Project to build skills and boost livelihoods among refugees



Cuso International partners with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Nigeria

March 8, 2019

OTTAWA – The communities of Cross River and Benue States in Nigeria have absorbed some 26,000 refugees from Cameroon in recent years. To help those who are most vulnerable, Cuso International, in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), is launching a one-year project that will see 500 refugees and community members receive skills training to enhance their livelihoods.

The project, Building Skills for Livelihood Enhancement, is focused on those who depend on subsistence farming to feed their families. Women, particularly those in single-parent households, are a priority. Those selected for this program will receive business management training, hands-on instruction in agricultural, livestock and fisheries production, and access to start-up capital.

“Communities welcoming refugees tend to experience food scarcity, as the majority of subsistence farmers grow only enough crops to feed themselves and their families,” says Cuso International CEO Glenn Mifflin. “One of the key objectives of this initiative is to help communities increase their local production of food. This project will bolster families and help them build sustainable futures.”

The initiative will build on the success of Cuso International’s Youth Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Access and Development (YouLead) project. Over the past five years, YouLead has enhanced youth employment and entrepreneurship in the natural resource sectors in Cross River State, Nigeria.

“Refugees and host community members interested in small business will receive entrepreneurship training, followed by technical instruction in their chosen field and links to funding sources, and those interested in farming will receive the necessary skills” says Ebrima Sonko, Cuso International’s Country Representative in Nigeria. “It’s a model we know well and through which we have already seen positive outcomes.”

Cuso International has worked in Nigeria for more than 50 years, supporting the most vulnerable through skill sharing and knowledge transferring activities.


Cuso International
Cuso International is a non-profit development organization that works to reduce poverty and inequality through the efforts of highly skilled volunteers, collaborative partnerships and compassionate donors. Established in 1961, Cuso International is a registered charity in Canada and the United States. We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.

Registered charitable numbers:
Canada: 81111 6813 RR0001
United States: EIN 30-0545486

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, also known as the UN Refugee Agency is a United Nations programme with the mandate to protect refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people, and assist in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country. UNHCR was created in 1950, during the aftermaths of World War II. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland and it is a member of the United Nations Development Group. The UNHCR has won two Nobel Peace Prizes, once in 1954 and again in 1981 and a Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation in 1991.

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