Upskill Library - Global Refugee Upskilling Initiative


“Leveraging the power of our community to help the ones in need”

With that vision, this project aims to upskill 1000 refugees across the globe in 2020.



According to 2018 studies, there are 70.8 million forcibly displaced people around the world. There are 37,000 new displacements every day. Refugees disproportionately live in poverty and have less access to education, increasing the need to support refugees’ access to stable livelihoods. In 2016, over half of refugees in Europe lived below the low-income threshold. Addressing unemployment is key: work provides not only a paycheck but also a foundation to integrate into the social fabric. Refugees take up to 20 years to reach the same employment levels as nationals in Europe, as they confront downward social mobility, skills mismatches, and a loss of recognition of their previous credentials. Language barriers and lack of supportive social and professional networks further hinder integration. Focusing on upskilling provides a sustainable and empowering solution to rebuild their lives.



Create a global movement in leading a refugee upskilling initiative (RUI) powered by Global Shapers hubs around the world. Concretely, we aim to draw upon the knowledge and resources of hubs around the world - taking into account their experience, expertise, and diversity - to:

  1. Engage in knowledge sharing, including the construction, management, and development of a global repository of material from activities and projects already conducted and pertinent to the RUI

  2. Coordinate RUI actions, including an alignment and standardization of activities, and definition of KPIs to better understand the impact of Global Shaper hub actions towards refugee upskilling

  3. Lay the foundations and provide a framework for coordinating global actions moving forward post-2020 for the RUI, including actions outside of global service delivery.

To achieve these targets, we would like to incorporate the following actions:

  • Focus on refugee-hosting countries: Invite a diverse and representative balance of hubs to participate and contribute. Specifically, aim to engage 25 hubs in the actions for 2020, with an overall goal of impacting 1000 individuals. Hubs will be identified by their motivation to engage, capacity to mobilize, and the presence of a well-identified need.

  • Understand needs and accessibility of different hubs: Given the diversity of hubs, this action is intended to help coordinate but also contextualize the actions of each hub based upon their local context and the need of the refugee population. The RUI team will work with each hub in this manner to ensure that their actions, timeline, and impact measurements are most appropriate to their context and current situation. This will help create more useful content and increase collaboration and their participation. Let’s work ‘For them’ and ‘With them’.

  • Train-the-trainer approach: With the mix of hubs with existing activities and those who are motivate to develop a new project, the aim is to adopt efficient approaches to achieve knowledge sharing and foster increased collaboration. In addition to the global repository of information, the RUI team will encourage other forms of knowledge transfer that can lead to increased impact.

Please see the operational plan for specific actions, which is segmented based on the presence of existing RUI activities.



  • Increase knowledge sharing through the creation, management, and growing contribution towards a global repository of information

  • Engage 25 hubs to participate in the initiative

  • Define and standardize KPIs for hub actions and their contribution to the RUI

  • Aim to upskill 1000 refugees in 2020 globally

  • Empower all hubs with a possibility and access to nearby camps join this project

  • Create a long-term vehicle for collaboration, exchange, and mobilization

Actions during COVID:

Given the impact of actions during covid and our focus on the refugee population, we have worked to include these projects and jointly mutualize on actions related to covid actions. Amongst the hubs who we are working to adapt in fonction of the covid-response:

-Paris hub: With France and countries throughout the globe still in confinement, Konexio (partner organization of Paris hub) is bringing their courses online in order to continue to support and train their students. They have adapted their in-person mentoring workshops to be done virtually, and instead of a group format, on a 1-1 basis where each student is matched with a dedicated mentor. The aim is to keep these students motivated during the confinement period, accompanying them in the creation and revision of their CV or motivation letter, helping with their job search, their interview preparation, and to build general solidarity, etc. In addition, Konexio is testing a new format for some of their training courses to be transitioned online, notably their intro to code course DigiStart, for which Paris shapers can also contribute.

-Kakuma hub: Currently, they are working on a COVID-19 planning and preparedness campaign in collaboration with UNHCR, partner agencies operating in the camp and the Ministry of Health to ensure the proper information dissemination and avoid misinformation. Additionally - they are promoting initiatives highlighting solidarity and impactful contributions for the camp community in areas of health, education, and safety.

-Munich hub: At the moment, the Munich Hub is in contact with all stakeholders (Caritas, Lichterkette, Munich municipality and more) to emphasize on the current needs during COVID19. The basic computer courses are now advertised online and directed at three local communities/camps. It includes a basic intro to the digital world (What is a computer?How does it work?What is the internet? How can I write an email?). The second pillar is to learn how to type on the keyboard. Lastly, the course moves into the creation and revision of the participants CV or motivation letter. At the moment the Munich Hub is also creating a basic course into the office software (excel, word, powerpoint or similar). The goal during COVID will be to continue the upskilling initiative and provide 1on1 support for all old and new participants. 

Also, Munich hub is working on another initiative that aims to provide access to right information related to covid19, translated in multiple languages targeted towards refugees and migrants. We currently have the documents in 16 languages and the translations are ongoing. 

Additionally - through the seminar on addressing the threat of COVID-19 to refugees and asylum seekers, more hubs have manifested interest in participating in efforts collectively. Further updates will be posted with ongoing progress.