#ILO; #DigitalPlatform; #FutureOfWork; #YoungRefugees
New York/Canadian-Media: The digital economy can provide job opportunities for many young refugees but ensuring decent working conditions will require new directions in thinking and action, says a new International Labour Organization (ILO) report.
Image credit: ILO.
The report, Towards decent work for young refugees and host communities in the digital platform economy in Africa: Kenya, Uganda, Egypt, finds that digital gig work has the potential to generate income for refugees. Since they often struggle to enter local labour markets, refugees may turn to prominent digital platforms such as Jumia or Upwork in the absence of local livelihood opportunities.
But there are two major concerns relating to refugee’s work on digital platforms; decent work deficits and a lack of connectivity. Kenya, Uganda and Egypt, the three countries studied in the report, have all invested heavily in the digital economy and adopted national strategies for increasing digital access. Yet in 2020 only 22.5 per cent of the Kenyan population was using the internet, compared with 57 per cent in Egypt and 24 per cent in Uganda.
Globally, while 93 per cent of refugees are covered by at least a 2G network, they are 50 per cent less likely than the general population to have an internet-enabled phone. For refugee youth, the access is even more limited.
Other significant challenges include difficulties obtaining work permits, unreliable electricity supply and internet connection, a lack of access to suitable hardware and software or access to digital payment mechanisms.
“The unequal spread of internet connectivity, inequalities in digital skills and digital literacy, alongside the specific obstacles that many refugee populations face in accessing digital economies and decent digital work make it difficult to apply for these jobs,” said Andreas Hackl, the author of the report. “Without coordinated action, the digital economy can reinforce the deeply rooted social and economic inequalities that govern the young refugees’ lives."
Initiatives are in place to facilitate refugees' access to the digital economy. Intermediary organizations such as social impact labor platforms offer to redistribute work opportunities to refugees and negotiate fees and conditions with the platforms on their behalf.
Examples of digital skills training, such as coding academies, boot camps and digital technical and vocational education and training (TVET), have been established in Kakuma camp in Kenya, the Bidi Bidi settlement in Uganda and the large refugee-hosting cities in Egypt, such as Cairo.
The report includes some recommendations to promote digital jobs amongst young refugees:
Improve refugees’ access to the internet and to its economic and employment related dimensions.
Deepen efforts to build a variety of digital skills among refugees that increase their employability in a digitized future of work, while working with relevant employers and economic sectors to match skills with demands through stronger employment service institutions that cater to refugee populations.
Support existing remote employers of refugees with financial and technical assistance - including social enterprises and social impact work platforms – and promote formalization strategies so as to achieve better payment and working conditions for their employees or self-employed workers.
Improve social dialogue related to digital labour, which is virtually absent in refugee hosting situations, through the access of workers’ and employers’ organizations to workers in refugee camps.
Specifically address barriers and obstacles to digital livelihoods posed by legal and political refugee regimes through high-level advocacy and policy support
#UNHCR; #HumanitarianCrisis; #UN; #Afghanistan; #borders
New York/Canadian-Media: The UN Refugee Agency, is alarmed by the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan today. As widespread fighting intensifies, the United Nations in Afghanistan continues to call for a permanent ceasefire and a negotiated settlement in the interests of the Afghan people.
Some 400,000 Afghans have been forced from their homes since the beginning of the year. © UNHCR/Edris Lutfi
The human toll of spiraling hostilities is immense. The United Nations Assistance Mission has warned that without a significant de-escalation in violence, Afghanistan is on course to witness the highest ever number of documented civilian casualties in a single year since the UN’s records began.
We are particularly worried about the impact of the conflict on women and girls. Some 80 per cent of nearly a quarter of a million Afghans forced to flee since the end of May are women and children.
Nearly 400,000 were forced from their homes since the beginning of the year, joining 2.9 million Afghans already internally displaced across the country at the end of 2020.
Ongoing fighting has been reported in 33 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.
The overwhelming majority of Afghans forced to flee remain within the country, as close to their homes as fighting will allow. Since the beginning of this year, nearly 120,000 Afghans have fled from rural areas and provincial towns to Kabul province.
UNHCR is urging the international community to urgently step up its support to respond to this latest Afghanistan displacement crisis.
Our teams, as part of the broader UN effort, has assessed the needs of almost 400,000 internally displaced civilians this year. Responding initially to the most critical priorities, we are providing food, shelter, hygiene and sanitary kits and other lifesaving assistance, together with partners.
UNHCR is calling on countries neighboring Afghanistan to keep their borders open in light of the intensifying crisis in Afghanistan.
An inability to seek safety may risk innumerable civilian lives. UNHCR stands ready to help national authorities scale up humanitarian responses as needed.
In the context of generalized insecurity in many parts of Afghanistan, it is increasingly clear that Afghans outside of the country may have international protection needs. UNHCR calls for all states to ensure they are able to seek safety, regardless of their current legal status.
Given the dramatic escalation in conflict, UNHCR welcomes the actions now taken by several states to temporarily halt deportations of failed asylum-seekers and ensure access to asylum procedures.
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