The refugee impact bond: Building Economic Resilience for Refugees and Host Communities

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The first ever Development Impact Bond (DIB) for refugees launched in 2021, 11 years after the start of the Syrian crisis. The Refugee Impact Bond funds the Near East Foundation UK to deliver a vocational, entrepreneurship, and resilience-building programme for refugees and members of their host communities in Jordan and Lebanon. The first tranche, in Jordan, is supported by two European private foundations, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation and a Norwegian investment company.

Worldwide, conflict and climate crises are creating forced migration flows of historical proportions, with the majority of refugees settling in nearby countries.



3 seconds

One person becomes displaced every 3 seconds

82.4 M

people are currently forcibly displaced worldwide

Inclusive livelihood programmes help refugees and their host communities to break away from reliance on aid.

enabling people affected by conflict to become self-reliant

Being able to earn a safe, dignified, and stable income is vital for displaced people and their host communities to improve their wellbeing. Despite the formidable efforts of host countries and foreign donors, 7 out of 10 Syrian refugees in Jordan and 9 out of 10 in Lebanon live below the poverty line.

contributing to economic recovery and social cohesion

Economic resilience and inclusion have the potential to transform a host country’s demographic boost into an economic opportunity. They can also support the economic reconstruction of the home country, if and when refugees are able to return.

Refugees become active contributors in their host community

When refugees can earn an income, they become consumers in their host communities. A recent study in Lebanon found that for every $1 spent on refugee programming, $2.6 was put back into the Lebanese economy.

But securing funding at scale to make a meaningful impact remains a challenge.

Livelihood programmes require long-term funding commitments

Humanitarian aid focuses on immediate and short-term needs. It does not address the longer-term impacts of protracted crises, lasting five or more years. At the same time, the number of countries experiencing protracted crises has more than doubled over the past 15 years.

No “one-size-fits-all" approach

Livelihood programmes should respond to the diverse needs of the people they support. Adopting top-down or “one-size fits all” approaches can lead to disappointing results. Solutions must be holistic and tailored to the local context to be successful.

adaptability is key

Humanitarian and development funding is historically limited in flexibility. This inhibits meaningful impact, efficacy, and innovation. Funding must allow the adaptability needed to achieve intended outcomes.

But securing funding at scale to make a meaningful impact remains a challenge.

Using Blended Finance to meaningfully improve livelihoods in complex settings.

The Refugee Impact Bond originated from KOIS’ motivation to improve the conditions of those affected by the Syrian crisis. A feasibility study in 2017, supported by a catalytic grant from Convergence, revealed a critical need to test a more effective combination of funding and service delivery through a Development Impact Bond, one that would be the first of its kind.

A DIB addresses three key issues affecting livelihood programmes in humanitarian settings. It offers a multi-year funding commitment, which frees the programme from annual grant cycles. It enables the Delivery Partner to innovate and adapt delivery to a changing context when needed. Finally, donor risk is reduced by tying payments to the results of a rigorous and independent evaluation of outcomes.

The Refugee Impact Bond aims to create lasting impact, helping vulnerable and marginalised people achieve economic stability.

The first tranche of the Refugee Impact Bond is set to last 4 years, in Jordan.


expected sustainable micro-enterprises created


expected increase in household consumption


Jordanians and refugees given the tools to lift themselves out of vulnerability

This impact is made possible through its partners.

Meet the partners

The Refugee Impact Bond in the press

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