vast majority of refugees in desperate situations, often struggling for survival.

Programs Offered


Through two flagship programs, RefugePoint (RP) has worked in 49 locations in 28 countries and has assisted refugees who have fled from 39 different countries.

RESETTLEMENTS PROGRAM:

This program involves permanently relocating refugees to countries that have active formal programs for resettling refugees. Although the resettlement quotas are de minimis for most host countries, the United States, Canada, and Australia have recently accepted refugee resettlement applications in modest numbers (approximately 65,000, 20,000, and 10,000 respectively). The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is responsible for managing the resettlement process on behalf of all refugees via interactions with countries that have permanent resettlement programs. As with many of the UN’s tasks, the UNHCR is overwhelmed by the magnitude of the need and under-resourced. In partial response, RP provides staff to augment UN resources in UNHCR resettlement offices across Africa, taking on case management for the most at-risk refugee applicants whom they believe still have a chance of being accepted by receiving countries.

URBAN REFUGEE PROTECTION PROGRAM:

RP’s second program provides lifesaving interventions, such as shelter, health care, and business training directly to the most vulnerable urban refugees in Nairobi. The vast majority of the 21 million refugees worldwide are living in urban settings in foreign countries where they struggle to survive and adapt. Refugees, even if registered with UNHCR, frequently find themselves in a quasi-legal status where there remains a perpetual risk of arrest, harassment, and persecution by local officials and residents. Although most people think of a refugee’s status as a transitional or temporary in nature, the reality is that most refugees remain in refugee status for 20 years, and frequently the condition is permanent. RP recognizes this unfortunate reality and works to help refugees integrate locally, live safely and with dignity, and learn income producing skills to put them on a path to self-reliance and sustainability.

Although the Urban Refugee Program currently exists only in Nairobi, RP believes there are opportunities to replicate and scale this program to other cities in Africa where there are high concentrations of refugees living in an urban setting.

Historical Results


RESETTLEMENTS PROGRAM:

RefugePoint’s M&E regarding the UNHCR Collaboration Project counts the services provided by RP-funded staff deployed in UNHCR centers around Africa. The key performance indicator is the number of resettlement referrals completed by RP staff to host nations (United States, Canada, and Australia being the major hosts). Although it is impossible to precisely link the number of submitted resettlement referral cases to a number of accepted cases, all evidence suggests that 80% to 90% of completed applications to the United States, Canada, and Australia are accepted (i.e. result in actual resettlements to the host country).

  • Since 2005, RefugePoint has referred over 38,500 refugees for resettlement to 13 host countries.
  • 5,070 resettlement referrals in 2015 and 5,133 in 2016
  • Forecast 6,250 referrals in 2017

URBAN REFUGEE PROTECTION PROGRAM:

RefugePoint’s M&E regarding the Urban Refugee Protection Program focuses on moving refugees from vulnerable and unstable living conditions to becoming “self reliant.” RP determines self-reliance on the basis of Self-Reliance Measurement Tests (SMRTs)–proprietary to RP–that are given to the refugee every six months. The SMRT scores each refugee household on a scale of 1-4 in eight domains: food, shelter, non-food items, economic wellbeing, physical health, mental health, protection, and child protection.

  • 1,246 refugee clients graduated from RP’s program in 2015.
  • 543 refugee clients stabilized and 457 graduated from RP’s program in 2016.

Path to Credibility


  • Focusing Philanthropy partner since 2016
  • Recipient of Ashoka Award
  • In October 2016, two Focusing Philanthropy team members conducted an in-country due diligence visit with RefugePoint in Nairobi, Kenya. They were able to see firsthand the work that RefugePoint conducts with the UNHCR as well as the Urban Refugee Protection Program. They visited a vocational-skills workshop as well as the home of Conglese refugees who were currently receiving support from RefugePoint’s programs.
→ Read Nairobi, Kenya Trip Report

More Program Partners


Giving a voice to children alone in the foster care system.

Learn More

Empowering homeless and disadvantaged individuals to achieve self-sufficiency.

Learn More

Improving health, education, and opportunity through clean and safe drinking water.

Learn More

Empowering young people with the knowledge, skills, and resources to make healthy decisions.

Learn More

Providing one-on-one literacy tutoring to struggling readers in elementary school.

Learn More

Providing lasting solutions for the world’s most vulnerable refugees.

Learn More

Preparing young women with limited resources to be the first in their families to attend college.

Learn More

Transforming lives through sight-restoring surgery.

Learn More

Combating gender inequality and extreme poverty in urban slums.

Learn More

Increasing high school graduation rates of at-risk middle school students.

Learn More

Expanding access to consistent, quality healthcare to patients in underserved 
communities.

Learn More

Helping hard-working subsistence farm families gain food security and economic opportunity.

Learn More