* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The three finalists in the 2016 $100,000 Ockenden International Prize for refugee projects have been decided.
Projects in Uganda, Lebanon and Chad will vie for the main prize to be presented in February next year by doyen of foreign correspondents, the BBC’s world affairs editor, John Simpson.
The short-listed projects impressed the preliminary judges with their emphasis on self-reliance, which Ockenden International sets out to reward.
The finalists and their projects are:
• ‘Fostering Self-Reliance for Displaced Syrians in South Lebanon’. Nominee: Mercy Corps, Scotland, UK www.mercycorps.org.uk
• ‘Sustainable Self-Led Education for Sudanese (Darfuri) Refugees’, Gaga, Farchana, Bredjing and Treguine Refugee Camps, Ouaddaï region, Eastern Chad. Nominee: Christian Outreach (Cord) www.cord.org.uk
• ‘Women Empowerment Project’, Katwe, Nkere Zone, Makindye Division, Kampala – Uganda Nominee: Young African Refugees for Integral Development (YARID) www.yarid.org
The winner will be determined after live presentations are made to a panel of five expert judges at Oxford University on Tuesday, February 23, next year. Each finalist will bring a three-strong team to the UK for the presentations where an expert jury, to be chaired by broadcaster, Michael Buerk, will decide the winner of the prestigious $100,000 prize to be announced and presented immediately after at a VIP ceremony and dinner at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University. The other two finalists each receive $25,000.
Fostering self-reliance for displaced Syrians in South Lebanon is a project combining market-driven vocational training, mentoring, internships and long-term support and the provision of tools and materials for refugees and host communities with limited resources.
Sustainable self-led education for Sudanese (Darfuri) Refugees (Chad) is a refugee-led education project that has empowered refugee families to create their own Student Parent Associations and Primary Education Committees.
Women Empowerment Project (Uganda) teaches English, business skills, tailoring and handcraft to female refugees, asylum seekers and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to help overcome deprivation and vulnerability to become healthy, educated, self-sustaining and contributing members of society. The finalists’ judging panel will be looking in particular for evidence of increased self-reliance in the communities supported – the central ethos of the Prize, which recognises and rewards work to improve the lives of refugees and displaced people all over the world.
The 2015 winner, presented by the Right Honorable Dr. John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, in February, was Everyone Supports Returnees, a project for displaced people forcibly returned to Burundi from Tanzania. Last year’s winner was the Norwegian Refugee Council for a land rights project in Zimbabwe, which benefited 5,000 people, while the inaugural Prize, awarded in 2013, went to India’s Centre for Development (CfD) partnered by UK charity Childreach International for its Piplaj Advocacy Project to empower a deeply impoverished community in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
More information about the Prize, previous winners and their projects as well as Ockenden International and its history can be found at www.ockendenprizes.org and www.facebook.com/OckendenPrizes
Note for editors
Ockenden International’s roots lie in the work of three British schoolteachers, led by Joyce Pearce. Starting out in 1951, their humble aim was to receive in Britain young East Europeans from homeless persons’ camps in post-war Germany and to provide for their maintenance, education and welfare. As Ockenden Venture, this work later extended to projects in India, North Africa and Southeast Asia. The Venture’s expertise and skills in helping people help themselves was so well recognised by 1979 that the British government asked Ockenden to be one of the three charities tasked with helping Vietnamese ‘boat people’ resettle in the United Kingdom.
After the death in 1985 of Joyce Pearce, the driving visionary of the organisation, the charity took stock of its work and by 1999, as Ockenden International, had concentrated nearly all its work overseas. In 2007 the trustees decided that continuing to be an operational charity was no longer viable and that it could work more effectively by becoming a prize-giver and promoting awareness of the challenges facing refugees and displaced people.
Contact for media queries: Corrie Parsonson, Administrator, Ockenden Prizes
email@example.com | + 44 (0) 20 8416 0116