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  • Writer's pictureAnja Limon

ORAM’s pledge at GRF 2023: expanding livelihoods for LGBTIQ refugees

In many transit countries and first countries of asylum, refugees do not have the legal right to work; furthermore, those who are seeking protection owing to persecution based on their sexual orientation and / or gender identity and expression (SOGIE) are often additionally excluded from meaningful employment due to their marginalization. Consequently, LGBTIQ refugees struggle to live lives of dignity and independence, as they are not able to support themselves or their close ones. This leads to further isolation from the refugee and host community, as well as high dependency on humanitarian support and cash assistance. Furthermore, a lack of self-reliance has a negative impact on peoples’ mental health, as they are forced to just wait in limbo for their potential resettlement to a safe third country.

Since 2019, ORAM has been implementing livelihoods projects in both Nairobi and Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, providing vulnerable LGBTIQ asylum seekers and refugees with skills and vocational training session, business training and mentorship, and initial capital (seed-funding) for trainees to start their own small-scale businesses. Throughout the last four years, ORAM has adapted our livelihoods and economic empowerment programmes to fit the unique challenges faced by LGBTIQ asylum seekers and refugees in vulnerable settings, like Kenya.

However, Kenya is not the only hub for LGBTIQ asylum seekers and refugees. The need for economic empowerment leading to self-reliance of this vulnerable group is prevalent in other transit countries, such as Mexico, Uganda, South Africa and Turkey. ORAM pledges to take lessons learnt in Kenya and build effective livelihoods programmes in two more transit countries over the next four years, supporting hundreds of new LGBTIQ refugees.

Through this pledge, ORAM will provide skills and vocational training based on local market assessments, local context and the existing skills and interests of the community. This pledge is in-line with the objective set out in the GCR, for the need to enhance refugee self-reliance and address the specific needs of vulnerable and marginalized groups within the refugee community. Through business training skills, such as financial literacy, business management and leadership, we will foster inclusive economic growth for refugees and host communities and promote economic opportunities, job creation and decent work opportunities. We will provide seed-funding to trained groups and individuals, who present a viable business plan, to support them in building new, local, small-scale businesses. Additionally, where possible, we will support trainees to access employment in existing local businesses.

ORAM will also conduct labour market analysis prior to the implementation of livelihoods programmes in a certain country or region, to truly understand the existing needs and opportunities of LGBTIQ refugees. This data will also then be available to other organisations interested in supporting the community.

In order to achieve these goals, ORAM will leverage and secure more corporate sector support in the form of resources, such as funding, mentorships, trainings and job opportunities.

Through this programme, ORAM also works closely with LGBTIQ refugee-led community- based organizations, empowering these groups to become sustainable organizations, able to continue supporting the community at large. This ensures that those with lived experience, those who most understand the needs have a seat at the table and are able to partake in project design, development and implementation. Additionally, refugee-led CBOs will therefore be provided the tools to become sustainable service providers on the ground and meet the unique challenges and needs LGBTIQ asylum seekers and refugees face locally. ORAM will also assist refugee-led CBOs to access funding from national and international donors.

In order to achieve this pledge, ORAM will continue to fundraise from private foundations, government funding sources and private donors.

Through this pledge ORAM strives to empower LGBTIQ asylum seekers and refugees to access meaningful employment and lived dignified lives in transit countries and countries of first asylum, leading to self-reliance of LGBTIQ refugee individuals and community.

Visit the GRF Pledge Database to view all pledges and contributions.

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