Resourcing Refugee Leadership Coalition Wins $10 Million Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award

Asylum Access Press Release

New York, May 4, a global refugee-led coalition seeks to reshape system by putting ownership and resources into the hands of refugee-led organizations.

This press release is also available in Spanish here

Today, Lever for Change and ICONIQ Impact announced that the Resourcing Refugee Leadership Initiative, a six organization strong global coalition effort, is being awarded $10 million as the recipient of the Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award. The Award ─ sponsored by philanthropists Chris Larsen and Lyna Lam, and the Sea Grape Foundation ─ was created to support innovative and scalable solutions to secure a brighter, more durable future for refugees around the world.

The coalition, convened by Asylum Access, brings together refugee-led organizations Basmeh & Zeitooneh in Lebanon, Refugiados Unidos in Colombia, Refugees & Asylum seekers Information Centre (RAIC) in Indonesia, St. Andrew’s Refugee Services (StARS) in Egypt, and Young African Refugees for Integral Development (YARID) in Uganda.

The Resourcing Refugee Leadership Initiative believes that movements led by those most affected are most likely to be successful; that’s why the coalition’s solution is rooted in the importance of transferring ownership and resources to refugee-led organizations (RLO). As YARID Executive Director Robert Hakiza says “RLOs have the knowledge, skills, community connections and most importantly the commitment to reveal solutions to their communities. They simply need the funding to grow and sustain their work.” 

The Award will help establish the first-of-its-kind RLO-to-RLO fund that will allow donors to pool their funds and contribute to RLOs around the world. As StARS Programs Director Mohamed Ahmed says, “This fund puts philanthropic power in the hands of refugees and offers donors a way to overcome some of the structural complexities of funding RLOs directly. Through this award, we’ll fund community solutions, rather than projects that come and go, and that often miss the mark.”

This initial grant of $10 million will help catalyze at least $40 million in funding over five years for at least 45 RLOs around the world to support over one million of refugees as they pursue access to documentation, economic opportunity, education, healthcare, and food security.

“The Resourcing Refugee Leadership Coalition is thrilled to receive this catalytic $10 million award sponsored by Chris Larsen and Lyna Lam as part of the Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award. We see this award as feeding, perhaps for the very first time in significant fashion, a movement for refugee leadership in refugee response.” said Sana Mustafa, Associate Director of Partnerships and Engagement at Asylum Access. She adds, “We hope this will change the way we talk about refugees forever. No longer can refugees be viewed as passive recipients of aid, but rather, as strategists and innovators driving solutions for our communities.”

The Resourcing Refugee Leadership Initiative invites donors, allies, and other refugee leaders around the world to join an informational webinar with Coalition leaders on May 20th at 10am Eastern to learn more about the initiative and ways to be involved.

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