NRC and the IKEA Foundation partner to support forcibly displaced people on the road to self-reliance

Published 30. May 2023
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the IKEA Foundation have teamed up to help refugees, returnees and host communities develop a more self-reliant future.

With more than 100 million people forcibly displaced around the world, and the majority of which living in protracted crises, there is an urgent need to create more sustainable economic opportunities for refugees, host communities and those returning from displacement to enhance a better quality of life.

The IKEA Foundation and Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) are partnering to help forcibly displaced people and their host communities in Kenya and South Sudan to improve their livelihood and self-reliance, while gathering evidence on what works. In addition, the aim is to scale the evidence from the “Economic Inclusion approach” to other places, to enhance displaced people’s economic and social wellbeing and dignity.

Today, more than 78 per cent* of the world’s refugees live in protracted situations. Although some refugees go back home, they are often displaced again due to economic challenges and there being little or no livelihood opportunities.

“No one wants to be dependent on aid. We need to find new ways for displaced people to become self-reliant and have more control of their lives. Our partnership with IKEA Foundation is doing just that, looking for ways to bring back independence and dignity” said Sean Nicholson, External Relations Director of NRC.

The project will be piloted in South Sudan and Kenya, where millions of people are living in protracted displacement. Refugees living in Dadaab Camp in Kenya have few opportunities to build livelihoods or engage with local communities in a region where 66 per cent live in acute poverty. And in Northern Bahr El Ghazal in South Sudan, more than 100,000 forcibly displaced people have returned home and are struggling to rebuild their lives.

NRC is supporting refugees, people who have returned home and local communities in both countries to improve their lives and become self-reliant. The programme provides a comprehensive approach that includes legal support, financial services and mentoring support, as well as social activities to promote community integration.

Said Annemieke De Jong, Head of Portfolio, Refugee Livelihoods said: “The IKEA Foundation is proud to partner with NRC in its efforts to gather evidence on what works to improve livelihoods and self-reliance for forcibly displaced people and their host communities as we strongly believe that this way can lift everyone up together and create better futures for families.”

NRC will work closely with displaced people, communities, and local actors to identify what is currently working and what needs to be improved. The results will be shared with various stakeholders, which in turn can influence policies and programmes designed to support displacement affected people.

For more information, please contact

  • NRC: Media hotline: +4790562329 or
  • IKEA Foundation:

About the IKEA Foundation 

The IKEA Foundation is a strategic philanthropy that focuses its grant making efforts on tackling the two biggest threats to children’s futures: poverty and climate change. It currently grants more than €200 million per year to help improve family incomes and quality of life while protecting the planet from climate change. Since 2009, the IKEA Foundation has granted more than €1.5 billion to create a better future for children and their families. In 2021 the Board of the IKEA Foundation decided to make an additional €1 billion available over the next five years to accelerate the reduction of Greenhouse Gas emissions. Learn more at: or by following them on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Background and facts:

  • Today’s humanitarian system and responses are inadequate to address the medium to long-term needs of displaced people. There is a need to shift away from short-term humanitarian strategies and funding that delivers basic assistance year-after- year to a system which better supports self-reliance and strengthens durable solutions.
  • NRC will ensure that responses to economic inclusion are holistic and support packages are tailored to the diverse needs of target participants to become self-reliant. A key assumption in the project will be that basic needs and pre-conditions such as food, shelter, water, and protection from violence are met before initiating engagement in economic activities.
  • The project will enable NRC to strengthen existing efforts with the aim of scaling outcomes to operations across different contexts.
  • IKEA Foundation has granted NRC USD 2 million to support the project.