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Connect Refugee Program

Provide training, coaching, and connecting graduate refugees with local companies to eradicate unemployment issue.

Photo of Mutabazi Amani Clever
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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

Rwanda hosts 172,000 forcibly displaced people from both DRC and Burundi. Among this group, there are young children, boys, and girls born or raised on a run who are eager to learn and use the education to change and improve their future lives. These young refugees have been struggling to access higher education until GEM (Global Education Movement) approached this issue with practical and comprehensive quality of higher education. Despite receiving higher education, the currently critical issue is a high rate of unemployed refugees. The majority of the graduate refugees are not able to secure employment, others are under employed, while the rest haven’t even had the courage to launch their first job or internship application. Refugees Unemployment causes include lack of information, lack of professional network, lack of confidence to understand and improve on failures, belonging to wrong peer group, misuse of the little available resources, and lack of fundamental professional knowledge such as CV, and cover letter writing, effective communication, problem solving, ethical and effective use of technology. Refugees Unemployment results into many consequences some of which we are aware and others we are not. Some of the consequences include early pregnancies for young girls, contamination and spread of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and other more. Therefore, the program aims to enable refugees to secure their jobs of choice. The program will achieve this goal by providing a practical career guidance services that is structured into 2 phases “Train and Connect”. The train phase will help both graduate and enrolled refugees in local universities to be trained and equipped with skills in related to professionalism, work technology, effective communication, networking, and ethical use of available resources. After training, the trainees will go through the Connect Phase. In this phase, there will be different opportunities to visit and network with local organizations.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

Connect Refugee Program will mainly start its operation in Rwanda refugees camps of Kiziba, Mahama, Gihembe, Nyabiheke, Mugombwa, and Kigeme before expanding to other areas that host many displaced families with young generations.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

The program will help refugees get employments in the local community. This will be a perfect opportunity to meet local community members, exchange knowledge, support one another in contributing to the effective services and product delivery, learn a new culture and language as well as integrating new ways of solving problems as a united community who share a future with a lot of opportunities, challenges, and curiosities.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

The Refugee Connect Program is actually aiming to solve the issue of unemployment which has different consequences on the refugees lives. Many women and young girls are involved in sexual activities with the host people or other refugees who promised them to offer financial support to satisfy their basic needs. Unfortunately, they end up by getting early pregnancies while others are contaminated with STDs. Many young refugees especially boys are involved in utilizing drugs because they are definitely desperate about their future. The refugees fall into the trap of committing many crimes such demonstrations, theft, and others due to not being able to secure employment to satisfy their basic needs. Therefore, Connect Refugee Program will enable graduate and enrolled refugees in the universities to secure their dreamed jobs and earn income to support their families as well communities in general through training, coaching, and connecting them with private and government organizations.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

The Connect Refugee Program will enable the refugees to pursue their professional careers of choice through training and connecting them with the local companies. Therefore, the expected impacts will quantitatively measured in the ratios of 45% of the beneficiaries securing full-time employment, 35% securing professional internships while the remaining 20% will be able to earn through freelancing, and online content creation. The program will enable these refugees in camps to get income that will improve their living conditions as well as their financial level. This will mean a reduction and elimination of consequences associated with unemployment such as STDs, early pregnancies, demonstrations, theft, drug abuse, and more. The employed refugees will be able to get income that will help them to support their families, and hence puts an end to issues like crimes and other immoral activities. This will be a foundation of everlasting peace, collaboration, mutual respect, and solidarity.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

We retrieved the inspiration in our own experiences as people who lived and still live in camps where it is so difficult to get employment due to different reasons. After graduating from universities, we found it difficult to secure employment not because we are not skilled or hadn't excellent grades but because we lack some professional skills, networking, and communications skills which can enable us to get employment. After securing jobs and some professional experience, we discussed a lot and found it urgent and important to start working on Connect Refugee Program is a way of helping those behind in order to get ready to enter and succeed in the current job market. Besides, it is also a way of giving back to the community where we grew up in, learned from, and living in. Overall, the program inspired with the idea of preparing fresh graduate or college refugees students by providing all necessary practical skills that are needed to succeed at work.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

After interviewing refugees, a careful observation and analysis, we learned that some refugees are not confident to express their abilities since they lack practical skills which enable them to be more competent at the job market. In addition, we found that most of the local companies are not aware of refugees employ-ability and others still locked with the mindset that refugees are incompetent at workplace. So, Connect Refugee Program has devoted and determined to highly reduce the unemployment issue among refugees through providing training, coaching, and connecting refugees with local companies to secure their preferred employments.

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

Helping refugees requires commitment and passion to provide meaningful outputs which meet with their needs. Refugees who are living in Rwanda have access to education, especially secondary schools, though there are few refugees enrolled in Universities and are eager and willing to pursue their dreams through attending higher education. More importantly, Rwandan government is working hand in hand with the UNHCR to help the refugees to become self-reliant and contribute to the local economy of the host country. The government is also planning to increase formal access to work for refugees in order to be able to afford basic needs as well as increasing their purchasing powers. Connect Refugee Program will help the refugees to eradicate unemployment issue through facilitating them to identify their careers as well as increasing their knowledge and networks. Mainly, the program will enable the refugees to leverage financial asset through increasing the number of refugees who are employed.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

We will establish partnerships with local companies and look for working with organizations that support changes in the life of refugees such as UNHCR, ARC, ADRA, WFP, and others. Besides, we will also create partnerships with local institutions which provide education to different refugees like Kepler University, AUCA, ULK, UR, and African Leadership University.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Arriving and settling at a destination community

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Platform: Creating a community or market that facilitates interaction between users and resources

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Blueprint: We are exploring the idea and gathering the inspiration and information we need to test it with real users.

Group or Organization Name

Connect Refugee Program

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

Connect Refugee Program is Co-founded by two young professionals (Joseph Uwimana & Amani Muragwabugabo) who both have refugees experiences in Rwanda and DRC. Apart from that, Connect Refugee Program is a career guidance program that helps graduate refugees and refugees enrolled into universities to enter promising career paths. The program was founded on July-2019. They have both studied in the same university, shared room, shared hobbies, and currently are sharing an office and work responsibilities. It is throughout the constant discussions at work that lead to the idea and commitment to create and run Refugee Connect Program.

Type of submitter

  • We are not yet a registered organization but plan to register in future

Organization Headquarters: Country


Organization Headquarters: City / State



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Photo of Lesa Cote

Thank you for the blog on bridgebuilder. It is really challenging. The program on refugee is marvellous.

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