The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has announced a three-year, €38 million ($41.8 million) grant from the IKEA Foundation in support of refugee initiatives in Burkina Faso and Ethiopia.
The funds will be used to improve basic services designed to help refugees become more independent, ease the burden on the communities hosting them, and foster peaceful co-existence. The grant includes €33 million ($36.3 million) for the Ethiopia program in support of UNHCR's efforts to increase and diversify economic opportunities for more than two hundred thousand Somali refugee in five refugee camps in the Dolla Ado region; provide training, agricultural development, and support to small businesses; and promote access to markets. The grant also will support UNHCR's global efforts to provide clean and renewable energy sources for household lighting and cooking, as well as environmental rehabilitation programs.
The remaining €5 million ($5.6 million) will support efforts in Burkina Faso's Sahel region, which hosts the majority of the more than thirty-three thousand Malian refugees in the country. Among other things, the funds will support a multiyear project to develop sustainable dairy micro-enterprises that help thousands of refugees earn an income, participate in their local communities, and keep their children in school.
"We believe that every child deserves a quality education, a sustainable family income, and a healthy start in life," said IKEA Foundation CEO Per Heggenes. "That's why we are supporting UNHCR's work to bring education and clean energy to refugees living in UNHCR camps and to help refugee families become more self-reliant. We want their children to have better opportunities for the future."