Graduation approach for refugees


UNHCR promotes economic inclusion of all refugees ensuring the poorest of them are not left out. The Graduation Approach is a sequenced, multi-sector intervention that supports the poorest households to achieve sustained income and move out of extreme poverty within a specifi.ed period. Since 2014, UNHCR in partnership with Trickle Up, has supported adoption of the Graduation Approach in refugee contexts. To date, it has been initiated in 8 countries (Egypt, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Sudan). This commitment focuses on furthering an age and gender inclusive graduation approach in refugee contexts.


United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) United Nations system entity

Technical assistance, expertise and implementation; Policy, advocacy and convening power


  • Trickle Up

    Youth organization, civil society, non-governmental, non-profit organization

    Technical assistance, expertise and implementation

Sustainable Development Goals & targets

  • 8.5 By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value

Achievement At Glance

Technical support was provided to 6 countries (Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Ecuador) including technical missions, remote support, learning workshops, etc. 3400 participants are benefiting from the programs. The Graduation Approach implementation period is 18-24 months, thus concrete impact on the well-being of the targeted group have yet to be observed following the completion of the programs.

Beyond these pilot programs, plans to scale up are underway through the coalition of NGOs led by UNHCR together with the Partnership on Economic Inclusion of the World Bank. The aim is to alleviate poverty of 500,000 refugee and host community households in 35 countries in 5 years.


In 2018, UNHCR will continue to support the 8 field operations adopting graduation approach together with their local partners to ensure achievement of impact. Support will be through missions or remotely in the following: - capacity building of local staff to implement the graduation approach - design of the graduation program and its different components - provision of relevant tools, e.g. manuals, monitoring tools, etc. - technical guidance throughout the implementation period The support is expected to enhance country operations and partners' capacity to successfully implement the graduation approach in their context and generate sustainable self-employment and wage-employment opportunities for poor refugees, including the youth, enabling them to be self-reliant. The graduation approach targets all ages among the poorest of refugees. However, the proportion of youth participating in the program is determined based on context-specific conditions in the respective country of implementation. UNHCR will support expansion of the graduation approach to other refugee contexts through joint fundraising with Trickle Up. Importantly, UNHCR will enhance advocacy efforts for the inclusion of refugees in similar programs implemented by other actors such as the World Bank, USAID, government agencies, etc.

Deliverables and links to SDG targets

  • Progress: 6 out of 8 youth employment stakeholders supported through technical assistance, capacity-building or peer learning

    8.5 By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value

    8 country operations and their respective lead partners for graduation approach will be provided with technical support as described in the previous section.

    BY: Dec 2018





Target: All ages 20-24, 25-29, 30-35

  • Low-income individuals


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