Na’amal and Finn Church Aid Release New Report on Connecting Refugees to Digital Livelihoods

4 min readApr 23, 2024

On April 17, 2024, Na’amal and Finn Church Aid released a report titled “Talent has No Borders: Creating Connections For Refugees and other Displaced People to Decent Digital Livelihoods”. The report, co-authored and led by Lorraine Charles, Executive Director at Na’amal, along with Dr. Shuting Xia, Julieta Guzmán, and Sonia Cătinean, provides an in-depth examination of the current landscape of digital livelihoods for refugees and other displaced individuals.

The study explores initiatives and programs aimed at facilitating access to digital work opportunities for displaced individuals. By identifying key actors, different pathways to digital employment, and common practices in this field, the study sheds light on the broader context of digital livelihoods for refugees, as well as the challenges they face and identifies key strategies and initiatives aimed at facilitating their access to digital work opportunities.

Employing a robust scoping approach, the study includes key informant interviews with various stakeholders, including organizations providing support, companies employing refugees remotely, and refugee workers themselves. These interviews offered valuable insights from firsthand experiences, enabling a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

The report underscores the active roles played by various stakeholders in advancing digital livelihoods for displaced individuals, including international organizations, national entities, social enterprises, NGOs, and the private sector. Within the expansive digital livelihood landscape, these stakeholders assume diverse roles, collaborating and relying on each other to cultivate a flourishing digital employment ecosystem. Despite challenges such as inadequate infrastructure, internet connectivity, digital skills gaps, and limited access to work opportunities, stakeholders have launched initiatives to bolster refugee support.

Webinar host and Digital Livelihoods Consultant at UNHCR Innovation, Karim Michael Bin-Humam, and Na’amal alumni Esperance Mukiza, Susan Achiech, and Ukech Daniel Uboa participating as guest speakers at a panel during the “Talent Has No Boarders” report launch webinar.

Organizations engaged in digital livelihoods advocate for government cooperation and engage with stakeholders across sectors to devise solutions. Initiatives such as portable internet connectivity devices, upskilling programs, and mentorship opportunities address specific needs. Career development support, apprenticeships, and entrepreneurship training empower refugees to access digital work opportunities. E-commerce platforms significantly promote e-business entrepreneurship among displaced populations by providing invaluable resources, training, and access to pertinent materials. Through collaborative efforts, inclusive digital economies are fostered.

Digital livelihoods offer a promising solution to the economic hardships faced by refugees but entail addressing various challenges. Inconsistent availability of digital employment opportunities often disappoints refugees seeking online work. Infrastructure, connectivity, and access to devices are critical prerequisites requiring attention. Regulatory uncertainties and fragmented upskilling programs further complicate matters. Addressing these challenges is crucial to ensuring that digital livelihoods empower refugees sustainably.

To optimize initiatives supporting refugees in digital employment, fostering collaboration among programs and organizations is paramount. By sharing resources and expertise, these initiatives can achieve greater impact. A comprehensive employment approach is essential, tailoring support, training, and opportunities to refugee skills and aspirations. Sustained support, including mentorship, ongoing training, and access to networking and professional development opportunities, is vital for the long-term success of refugee digital workers. Through collaboration, comprehensive support, and ongoing engagement, initiatives supporting refugees in digital employment can foster integration, empowerment, dignity, and long-term success in the digital economy.

“Digital livelihoods offer a powerful way to economically empower refugees, but significant barriers remain,” said Lorraine Charles, Executive Director of Na’amal. “This report provides an in-depth look at the current landscape and identifies key practices to help more refugees build decent careers in the digital economy. We hope the insights spur action among humanitarian organizations, NGOs, social enterprises and the private sector to expand digital livelihood opportunities for refugees everywhere.”

A copy of the report is available here and a recording of the webinar that launched the report here

About Na’amal

Na’amal is a social enterprise with a mission to connect skilled refugees and other displaced people to digital work. Na’amal provides training in marketable skills required in the global labour market and links refugees and other vulnerable populations to dignified digital remote work. They aim to shift the narrative of refugee employment with remote work. Learn more at

About Finn Church Aid

Finn Church Aid (FCA) is an international development and humanitarian aid organization committed to supporting vulnerable populations worldwide. Through various programs and initiatives, FCA provides emergency relief, education, livelihood support, and advocacy for refugees, displaced persons, and communities affected by conflict and disaster, fostering resilience and sustainable development. Learn more at




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