Na’amal and EqualReach Unite to Empower Refugees through Remote Project Work

Na'amal
4 min readFeb 7, 2024

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In a groundbreaking partnership, Na’amal and EqualReach are collaborating to support refugees in gaining access to remote project work. This effort aims to provide refugees with paid work, training in marketable skills, and transform the narrative surrounding refugee employment through remote work. Combining their expertise and resources, Na’amal and EqualReach are dedicated to creating a more equitable world, offering sustainable and life-changing opportunities for vulnerable populations.

EqualReach Leading the Way for a Dignified Digital Workforce:

Founded by Giselle Gonzales, EqualReach’s mission is to bridge untapped talent from displaced communities with dignified digital work opportunities. Gonzales explains, “We empower the private sector to solve real business problems while outsourcing projects impactfully with trust — made possible thanks to delivery partners like Na’amal.” EqualReach and Na’amal combine over 15 years of research on fair livelihood creation, establishing a sustainable pipeline that brings talent from marginalized communities from learning to earning.

Na’amal Shaping the Narrative of Refugee Employment:

Lorraine Charles, Co-founder of Na’amal, created Na’amal with a mission to connect refugees to dignified employment. She notes, “We aim to shift the narrative of refugee employment with remote work.” Over the past three years, Na’amal has focused on instilling human or soft skills for success in the future of work. Acknowledging challenges faced by refugees in finding work, Charles recognizes that a hands-on approach is now needed. The partnership with EqualReach enables refugees to access the experience they lack, allowing them to work on real projects, be paid, and gain valuable experience in supported teams.

The Urgency of Collaboration:

The plight of forcibly displaced people is considered one of the greatest humanitarian crises of the 21st century. With approximately 117 million displaced people as of 2023, 1% of the world’s population, the need to address this crisis is urgent. According to the UNHCR, 78% of all refugees experience protracted exiles, with the global average being over 20 years. This crisis is particularly acute for youth born in camps who are now reaching working age and seeking employment opportunities.

Refugees at a round table discussion with the UNHCR emphasized, “Skilled refugees and refugee entrepreneurs do not need food assistance but, rather, access to capital, skills training, employment opportunities.”

In the partnership between EqualReach and Na’amal. EqualReach sources remote project work and signs on

Challenges Faced by Displaced Talent:

Displaced people represent an untapped labor pool eager to work but face significant barriers. With 85% of refugees hosted in communities where local jobs are scarce, regional laws often prohibit them from working in host communities. Even for those with jobs, the median income is around $1 per day, leaving them below the World Bank’s global poverty line. Moreover, displaced talent is barred from most digital work platforms and payment solutions due to blocklists, creating additional hurdles for accessing opportunities.

The Role of This Partnership in Addressing These Challenges:

EqualReach and Na’amal are already underway with multiple projects having been secured for displaced talent. In these projects, EqualReach works to secure remote project-based work from clients. Na’amal then matches the projects secured to suitable trained talent within its Kenya and Ethiopia cohorts who work to deliver these projects with the support of the technical team leads at Na’amal. The cohorts in Ethiopia and Kenya are part of the Digital Livelihoods in Ethiopia Programme and the Workforce Readiness for the Digital Economy Programme in Kenya respectively.

These projects’ execution is being met with plenty of positive feedback from respective clients and partners. The success of these projects is predictive of the bright future that this collaboration has in store. Gonzales shares, “On one of our latest team calls it was a joy to hear how a project through EqualReach was giving the Na’amal team members confidence and new skills. As one team member explained, “Now that I know what I’m capable of, if I see opportunities for projects with these requirements I’ll pursue and tackle them without any problem.” This is just the beginning (I say that with a backlog of projects that keep coming in!) and I can’t wait to see what impact we’ll be able to drive moving forward.”

All smiles on a team meeting with members of the Na’amal and EqualReach teams as well the refugee talent working on their first remote client project!

The Na’amal and EqualReach partnership, beyond addressing the urgent humanitarian crisis related to employment, represents a paradigm shift in supporting refugees’ access to remote project work. Combining their expertise and resources, these organizations are paving the way for a more equitable world, providing sustainable opportunities for vulnerable populations.

Additionally, through their collaboration, Na’amal and EqualReach are setting a new standard, creating a replicable model that can drive positive change across various sectors. Charles shares, “Current strategies toward refugee economic empowerment are not producing the impact that is needed to address the problems. We want to show that by providing the appropriate incentives for the private sector to work with refugees, there would be buy in and support. This partnership is creating a model that can be replicated and scaled across various sectors.“ With a focus on dignified digital work and fair livelihood creation, this partnership promises to make a significant impact in empowering marginalized communities through remote employment.

We can’t wait to see this project’s ecosystem-altering impact continue to unfold!

If you or your organization has projects in need of skilled and impactfully sourced talent, we invite you to connect with us here.

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Na'amal

Na’amal delivers a remote work readiness programme through self-paced asynchronous online modules, virtual interactive workshops, one-to-one mentorship.