To be a sustainable and replicable global model of urban refugee’s economic empowerment..
To provide a collaborative ecosystem that enables urban refugees to be creative, innovative, entrepreneurial and successful while integrating them as productive players in the formal economy through technical skills expansion, product and market access development and professional linkages.
The beneficiaries of this project are urban refugees including Rwandese, South Sudanese, Burundians and Congolese.
Project Duration (months)
Apprenticeship (No. of trainings)
The RISE-UP Journey
July 2018Signing of the AgreementThe signing of the agreement with the french Embassy to initiate the Refugee Innovation and Sustainable Enterprise Urban Project (RISE-UP) with Innovation Consortium Limited.
AugustPre-VisitsThese were the Initial visitations to the Urban Refugee Communities in Kampala and Project Orientation Meetings. We traversed 5 major refugees’ neighbourhoods in Kampala (Nsambya, Kansanga, Kisenyi, Old Kampala, Bakuli and Kabalagala) to share more details about the project - major activities, targeted outcomes and the different stakeholders involved. 150 urban refugees from 5 countries attended the 10 information sessions conducted during the community visitation and orientation meetings. We collaborated with Bondeko, One Youth One Heart, SSOW Care Foundation – all of them refugee led organizations to mobilize the urban refugees. The sessions provided unique platforms for getting a buy-in from the urban refugees and for enabling them to have a better understanding of the project. The Urban Refugees were mainly from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, South Sudan, Burundi and Eritrea.
August 2018Needs AssessmentTo clearly understand and gather relevant data on all the potential clients of the project, we undertook a needs assessment exercise. The exercise enabled us to gather relevant biodata and other data regarding the past professional experiences, future ambitious, skills gaps and needs. This was a crucial exercise because it significantly facilitated us to align the project support system with the individual needs of the clients. 205 urban refugees were interviewed by the RISE-UP during the needs assessment exercise. The average age of the urban refugees interviewed was 24 years. The needs assessment exercises were conducted in the following areas; • Kisenyi • Kansanga • Old Kampala • Bakuli • Makerere Through the needs finding, we found out the technical fields the participants were interested in. These included ICT, auto mechanics, fashion & design, driving, baking and metal fabrication.
September 2018Leadership Training Sessions5 different leadership seminar sessions were conducted in 3 refugee community neighbourhoods in Kampala, namely, Kisenyi, Nsambya and Kansanga.. The leadership development seminars which focused mostly on personal development were meant to enable the urban refugees who would be potential clients of the project to reflect critically about which technical and/professional trainings they are interested in. The sessions also provided general perspectives about the critical facets of life, such as, the value of hard work, being focused and determined, negative mind-set and attitude change among others.
September 2018Entrepreneurship TrainingThe RISE-UP participants are a diverse group of people. They have different nationalities, with different levels of exposure and academic backgrounds. However, they find themselves in the same situation. They are away from home due to one reason or the other and they have to survive. One of the ways through which their livelihoods can be enhanced is through business and entrepreneurship. The entrepreneurship sessions focused on business development and financial literacy. It was held in Nsambya and it was facilitated by Mr. Ronald Mukasa a renown financial literacy coach.
October 2018The Innovation CampsFor three days, we held interactive, enlightening, inspiring and technical sessions at Makerere University that attracted 185 urban refugees. The innovative technical components of the boot-camp were facilitated by the Innovation Consortium’s tech team with the sole objective exposing urban refugees to the world of innovation and creativity and share experiences while at the same time learning from each other. A wide range of technical innovative exercises were conducted to ignite the imaginations of the urban refugees. Different challenges were also given to various groups of participants and they were required to find innovative solutions to such problems. The exercises were meant to introduce refugees to the limitless realms of innovation. There were also practical sessions on hairdressing, fashion and design, metal fabrication, baking and facial-makeup meant to equip them with basic practical skills. The technical exercises were combined with motivational talks by resource persons to inspire the refugees to always do something and be innovative. Brainstorming sessions were also held with key professionals to expose and expand their professional and social networks.
