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Novo Nordisk Foundation awards DKK 35 million for initiatives to improve the future prospects of young Syrian refugees in Jordan

The Novo Nordisk Foundation wants to strengthen education and access to the labour market for the many young Syrian refugees in Jordan, thereby increasing their opportunities to participate actively in society and to become self-reliant. The Foundation has just awarded grants for five humanitarian projects, including two research projects that will generate new knowledge about creating long-term solutions for the refugees.

The crisis in Syria continues to leave deep scars in both families and communities. More than 5.5 million people have fled to other countries, including neighbouring Jordan, which is accommodating more than 650,000 registered refugees.

More than half the Syrian refugees in Jordan are children and young people, whose quality of life and future opportunities are impaired by such factors as limited access to education and the labour market.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has therefore awarded grants totalling DKK 35 million for five ambitious projects. The projects aim to strengthen social and economic empowerment among young Syrian refugees and other vulnerable young people in Jordan affected by conflict. They will also contribute to new knowledge about how to create long-term solutions for these population groups.

Three of the projects focus on strengthening young people’s education and access to the labour market, including giving them knowledge on how to develop entrepreneurial ideas for small sustainable companies, so that they have a better chance of becoming self-reliant.

The other two projects are research projects focusing on creating knowledge about the effects of specific initiatives, thereby creating a basis for future effective and evidence-based programmes.

“The Novo Nordisk Foundation wants to help create a better future for young Syrian refugees in Jordan. We are therefore pleased to be able to support these five ambitious projects that complement each other and our established partnerships in Jordan. At the Foundation, we are interested in achieving holistic results and synergy between the initiatives we support. The intervention projects comprise specific initiatives to support children and young people through education and empowerment, and the research projects focus on identifying the best solutions to empower the young refugees,” says Hanna Line Jakobsen, Senior Vice President, Social & Humanitarian, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

“Evidence-based knowledge is crucial for achieving long-term and sustainable solutions for the refugees, and all too often knowledge is not systematically collected or used to design subsequent interventions,” she adds.

Closer to the labour market
The Foundation has awarded the five grant recipients between DKK 3.4 million and DKK 10 million each.

One grant recipient is Care Denmark, which will provide young refugees advice and training on how to set up and run small businesses from their homes, teach students entrepreneurship and help refugees to obtain a work permit.

The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) is leading another project in which the partners will seek to strengthen the skills of vulnerable children and young people so that these better match the skills demanded in Jordan’s labour market. The project is being implemented in collaboration with an online learning organization, which will offer young Syrian refugees access to a comprehensive course catalogue tailored to the target group.

In addition, Turning Tables will offer vulnerable young people training that exploits their full creative potential and will enable them to seek employment in Jordan’s emerging film, television and music industry.

Focusing on knowledge about long-term solutions
The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) has also received a grant for a research project that will map the young refugees’ ambitions and compare them with the challenging realities they face. This can provide knowledge about the barriers the young people face and how governments, charities and donors and aid organizations can help to overcome them.

In the second research project, the University of Copenhagen will investigate how young people in Syria perceive their options in both the short and long term. An understanding of how young Syrians act in both short and long time perspectives is crucial for designing the most effective initiatives and for determining the indicators for assessing the success of the programmes.

The grant recipients and their projects

Care Danmark
Economic Empowerment of Refugee and Host Community Youth in Jordan, DKK 10 million

Danish Refugee Council (DRC) (two grants)
Pathways to Empowerment and Self-reliance for Displacement-affected Youth in Jordan, DKK 9.4 million

Aspirations versus Reality: Assessing Youth’s Pathways towards Empowerment and Self-reliance in Jordan, DKK 3.4 million

Turning Tables 
CLIQ – Creative Learning for Improving the Quality of Life of Vulnerable Youth in Jordan, DKK 7.2 million

University of Copenhagen
Viable Futures: Near and Long-term Prospects among Syrian Youth in Jordan, DKK 5 million

Second highest total in the world

Jordan currently has 650,000 registered Syrian refugees. Measured by population, Jordan accommodates the second-highest number of refugees in the world. Only about two thirds of the Syrian refugees in Jordan aged 5–17 years old are receiving education and, of these, only about 40% complete basic education. About 25% enrol in an upper-secondary school.

Support for the development of skills among young refugees in Jordan is part of the Foundation’s strategy for grants for humanitarian purposes and development initiatives. Read more about the Foundation’s strategy here.

Further information

Christian Mostrup, Senior Programme Lead, +45 3067 4805, [email protected]