$US150,000 in Prizes for Refugee Self-Reliance Projects

by Corrie Parsonson | Freelance
Wednesday, 1 June 2016 01:39 GMT

Robert Hakiza, co-founder and Director of YARID (Young African Refugees for Integral Development), Uganda, the 2016 Prize winner. Photograph by www.richardbudd.co.uk ©2016

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2017 Ockenden Prize Open for Entries Ockenden International has launched its fifth annual prize for projects and programmes that excel in developing independence for refugees and internally displaced people – anywhere in the world.

The Prize, first presented in 2013, is worth $US100,000 to the winner with the two runners-up each receiving $US25,000.

The cash prizes recognize and reward innovative work that can be shown to promote self-reliance among refugees and/or internally displaced people (IDPs), the hallmark of Ockenden International since its inception in 1951.

Submissions for the Prize must be from recognized and registered charities, which can also elect to nominate a project by a registered partner or affiliate organisation. There are no geographical limits on the locations of the projects but the judges will be looking for work started no earlier than June 1, 2013, and for evidence of properly measured and evaluated outcomes.

Deadline for entries is midnight (GMT) on Wednesday 31 August, with the three finalists to be announced in October.
The finalists – including at least one person in each team working with the project beneficiaries – will be invited to come to the UK to make final presentations to a specialist panel of judges. This will take place on either Tuesday 28 February or Tuesday 7 March 2017 at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University, and will be immediately followed by the prize-giving ceremony.

Objectives of the Prize include highlighting the challenges faced by displaced people, raising awareness of their range of needs, and providing reward and recognition for those giving outstanding support.

The latest figures from the UNHCR show the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide at the end of 2014 was 59.5 million – 19.5 million refugees and 38.2 million IDPs. This is an increase of more than 10 million people in one year.

The 2016 Ockenden International Prize was awarded to YARID Uganda for its ‘Women Empowerment Project’ based in the capital Kampala, which teaches English and trade skills in a project devised and maintained by its beneficiaries.

The two 2016 runners-up were Cord UK’s ‘Sustainable self-led education for Sudanese (Darfuri) Refugees’ (Chad), a refugee-led education project that has empowered refugee families to create their own Student-Parent Associations and Primary Education Committees and Mercy Corps Europe’s ‘Fostering self-reliance for displaced Syrians in South Lebanon’ 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’.

The prizes were presented by John Simpson CBE, BBC World Affairs Editor, at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, on Tuesday evening 23 February.

Previous guest speakers have included the Most Reverend & Right Honourable Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, (2015), HRH, the Princess Royal (2014) and Stephen Cooke, Senior Trustee of Ockenden International (2013).

More information about The Prizes, eligibility criteria and the Online Entry Form are available on Ockenden International’s website http://www.ockendenprizes.org and https://www.facebook.com/OckendenPrizes

Note for editors: The organisation’s roots lie in the work of three British schoolteachers, led by Joyce Pearce, who founded what later became the Ockenden Venture in 1951.

Their simple aim was to receive in Britain young East Europeans from homeless persons’ camps in Germany and to provide for their maintenance, education and welfare. 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 Joyce Pearce, the driving visionary of the organisation, died in 1985, 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 sustainable and that it could work more effectively by becoming a prize-giver and donor by promoting awareness of the challenges facing displaced people.

Media contact: enquiries@ockendenprizes.org