World Bank: Forced Displacement Life Improvement Contest Winners

Forced displacement has become a growing problem around the world. Millions of people have been driven from their homes by conflicts, development, and political disputes. The situation has reached crisis levels, and the World Bank has sought innovative new ways to improve the lives of those affected by these forced displacements.

To that end, the World Bank has developed a contest designed to improve innovation for the benefit of these displaced people. From plans for universal health care to developing plans to help these people find jobs in their new locations / host countries, the contest generated a wide array of useful, practical, and innovative ideas.

Xavier Devictor, Advisor to the Global Program on Forced Displacement at the World Bank, said: “Forced displacement causes tremendous suffering, leaving people in uncertain situations for years without the ability to take advantage of opportunities. We hope these ideas will contribute to expanding and deepening development support in new ways, to help the displaced and host communities alike.”

One of the winning propositions, The Universal Health Care for Refugees, would provide affordable health care to the displaced while supplementing host country health systems. Though not considered possible in the past, universal health care systems have gained popularity in developed nations around the world, and international organizations, like the World Bank, could help nations find ways to work together to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Another proposition, the Digital Livelihoods Initiative, seeks to help the displaced find sustainable income in their new location. Refugees are often denied access to employment and forced to seek financial gain through the so-called “informal economy.” This initiative would bring jobs to both refugees and the host community by providing training and job placement services with government agencies, non-profit organizations, and even the private sector.

The work training would be geared toward teaching these people how to create digital copies of documents and other materials in order to make them accessible across the Internet to everybody.

A third winning proposal, Creating Safe and Legal Work Migration Pathways for Refugees, would also improve employment opportunities. Under this proposal, refugees that might not be able to work legally in their host country, but have skills in high demand elsewhere, can take advantage of legal and safe migration channels to relocate to those more fertile grounds. The program would also provide loans to help cover the essential costs of the migration.

The winning proposals were selected from among 480 submissions made last year. Each of the winning teams will receive $40,000 to help them develop their proposals into a full concept upon which action can be taken.