Protecting Urban Refugee Children

Do you live or work in a city? Are you frustrated by services and programmes that don’t reflect urban refugee children’s needs and realities? Do you have ideas for how to better engage urban refugee children, young people and their families? Do you have suggestions for how to link refugee children and families with existing local services? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, now is your chance to share your ideas as part of the “Protect Urban Refugee Children Innovation Challenge”. We want to hear ideas from UNHCR staff, partners and refugees who have urban experience. As of 2017, more than half of the world’s 16.5 million refugees live in urban areas. Many of these urban refugees are children who will spend their entire childhood in the city.

Living in cities can potentially offer refugee children and their families opportunities and benefits that are unavailable in camps or rural areas, including greater possibilities for income generation or employment, better access to a fuller range of education and health services, and more chances for integration in a diverse urban setting. But, many urban refugee families struggle financially. They share the difficulties of the urban poor and also face an array of difficulties related to their forced displacement and legal status. This makes it especially hard for them to make a living and to access the services and opportunities that cities offer. This combination undermines the protective capacity of families and communities and compounds protection risks for children.