Graduation for Refugees in Zimbabwe

Trickle Up is assisting UNHCR Zimbabwe to integrate the Graduation Approach into their existing projects for refugees. Every month, around 100-150 people seek asylum in Zimbabwe. Recently some 1,000 Mozambicans arrived at UNHCR camps in Zimbabwe fleeing recent conflict. Other refugees have been at the camp for more than 10 years, and the vast majority of them are unable to return to their countries of origin. The protracted nature of the refugee situation in Zimbabwe makes it critical to put in place medium- and long-term plans to ensure that refugees can increase their self-reliance. Currently, the Zimbabwe government provides refugees with land and UNHCR provides primary health care, education, water and sanitation, and other socio-economic support systems. Depending on available funds, UNHCR typically provides cash assistance, income-generating activities, and livelihoods interventions through their implementing partner, GOAL Zimbabwe. UNHCR concluded that Graduation can significantly improve the targeting, sequencing, integration, and sustainability of the support provided to refugees in Zimbabwe, and reached out to Trickle Up for support implementing Graduation. Trickle Up is helping UNHCR Zimbabwe streamline its programs for refugees in extreme poverty, given that targeted, sequenced Graduation programs can help avoid long-term dependence on aid. We seek to ensure UNHCR livelihoods programming strengthens refugees’ sustainable productive activities and enables them to effectively utilize the support provided by UNHCR. Like in other UNHCR operations, Graduation will enable UNHCR Zimbabwe to reduce the number of cash assistance recipients by engaging refugee families with the capacity to be economically active to achieve self-reliance. Our partnership will also help determine staffing necessary for UNHCR and their local partners, as well as the administrative systems necessary to enroll new refugee arrivals and other qualifying vulnerable groups into the Graduation Approach. If the pilot of 150 households is successful, the project will scale to an additional 3750 households.


Build the capacity of UNHCR to integrate the Graduation Approach into its existing interventions with refugees in Zimbabwe Provide an effective economic development program for refugees and host communities facing crucial social, cultural, and economic justice concerns. Increase self-reliance for 150 refugee households (and host population) living in extreme poverty through a pilot study Build technical, business management, financial and marketing skills and capacities that will enable refugees to sustainably pursue a diversity of livelihoods of their choice and become self-reliant. Draw lessons learnt from the pilot and inform future full scale programming of the approach.

Cross-cutting issues



  • Zimbabwe>Manicaland


  • Economic Recovery and Development
  • Humanitarian Aid
  • Protection
  • Social Services

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