The current global population of displaced persons tops 65.6 million, a record high.¹ In 2016, 20 people on average were displaced from their homes every minute of every day.² Displaced people face poverty, risk of exploitation and the denial of fundamental human rights while global aid agencies and host countries face strained resources.


Upwards of 11.6 million refugees, or two thirds of the total refugee population, were in protracted refugee situations by the end of 2016.3 Of this number, 4.1 million refugees were in a protracted situation lasting more than 20 years.4


Refugees are often displaced long after the immediate conflict or disaster that put them on that path, making them particularly vulnerable to economic and social exclusion. Without assistance, they can face sustained discrimination and marginalization. Refugees are at risk of violence, chronic hunger, and other issues faced by people living in extreme poverty.


The percent of refugees under UNHCR’s mandate that were hosted by developing regions in 2016.5


The current global population of displaced persons. If a country, it’d be the 21st most populous in the world.6


The number of refugees in protracted situations at the end of 2016.7

Our Work with Refugees

Since 2013, we’ve been working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to deliver practical livelihoods programs to refugee populations. UNHCR’s program already provides many of the stabilizing services we know are critical for the extremely vulnerable – health care, education, and legal support. But now, at pilot locations in Egypt, Costa Rica and Ecuador, when refugees cross borders into safety, new considerations such as work experience, language, livelihood skills, and assets have become a key part of the intake process. By assessing skills and experience, UNHCR can begin business coaching or job placement at the outset, instead of placing refugees on long-term assistance.


UNHCR field workers are already recognizing the changes our partnership has been making as they reach communities and find refugees who have never come into an aid office for services. Working in over 125 countries, UNHCR’s mandate is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees, displaced persons, and the stateless, and to seek lasting solutions to their plight. With programs in India, Central America and West Africa, Trickle Up has established expertise in livelihoods for difficult-to-serve populations. Together, Trickle Up and UNHCR have established the first-ever Graduation pilots working with displaced populations and working in urban areas.


Learn more about our Graduation & Refugees Initiative.

You can help more refugees build strong livelihoods and social support