Refugees Capacity Building In Humanitarian And Development Professions - RECAPREF

Refugees in West and Central Africa attend higher education courses, enabling them to enter the humanitarian and development sectors as professionals
Good Practices

Refugees Capacity Building In Humanitarian And Development Professions - RECAPREF

Refugees in West and Central Africa attend higher education courses, enabling them to enter the humanitarian and development sectors as professionals
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The project in brief

The project is implemented by the International Cooperation Office (Government of the Principality of Monaco) in partnership with Bioforce in multiple countries. It began in 2022 and is currently ongoing.

The RECAPREF project enables refugees in one of the countries of the West and Central Africa region to follow a higher diploma course in the humanitarian sector at the Bioforce Africa Training Centre in Dakar, Senegal, and then to receive support for their professional integration into the humanitarian or development sectors in their country of asylum or elsewhere. This pilot project is part of the “15 by 30” UNHCR strategy Achieving enrolment of 15% of refugee youth in higher education by 2030.

The project aims to offer refugees in West and Central Africa access to higher education and enable refugees to enter the humanitarian and development sector as professionals.

Main activities of the Good Practice

Human capital development / promotion of talent: the project gives refugees in the region (with particular attention to women and young people) the opportunity to access higher education (initial or expert level) in development and humanitarian work. This training is provided at the Bioforce Centre in Dakar and refugees are offered a specific support in their daily life in Senegal so that they can follow the course in the best possible conditions. Refugees are integrated into the programme in the same way as other students. The network thus created will be an asset for their future professional careers. Their background also gives them a different perspective and approach to the courses they follow which is enriching to share.

Empowerment / self-reliance / representation: A great deal of work is carried out in parallel with the training and on return to the country of asylum to develop the skills needed to successfully enter the humanitarian aid and development sectors. Meetings with professionals in the sector are organized. The diploma is validated by a compulsory practical training. Contact with Bioforce, the UNHCR and the Principality of Monaco is maintained after graduation to facilitate the search for a job or internship. The professional participation of refugees in humanitarian or development actions in their country of asylum or elsewhere is an important lever for social cohesion and living together with host communities. This professionalization will also help to strengthen local players and see the creation of refugee-led organizations.

Elements which helped facilitate the implementation of the good practice

This project is based on a strong partnership between the Principality of Monaco, the UNHCR and Bioforce.

  • The involvement of the regional UNHCR and the UNHCR country offices in the region to share information on this training course and help with the organisation of travel between the country of asylum and Senegal where the training is provided;
  • Support provided by BIOFORCE at the head office and in Dakar to the refugee trainees during their training and the professional integration, as well as in everyday life during their stay in Dakar;
  • The Principality of Monaco's provision of the necessary funding to cover the cost of the training as well as travel and living expenses, and the provision of a human resource dedicated to the project at the Bioforce centre in Dakar.
  • The mobilisation of the Principality of Monaco's country coordinators in Senegal, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso as well as its partners (local or international NGOs, international organisations) to facilitate professional integration of graduated students.
  • The existence of rules governing the free movement of people within ECOWAS, which meant that refugees in one of the ECOWAS countries and of the nationality of an another ECOWAS COUNTRIES could travel to Senegal for the duration of the training course without visa or losing the refugee status they had obtained in their country of asylum. (Protocol A/P1/5/79 on the free movement of persons within the ECOWAS zone).

Partners involved

  • Bioforce
  • The Government of Senegal

What challenges were encountered in delivering the project and how were they overcome?


The following issues have posed challenges to the implementation of the project:

  • Political instability in the region;
  • The large number of applications meeting the criteria compared with the number of places available led to frustration;
  • Coordination of the various selection stages with the time required for administrative procedures and the training schedule;
  • The wish of refugee students during training courses not to be identified by their fellow students as refugees but as students;
  • The search for a work placement in the country of asylum to validate the diploma;

How they were overcome

As mentioned above, the partnership between the UNHCR, Bioforce and the Principality of Monaco was a great strength.

The networks of these three organizations were put to good use to overcome the various challenges (administrative procedures, internships, etc.).

Flexibility and adaptability were also an essential requirement (remote start-up of sessions, accommodation at the Bioforce center while refugees were waiting for accommodation to be found, etc.).

The UNHCR and Bioforce were particularly careful to guarantee the protection of students during their training period.

Finally, the Government of Monaco and Bioforce are promoting the project to other potential sponsors, so that more training places can be opened up.

Results of the Good Practice

  • Since 2022: 16 refugees trained or undergoing training in the following diploma courses: Humanitarian Action Human Resources and Finance Manager; Humanitarian Action Logistics Manager; Emergency Child Protection Project Manager; Humanitarian Action Programme Coordinator; Water, Hygiene and Sanitation Project Manager.
  • 7 refugees undergoing practical training ;
  • 7 diploma training places open in 2024.

In what way does the good practice meet one or more of the four objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees?

Objective 1: Ease the pressures on host countries

refugees trained as part of the project to return to their country of asylum will be able to participate in development or humanitarian actions (76% of refugees hosted in low and middle income countries)

Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance

  1. the project expand opportunities for refugees to access higher education and to find a meaningful employment in the humanitarian or development field (local or international NGOs, international organizations, creation of their own association...) where there background would be an asset;

Objective 3: Expand access to third-country solutions

the project has enabled the establishment of a higher-level training corridor for refugees in West and Central Africa.

Next steps

The Principality of Monaco has pledged to continue this program from 2025 for a further 3 years.

Bioforce with the support of the Principality of Monaco, will be setting up a "university diploma in humanitarian crises, solidarity and international cooperation" from 2024 onwards in MENA Region, which will make it possible to imagine the extension of this project to this region in a few years' time.

Are there areas in which support would be required to continue and/or scale up your good practice?

The development of new financial partnerships will enable us to open up more training places.

Likewise, the commitment of local and international NGOs and international organizations working in the West and Central Africa region to provide the opportunity for employability of refugees will give these young professionals better access to the development and humanitarian sectors.

Submitted by

Dorothée Lintner, Managing Director, Bioforce; Elodie Martin, Programme Officer, Department for International Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign affairs, Government of the Principality of Monaco

Contact the project

[email protected]; [email protected]