Apply For The 2018 Ockenden International Prizes


Four Projects to Share 2018 Ockenden Prize Money

In a new format, with prizemoney of £100,000 to be split between the winners, Ockenden International will award four prizes of £25,000 each, for projects lt deems most effective in developing independence for refugees and internally displaced people.

The cash prizes recognize and reward innovative work that fosters self-reliance for refugees and/or internally displaced people (IDPs) anywhere in the world – the hallmark of Ockenden International since its inception in 1951.

Ockenden’s trustees have decided to move away from awarding one main prize and two runners-up. Trustee Chairman, Vin Ray said: “More prizes for more projects reinforce our aim to benefit as many IDPs and refugees as possible.

“Having four £25,000 prizes will widen and extend the impact of the most effective projects Ockenden International seeks to highlight and reward.”

Submissions for the 2018 prizes will be judged by a panel of experts, whose names will be announced in due course.

Submissions for the £25,000 prizes must be from non-profit organisations, which can also elect to nominate a project by a partner or affiliate organization. There are no geographical limits on the locations of submitted projects but the judges will be looking for work initiated no earlier than September 1, 2014, and for evidence of properly measured and evaluated outcomes. Deadline for entries is midnight (GMT) on Thursday, November 30, 2017, with the four winners to be announced by March 30, 2018.

The Ockenden International Prizes remain focused on solutions to the challenges faced by displaced people, raising awareness of their range of needs, and providing reward and recognition for those giving outstanding support.

The 2017 prize was won by St Andrew’s Refugee Services (StARS) in Cairo, Egypt, for a programme designed to halt the exodus to Europe of young unaccompanied adults. StARS’ ‘Youth Bridging Program’, is slowing the migration rate of young unaccompanied refugees out of Cairo by providing them with practical reasons – education and support – to stay in Egypt.

The two 2017 runners-up were the ‘Consolidation of Legal Aid Services to Forced Migrants’ from the School of Law, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda and ‘IDPs Support Project in Rasuwa’, a post-earthquake recovery programme from
Parivartan Patra, Nepal (nominated by Cordaid, The Netherlands).

Goals & Purposes

Background guide

Ockenden International believes that all refugees and displaced people have a right to live with dignity and to be supported in seeking to achieve self-reliance. We recognise that self-reliance can be promoted in many different ways and we seek to make our support similarly flexible. Ockenden’s resources are deployed in two key ways:

  • The Ockenden Prizes Ockenden seeks to support locally-based and/or refugee-led organisations that work directly with refugees and displaced people to advance self-reliance. Small-scale local organisations have the ability to be agile, well-targeted and highly cost-efficient. However, external funding can be hard to access, and is often tied to a particular project. Refugee experiences are varied and complex, so Ockenden seeks to allow prize-winners to direct the award according to their own priorities rather than ours. The prizes are unrestricted grants and will be awarded on the basis of initiatives that promote self-reliance among refugees and/or displaced people, with measureable evidence of outomes that have led to real improvement in the lives of refugees or displaced people. Sound financial governance will also be a factor.
  • The Joyce Pearce Junior Research Fellowship Ockenden sponsors the Fellowship in partnership with the University of Oxford’s Refugee Studies Centre and Lady Margaret Hall.  The aim is to support research, expand expertise in refugee studies and enhance the international understanding of refugee self-reliance. In this way Ockenden can, in a small way, act locally and think globally.

Ockenden’s history of supporting self-reliance

Ockenden International has been through many phases in its long history. It has been a major refugee reception agency and played a leading role in the UK‘s Vietnamese reception programme. From the late 1990’s, Ockenden built its purpose around overseas work and long-term responses. Thus the focus of the organisation became “self-reliance” for refugees – the term still used to guide Ockenden’s activities. However, the concept of “refugee self-reliance” requires some clarification.

Refugees and other forced migrants

Ockenden was founded to provide support to refugees.  Refugees are defined in international law as people who have crossed an international border and are unable to return to their country of origin for fear of persecution on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group.  However, this definition excludes many forced migrants, including people who have not crossed an international border and people displaced by environmental change and natural disaster.  These groups may have similar experiences and needs to refugees, but are not officially recognised as refugees.

