WEF's Young Global Leaders focus on refugee challenges: In a refugee camp in Kenya, WEF's team of young problem-solvers are helping to create economic opportunities.

Author:Thomas, David
Position:Refugees - World Economic Forum

At the Kakuma Refugee Camp in northwestern Kenya and its spillover Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement, over 180,000 refugees from Sudan and Ethiopia, who fled violence and poverty, have found a home.

First established in 1992 following the arrival of the "Lost Boys of Sudan"--refugees from that country's vicious civil war--Kakuma rapidly breached the 70,000 population it was originally designed for.

While refugees have found safety in this sprawling temporary city, education and economic opportunity remain badly constrained, particularly for the young, who grow up with little exposure to the outside world.

A group of ambitious, activist young people convened by the World Economic Forum hope to change that. The Young Global Leaders (YGL), a WEF programme to encourage and nurture the leaders of the future, is making plans to expand opportunities in the settlement. A diverse community of business people, politicians, artists-and other professionals under the age of 40, the community hopes to take a refreshing look at problems facing refugees and put forward new solutions.

"In 2018 we brought a group of Young Global Leaders to Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya and we thought, let's see what this remarkable group of cross-sector people can contribute and build action around," says Mariah Levin, head of the Forum of Young Global Leaders.

"We're looking at the issue of migration globally. We're trying to take these big global issues that we all as leaders should be concerned about, and expose people in our group to them in a nuanced way, so that it's something they're emotionally connected to at a deeper level. The group walked away with a clear sense of how much potential there is in refugee settings--economic potential and human capital potential."

Finding solutions

Every year, the YGL select a new cohort of candidates aged 39 years or younger from around the globe with five to 15 years of recognised achievements, leadership and outstanding professional work experience and a personal commitment to serve society at a local and global level. The candidates enter the scheme for five years. To ensure the highest level of personnel, candidates from the business sector must manage a corporation or division. In Kakuma, this diverse group witnessed the problems first-hand and brainstormed solutions.

"They walked away with a framework called the three Cs [connections, coaching, and capital] to connect refugees to the global economy. Are there new forms of...

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