* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Refugee projects in Uganda, Egypt and Nepal have been selected as the three finalists for the prestigious Ockenden International Prize. The winner of the 2017 prize, to be presented in late February or early March next year. will receive $US100,000. The two runners-up each receive $US25,000.
The preliminary judges were impressed by the projects’ emphasis on refugee self-reliance, which is at the core of Ockenden International’s values.
The finalists and their projects are:
• ‘Consolidation of Legal Aid Services to Forced Migrants’.
School of Law, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
• ‘IDPs Support Project in Rasuwa’,
Parivartan Patra, Nepal
Nominated by CORDAID, The Netherlands
• ‘Unaccompanied Youth Bridging Program (UYBP)’,
St. Andrew's Refugee Services (StARS), Cairo, Egypt
The winner will be determined after presentations are made to a panel of five expert judges at Oxford University on Tuesday, February 28 or March 7 next year. Each finalist will bring a three-strong team to the UK for the presentations to the jury, chaired by broadcaster Michael Buerk. The winner will be announced and the prize presented within an hour at a VIP ceremony and dinner at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University.
Consolidation of Legal Aid Services to Forced Migrants in Kampala, Uganda provides legal representation, education, mental health and psychosocial wellbeing, sexual and gender-based violence protection, conflict and transitional justice programmes as well as media and social change programmes.
IDP Support Project in Rasuwa, Nepal is a recovery and reconstruction project in the mountain district of Rasuwa following the devastating 2015 earthquake. The project, nominated by The Netherland’s CORDAID, is implementing water sanitation, livelihood, disaster risk reduction and shelter programmes.
Unaccompanied Youth Bridging Program (UYBP) (Uganda) is a Client-centered rights programme focused on quality of life for refugees in Egypt, providing a comprehensive range of social services including psychosocial, education and legal advice.
In choosing the winner, the 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 2016 Prize, presented by the BBC World Affairs Editor, John Simpson CBE, went to Uganda’s Young African Refugees for Integral Development (YARID) ‘Women Empowerment Project’. The 2015 winner was Everyone Supports Returnees, a project for displaced people forcibly returned to Burundi from Tanzania. The 2014 Prize was won by 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