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Novo Nordisk Foundation awards DKK 120 million to improve the future prospects of young Syrian refugees in Jordan

A new ambitious partnership between the Novo Nordisk Foundation and the Danish Refugee Council will provide Syrian refugees and other young people in Jordan affected by the conflict in Syria with the basis for improving their life in Jordan. The grant is part of the Foundation’s new strategy of increasing its grants for humanitarian and development purposes and is the largest by the Foundation in this grant area so far. Photo: Danish Refugee Council.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded a grant of DKK 120 million for a 3-year effort in Jordan to increase young people’s opportunities to integrate into society, participate in the labour market in Jordan and thereby improve their future prospects.

The project will be implemented in a unique collaboration between the Foundation, the Danish Refugee Council, public authorities in Jordan and several local partners with in-depth experience in providing various kinds of support for Syrian refugees and other vulnerable young people outside the labour market. By integrating many different approaches and competencies, the partners will create innovative, coordinated initiatives that will cover at least 25,000 young people so that they can be a positive force for change in a conflict-affected region.

This project will be the Danish Refugee Council’s largest privately funded project ever.

Currently, most young Syrian refugees in Jordan lack education, and their unemployment rate is as high as 84%. The goal of the new project is to strengthen their self-sufficiency; one way this will be achieved is through education and developing skills that are in demand in the labour market.

“Young people have an incredible ability to stay positive and motivated, and the young Syrian refugees in Jordan are no exception. I am very impressed with the tremendous contributions of our partners in creating this project, which will improve the potential for young refugees to realize their hopes and dreams,” says Hanna Line Jakobsen, Head of Social & Humanitarian, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Three initiative areas to promote greater self-sufficiency

The project will have initiatives in three areas. Through sports, theatre and other creative activities in school and other community activities, young people will be trained in skills that are valued in the labour market, such as collaboration, communication and leadership.

Another pioneering aspect of the project will be focusing on the families of young people and helping them to overcome barriers to employment. The families will be matched with specialists, who will coach and advise them to strengthen such aspects as how they manage their finances, entrepreneurial skills, personal relationships and access to a good job.

Finally, the project will address the formal structures in Jordan that could hinder refugees being able to integrate into civil society or the labour market and thereby become self-sufficient.

“We are proud to have been selected to carry out such a comprehensive project, which will be the largest privately funded project ever for the Danish Refugee Council,” says Charlotte Slente, Secretary General, Danish Refugee Council. “Syria’s protracted crisis has put the lives of young Syrians at risk. To avoid losing an entire generation, we must carry out initiatives in education and training and develop employability among the 25,000 young people we seek to involve,” she adds.

The project is called Resilient Youth, Socially and Economically Empowered (RYSE). In addition to helping individual young refugees, it will create a wealth of knowledge on how to generally improve the ability of refugees to become self-sufficient, since it is being implemented in close collaboration with the Jordanian Government and private sector. This method provides help for self-help and is expected to enable more refugees to create a self-sufficient life for themselves and others.

The Danish Refugee Council will present the project as a flagship project at the upcoming Global Refugee Forum in Geneva, Switzerland on 17–18 December. Representatives of countries, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector will meet to enter into global partnerships and raise money for initiatives for refugees. The main themes include education, job creation and self-sufficiency among refugees.

Increased grants for humanitarian purposes

Support for developing the competencies of young refugees in Jordan is part of the Foundation’s new strategy for humanitarian and development grants. The strategy includes initiatives to combat noncommunicable diseases in selected countries in eastern Africa. In addition, the Foundation will allocate funds for emergency relief.

The Foundation plans to gradually increase its annual payouts in humanitarian and development aid, with these rising to DKK 200 million annually in 2023. Read more here

About the Danish Refugee Council

The Danish Refugee Council is Denmark’s largest nongovernmental organization and a leading international refugee organization that supports refugees and internally displaced people during the entire displacement process: during exile, following repatriation and while living in a new country. The Council provides acute humanitarian relief and protection. The Council supports refugees and internally displaced people in becoming self sufficient and integrated into the host society – and works alongside local communities, civil society and governments to promote and safeguard rights and peaceful coexistence. The Council was founded in Denmark in 1956 and employs 9000 people in 40 countries.

Further information

Danish Refugee Council: Annette Spanggaard, Director, Global Communication and Fundraising, phone: +45 2926 2024, [email protected]

Novo Nordisk Foundation: Christian Mostrup Scheel, Senior Press Officer, phone: +45 3067 4805, [email protected]