We support refugees who are changing lives in their communities.

Our bold idea

We believe in sustainable solutions to break the cycle of perpetual aid. Our work puts refugees at the center of these solutions, and provides the tools for refugees themselves to positively transform their communities. Although the communities we partner with face overwhelming obstacles, their members have the same energy, hope, and tenacity as anyone else.

What is the URBAN REFUGEES incubation program?

It is a program which supports ambitious Refugee-Led Organizations to grow in maturity and deliver visibly better results by providing them with coaching, training, and temporary funding so they can:

  • Provide better services to their community members
  • Be considered and participate as key stakeholders in responses to refugee crisis

Who can apply?

This program is specifically targeting Refugee-Led Organizations in cities around the globe. Consequently, only refugee community leaders can apply. Applications are made on behalf of their organization.

What does it consist in exactly?

Our program may vary depending on the needs and ambition of each Refugee-Led Organization we support. However, the program typically consists of:

  • A needs assessment phase (1 month) during which the whole organization’s leadership is involved. During this phase, the program outline is co-built with leaders based on their specific requests and needs as well as our observations with community members and partners (local NGOs, UNHCR, service providers)
  • Weekly coaching sessions to guide improvements. They are delivered at the community office to 2 main leaders as well as other leaders or volunteers involved in specific improvement activities.The leaders should be both female and male.
  • Regular soft skill trainings delivered to the whole leadership of the organization and, if interested, volunteers, to develop team spirit and skills like learning from feedback, creativity or conflict management.
  • Temporary financial support : a level of financial support may be provided to qualifying RLOs, based on need. The support, if provided, may be in the form of a stipend for staff / leaders to cover their time commitment to the work of the RLO or may be put towards more general support such as office rent or community centre support.

Which subjects do the coaching and training sessions cover?

Once again, the program varies from one organization to the other depending on needs. The program currently contains modules on key organizational issues such as governance, team work, fundraising, membership database, communications, volunteers management, information sharing, partnerships management, human resources, financial management, monitoring and evaluation and general office organisation.

The success of the coaching will greatly depend on the drive and available time of the leaders and volunteers. Based on our past experience working with RLOs, we have defined 3 key priorities which are always covered in each program:

  • Financial sustainability and income generation, to enable leaders to cover the rent and other office cost as well as their own salary long term and thus ensure the continuity of the organization post program. This includes coaching sessions on:
    • Proposal drafting
    • Pitching and creating pitching decks for fundraising purpose
    • Donors identification and outreach
    • Raising funds online through crowdfunding
    • Creation of communications materials (brochure and website)
    • Creation of financial transparency and M&E mechanisms
  • Information sharing and partnerships : Our coaching sessions help leaders transform their RLO into powerful information sharing hubs that are well known and trusted by local partners, service providers as well as community members. This includes sessions on:
    • Building relevant partnerships and maintaining them (email management, networking)
    • Making referrals and identifying vulnerabilities
    • Putting in place and maintaining an effective database of community members
    • Outreaching and assessing community needs
    • Creating information sharing pathways (newcomers’ package and leaflets at the office, use of WhatsApp groups and Facebook).
  • Governance and volunteers engagement : Our coaching sessions make sure leaders are able to resolve conflicts in a meaningful way, counting among others on a strong governance system, and to recruit, engage and retain qualified volunteers in the organization. This entails sessions on:
    • Governance
    • Team building and team working
    • Conflict resolution
    • Volunteers engagement

RLOs participating in the program are also connected with key partners at the regional global level to further their mission and make their voice heard (Refugee Voices network, media, UN consultations…) as well as a pool of international donors online.

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How we work


Most refugees lack access to even basic healthcare. Their only chance of finding care is through alternative medical solutions such as doctors or nurses within their community or free clinics. These programs save lives. We help refugee communities build partnerships with these service providers.


In many countries, refugee youth are denied access to education. In order to educate their young people, refugee communities create and operate their own schools. We support and strengthen these initiatives so refugee children can have access to quality education and build a foundation for their future.


In environments of extreme scarcity, refugees struggle to provide for themselves and their families. In their host country, they must learn new skills to find work. We help refugees build their own skills training and connect to the job market so they can make ends meet and contribute to the local economy.


In many countries, refugees live in constant fear of being arrested or detained, simply because of their refugee status—which can have devastating effects on families. We reinforce the informal safety strategies refugee communities put in place to prevent detention, and address it when it occurs.




“We are now able to develop many more activities and provide essential support to our community”

Ali Akbar, Afghan refugee community leader

The program in action

Our impact

  • 3700

    refugees have better access to education and livelihood opportunities

  • 40

    countries in which our partner NGOs are implementing solutions

  • 490

    refugee children benefit from mathematics, english, art and sports classes

  • 700

    women can now support their families

  • 650

    refugees have access to critical healthcare and safety information

Get Involved

We’ve accomplished so much, but the growing urgency of refugee issues in cities means we have a lot more to do and we can’t do it alone. Support the refugee communities that need it most.

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