Market Assessment of Digital Employment Opportunities for Refugee Youth

Young people are among those most disproportionately affected by displacement, with those under the age of 35 accounting for just over half of the global refugee population.

Whether in camps or urban settings, refugee youth face challenges gaining access to employment; from legal constraints regarding the right to work or freedom of movement, to stiff competition with host communities seeking similarly scarce employment opportunities. Within this context, the digital economy has emerged as a promising vehicle for matching the skills of young refugees with existing jobs.

In this new report, carried out in the context of WUSC’s DREEM Partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, we present an assessment of the labour market system for  sustainable digital employment  for refugee youth in Kenya. We present an analysis of the opportunities and challenges associated with this market for refugee youth, with a focus on women.

The report concludes with recommendations for WUSC and other development agencies aimed at building an enabling environment for the creation of digital employment opportunities for refugee youth, particularly women.

1. Because there is a demonstrated lack of information about the many training opportunities in digital skills currently available to refugee youth, curate a catalogue of digital service providers available for young people interested in building skills and getting involved in digital work.

2. In order to ensure that young people can access training and digital employment that is safe, co-create a package of digital safeguarding training and awareness tools to be universally adopted by training centres and internet service providers.

3. In order to overcome the capital costs required to enter digital employment, start a small grant scheme for the purchase of personal devices and data bundles for those in need.

4. Understanding that there are existing programs and opportunities that can be further leveraged and scaled, make short-term strategic investments into pre-existing services.

5. Focus longer-term investments into building services in the least developed areas.

6. In order to offer more centralized and coherent access to services and employment, develop a new digital hub into a ‘Centre for Digital Employment’.

7. Focus on supporting key local trainers in digital skills to improve their ability to provide training services in the refugee environment.

8. In order to grapple with the challenges associated with small-scale, freelance, digital work, support refugee and host community freelancers to form business collectives.

9. Strategically plan for employment opportunities for refugee youth both internally and with other key partners.

Read the full report

This report was produced as part of our DREEM project, funded by the Mastercard Foundation. Learn more about the DREEM project here.

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