Sterling One foundation partners UNHCR to support displaced persons in Africa

Sterling One Foundation has joined other private sector organisations and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency to pledge support for displaced persons across the continent.

This commitment was made at the Africa Private Sector Forum on Forced Displacement, themed “36 Million Solutions”, held recently.

The conference, hosted in Rwanda by the Amahoro Coalition, the UNHCR, and the Africa Entrepreneur Collective featured conversations around ways the private sector could engage with displaced people through employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, as well as financial inclusion and learning innovations.

In a statement, the Bank explained that the three-day forum allowed various business leaders and development experts to share insights into the humanitarian work and investments being made at their various organisations to support refugees and the impact these efforts were creating for displaced persons on the continent.

Speaking at the event, the CEO, Sterling One Foundation, Olapeju Ibekwe, stressed that the Foundation had a systemic approach to the various challenges militating against poverty reduction in the country and had established a free banking solution for all non-profit players supporting displaced persons across Nigeria in partnership with Sterling Bank and the Nigeria Network of NGOs.

“Displaced persons are our brothers and sisters and need our support to get back on their feet and become valuable contributors to economic development in our communities. At the Sterling One Foundation, we have been working with displaced persons in IDP camps in Nigeria since 2020 through outreach programs while supporting women and youth in coastal communities which records recurrent incidents of forced displacement. We remain committed to supporting them and will provide capacity building on vocational, entrepreneurship and employability skills for them with access to finance for agribusiness,” she said.

Ibekwe added that grants were made available on the continent’s first free crowdfunding platform, www.giving.ng in critical sectors. The platform also enabled transparency in giving back by both corporate Nigeria and individuals in support of the development ecosystem including internally displaced persons across the country.

“Giving.ng will help give more organizations working with displaced persons the right channel to tell their unique stories and unlock the power of the collective to access the funds they need for the important work they do.’ She stressed.

The keynote address, the UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner, Kelly Clements, while speaking about the importance of reimagining solutions for displaced persons, stressed that refugees are eager to contribute meaningfully to the communities where they find themselves and therefore need partners who can help them maximise their potential.

“Refugees and displaced people are part of our communities, locally and globally. When I said earlier that we must invest in their potential, the return is not only for them but by extension to host communities and the global community at large.”

Responding to her call to action and those of other business leaders such as Sangu Delle, investor and CEO of Africa Health Holdings and Hon Toyin Saraki, President, Wellbeing Foundation Africa, leaders of the attendee organisations pledged to continue to support displaced persons in their different countries and using different approaches.

Other attendees who made pledges at the forum echoed the remarks of the Prime Minister of Rwanda, Dr Edouard Ngirente, who said that it was important for the African business community to promote the entrepreneurship abilities of refugees “as their first and most direct route to integration and self-sufficiency.”

He also highlighted the opportunities for inclusion which the Rwandan government continues to provide for refugees, urging all those present at the forum to toe the line of inclusiveness in their work with refugees.

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Sterling One foundation partners UNHCR to support displaced persons in Africa

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