The global refugee population has more than doubled in the past 10 years. Beyond official asylum-seekers, the United Nations’ Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is now concerned with over 86.5 million displaced people since the beginning of 2021. The forced displacement of people is caused by a variety of factors; including but not limited to political unrest, economic downturn, and climate change.

Refugees displaced and living within host communities encounter a myriad of challenges that differ greatly dependent on their base country. The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionally affected vulnerable populations and has exasperated their barriers to access interventions that protect their livelihoods.

In response, many refugee-focused organisations have emerged with novel and creative solutions to continue serving displaced populations during the pandemic, at a global, regional, and national level.

As part of the Sharjah International Award (SIA) for Refugee Advocacy and Support, three organisations have been recognised, for their demonstrable efforts and achievements in innovative approaches for the protection and continued delivery of impactful services to refugees during a time of uncertainty and disruption.

In collaboration with The Big Heart Foundation and the UNHCR, this panel discussion will convene the founders of the recognised refugee-focused non-profit organisations to discuss and bring perspective to the following objectives with the real-life examples and case studies:

  • The multi-faceted journey and life of being a refugee across the Middle East & Africa,
  • The on-ground adverse effects the COVID-19 pandemic has posed to refugees and other displaced populations,
  • Innovative practices that refugee-focused organisations have undertaken to overcome challenges caused by the pandemic.

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