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Livelihoods and Economic Recovery Programme

Livelihoods and Economic Recovery Programme

The programme increases the self-sufficiency of people affected by crises by supporting them in starting or expanding their businesses and/or effectively entering the labour market.

Enterprise in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya
Support enterprises
Education trainings
Support self-management of communities
Empowering women



The enterpreneurship programmes are aimed at helping refugees who have either established a company in Estonia or have prior entrepreneurial experience. The enterpreneurship programmes provide participants with training and knowledge on business development and ways to raise their businesses' competitiveness to become more self-resilient in the Estonian labour market.


The employability programme welcomes refugees who want to enter the labour market in Estonia or change their jobs. This programme suits everyone, regardless of their work experience or current employment status in Estonia.

Social entrepreneurship

Sotsiaalsete ettevõtete eesmärk on vähendada leibkondade sõltuvust humanitaarabist. Programmiga püütakse eelkõige toetada konfliktidest mõjutatud haavatavaid elanikkonda, sealhulgas ümberasustatud ja humanitaarabist sõltuvaid elanikke, et vähendada nende sõltuvust välistoetusest.

Countries where this programme currently take place:

Estonian Refugee Council has supported the sustainable livelihoods of refugees and internally displaced people since 2016.

The programme increases the self-sufficiency of people affected by crises by supporting them in starting or expanding their businesses and/or effectively entering the labour market.

Since 2014, we have implemented activities within the programme’s framework in Estonia, Ukraine, Jordan, Kenya, and Georgia, offering refugees, internally displaced persons, and local vulnerable communities opportunities to create or expand businesses that would ensure a stable income. In addition, we have created social enterprises in Estonia, Lebanon, and Jordan. We also help by providing life and digital skills and supporting agricultural initiatives.

In the livelihoods and economic recovery programme, we focus mainly on entrepreneurship.

Why is it important to help refugees and internally displaced people in different parts of the world and help them create their businesses?

  • Own business ensures a sustainable income for those in need, so we can be sure that when our programme ends, people will be able to fend for themselves.
  • Entrepreneurship is need-based, and people can start precisely the kind of business that is needed in their community at the moment, providing both the necessary services and ensuring a sustainable income for themselves at the same time.
  • Having own business ensures dignity for beneficiaries - they can choose which business to start and can make their own decisions in the enterprise.
  • With the entrepreneurship programme, we give people a hook, not a fish - we give knowledge that will not be lost even if people have to change their place of residence again for some reason.

One cycle of the entrepreneurship program lasts about 12 months. First, the participants present their initial business idea, from which a jury of experts selects the strongest. The winners of the second round participate in the development program, where the business plans of the idea are shaped during the work and training. The best will be selected and receive the necessary equipment and materials to start a business and individual mentorship for six months.

Get involved

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