Future By Design
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DAFI Programme: Nurturing a Generation of Future Change-Makers


DAFI Programme: Nurturing a Generation of Future Change-Makers

Conceptualizing and designing a World Refugee Day 2019 campaign to spur action from policy-makers and development community to support higher education for refugees in West and Central Africa.

CLIENT UNV West and Central Africa and UNHCR

Design a regional campaign and an animated video that raises visibility on the importance of enabling refugees to access higher education through DAFI Programme

Designed campaign as a call to action to which invites development partners to support the growth of the Programme and enables young refugees to unlock their potential by addressing key barriers to higher education

Celebrated every year on June 20, World Refugee Day is the United Nations’ annual event, which serves as an opportunity for everyone around the world, communities, schools, businesses, faith groups and people from all walks of life are taking big and small steps in solidarity with refugees.

As a contribution to the global campaign, UNV West and Central Africa and UNHCR decided to develop a campaign that raises awareness on UNHCR’s higher education scholarship programme, DAFI (Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative). The Programme plays an integral role in enabling refugees worldwide to access higher education. Since its inception in 1992, the DAFI programme has grown considerably, enabling more than 15,500 refugee students to study at universities and colleges in over 50 countries of asylum.

Access to higher education motivates refugee children to stay in school and succeed academically. For students and graduates, the DAFI programme serves as a foundation for social and professional development, allowing them to build careers in competitive fields of employment. The social returns of the DAFI programme exceed investment at the individual level. Highly educated refugees reduce economic and psychological dependence, improving their self-reliance and offering long-term solutions. 

In West and Central Africa, many of the 350 recent DAFI graduates struggled to enter the job market, and that is why UNHCR and UNV advocated for their rights and identified paid UN Volunteer opportunities for one year. In 2018, 14 young and bright DAFI graduate refugees who were invited to volunteer for the United Nations, now pave the path for the next generation of DAFI graduates and opening doors to new opportunities. These 14 Refugee DAFI volunteers expressed high satisfaction about this experience as well as host UN Agencies that praised this initiative as forward thinking and relevant to help the UN System remain fit-for-purpose. As the pilot is coming to an end soon, 5 DAFI volunteers have already been retained by their host agencies to pursue a second year as UN Volunteers.  

At the Future by Design, we were proud to support UNV and UNHCR West and Central Africa Regional Offices to develop the regional campaign aiming to raise awareness about the importance of sponsoring new UN volunteer opportunities and encouraging more women refugees to volunteer. This campaign recognizes the importance of volunteers and their role as a change-maker for a more sustainable and better world.