October 2018The inaugural RISE-UP4Refugees ForumThe forum which ran under the theme: “Innovation, Resilience and Urban Refugees Economic Empowerment’’ attracted 200 key stakeholders from the humanitarian and development sector in Uganda. Key participants were from OPM’s refugees’ department, UNHCR, UNFPA, Makerere University as well as other NGOs and media players. The Forum provided a unique platform for constructive dialogue on why it matters to effectively integrate urban refugees as key economic actors in Uganda. The ideas generated ideas at the forum were a key input towards influencing a better policy direction for urban refugee management in Uganda. For instance, Innocent Ndahiriwe, a senior refugee protection and integration officer at the Refugees Department in the Office of the Prime Minister highlighted RISE-UP project’s relevance at a time when urban authorities are grappling with finding better management strategies and economically feasible alternatives for integrating urban refugees in host countries. More particularly, the forum was a unique platform for introducing the RISE-UP project and its innovations focus to various stakeholders across various sectors.
November 20182018 Media ExpoBecause of our conviction that refugees contribute significantly towards the socioeconomic development of their host countries and the media should provide a better coverage these contribution, we worked together with the Media Challenge Initiative as an official training partner during the 7th edition of the Media Expo. The Expo is a flagship gathering of media professionals and students meant to garner momentum towards creating positive media content about the African to recreate a better future for the continent. The 2018 edition of the expo provided a unique platform to reframe the media coverage of refugees. During the 3 days at the expo, a series of activities such as panel discussions, exhibitions, workshop trainings and social networking catch-ups among others were held attracting up to 1,000 participants. One of the key highlights of the expo is TV news production and anchoring challenge for students of journalism and media studies at institutions of higher education in Uganda. Because of our work which revolves around expanding the economic opportunities of urban refugees in Uganda, Media Challenge Initiative, the conveners of the expo invited our team to join the competition as guest contestants. For under one month, 6 of the 100 urban refugees we are working with were coached and mentored on TV news production and anchoring by the team at Media-Challenge Initiative. This intensive training included gathering relevant data and synthesizing it, professional photography and videography, visual and audio content editing and public speaking. These urban refugees who had never had any media training experience before exceeded all expectations gathering data and producing an amazing TV content. By many standards, there content was better than those by other journalism and media students. Even their trainers were awestruck. This was also re-echoed by one of the judges who opined that nothing beats giving people the opportunity to tell their own stories. This, she noted, ‘’provides room for authenticity and originality which is the currency of quality news’’ When asked what inspired him and his team to present work of that unbridled quality, a South Sudanese refugee who was in-charge of video content and editing said; The RISE-UP Media team was truly inspirational. Their level of commitment to learn fast and quickly and produce quality media outputs was unbelievable. Our presence in the competition added practical meaning and enabled the contesting students to learn more about the subject and them of the competition. It was on this basis the judges of the Media Challenge Awards conferred upon our team an accolade for inspiring and adding real life meaning to the contest.
November 2018The inaugural RISE-UP4Refugees Fashion ShowDuring the Media Challenge Awards night, we used the occasion to showcase the African fashion products made by urban refugees at RISE-UP Hub, our first social venture. 20 urban refugees who are clients of the project lit up the stage with trendy and unique designs. The objective of the fashion show was to demonstrate the abilities, talents and creativity of the urban refugees in Kampala. It also acted as a unique marketing opportunity for the fashion and design arm of the project.
December 2018 to June 2019The Apprenticeship programmeIn its pilot phase, 100 urban refugees in Kampala of which 54% were women were recruited to participate in a 100 days apprenticeship programme in various technical fields. The major objective of the apprenticeship program is to ensure that urban refugees acquire on-job-training, get exposed to different vocations of their choice and access opportunities for future employment. To achieve this, the clients were taken to specific work places where they are being involved in their day to day operations of the businesses. The 100 urban refugees are placed being placed at 6 different companies doing apprenticeships in fields such as; fashion and designs, baking & confectionery, hair dressing & facial makeup, motor mechanics, construction and metal fabrication, solar installation, media and journalism, computing and information technologies, motor driving. The project is partnered with six different companies all over Kampala to conduct the apprenticeship trainings. The companies/organizations are: Media Challenge Initiative, RISE-UP Fashion Hub, Country View Driving School, Manera Auto-Fix, Technology research network and Technology for Tomorrow. Apart from fashion & design and ICT, all the other disciplines have completed their training and apprenticeship.
february 2019The French-Uganda friendship week #fashiondayDuring the Uganda-French friendship week, the RISE-UP HUB fashion was were privileged to show cast their refugee made fashion designs on the French-Uganda fashion day! The RISE-UP models blessed the day, excited the crowd with the different designs and were remarkable. We are proud of them