Ockenden’s scope, therefore, is not limited to those who have been formally recognised as refugees but extends to all forced migrants.  Furthermore, refugee flows often have a major and long-term impact on host communities. Ockenden also recognises the importance of supporting host communities as a means of supporting displaced people.

What do we mean by ‘self-reliance’?

The term “self-reliance” suggests characteristics of self-sufficiency and independence: the ability to rely on one’s own resources and/or to make decisions for oneself.  In terms of international development and refugee protection, it may also be associated with living independently of aid.

Ockenden supports a concept of self-reliance that recognises the agency, dignity and autonomy of refugees and forced migrants.  However, we also recognise that nobody is truly self-reliant. We all rely on others for support, whether that is family, faith, community, or government.  Displaced people often have particularly acute needs for support, because they have lost their previous resources.  Our understanding of “refugee self-reliance” therefore recognises that displaced people are likely to have a continuing need of support from local, national and international agencies, but that this is not incompatible with the pursuit of self-reliance.

How is self-reliance achieved?

There are multiple dimensions to achieving “self-reliance”, including:

  • Skills for coping and adaptation Coping with displacement requires skills, knowledge and access to information. This might include language skills, cultural understanding of the host society, an understanding of legal and other rights and information about available sources of support.  These skills and sources of information help displaced people access shelter and basic subsistence in the immediate aftermath of displacement. But they are also essential for securing employment and longer-term life opportunities in a context of protracted displacement.
  • Access to services Displaced people need access to basic services, particularly education and health care.  Without these basic services, it is very difficult to achieve any further self-sufficiency or self-reliance.
  • Status, security and protection Access to refugee status determination can be an important component of promoting self-reliance, by providing a recognised status, a defined package of rights and (in some contexts) pathways to durable solutions.  More broadly, displaced populations’ capacity for self-reliance is affected by the availability of effective policing, legal aid and access to justice.

Ockenden considers programmes in any of these areas to be consistent with a goal of promoting self-reliance, even if the recipients of these services do not immediately become self-reliant. Other programmes consistent with promoting refugee self-reliance include the provision of skills-training, capital, access to markets and other income-generating projects.

Entry Rules

Judging Criteria and Entry Rules for the 2018 Ockenden International Prizes

Entrants can apply on their own organisation’s behalf or nominate a non-profit partner or affiliated organisation.

The 2018 Prizes call was announced on Friday 1st September 2017.

The four winners each receive GBP25,000. There are no secondary prizes.

Deadline for the 2018 Prizes is midnight (GMT) on Thursday 30th November 2017.

The winners will be announced by March 30, 2018.

Judging Criteria

The judges will, in particular, look for:

  • Initiatives that promote self-reliance among refugees and/or displaced people. This may include (but is not limited to) projects that are led by or have a high level of participation from displaced people themselves; projects providing education, legal assistance, livelihoods assistance or any other programmes that help refugees and/or displaced people build stable, independent lives.
  • Approaches that have proved to be highly effective in improving the lives of refugees and/or displaced people.
  • Initiatives that lead to real change in the lives of refugees or displaced people.
  • Effective initiatives, with measureable evidence of project/programme outcomes.

Payment of the Prizes

  • The prize money for the four winners will be paid to the relevant applicants to use directly or to transfer to their partner or affiliate if they nominated one.
  • The jury’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Entry Rules

  • Applicant organisations must have high standards of governance – financial and administrative.
  • Where available, applicants must include a copy of their organisation’s – or nominated organisation’s – latest audited, abbreviated accounts with their application. Where audited accounts are not available, short-listed applicants will be asked to provide alternative evidence of sound financial governance.
  • All applications should be made via the online Entry Form
  • Applicants may submit one entry only in each prize year. Unsuccessful applicants are welcome to reapply in future years.
  • Submissions must be in English.
  • The project, programme or activity (referred to as the ‘project’) is the focus of the application.
  • The project submitted must benefit refugees or displaced people.
  • The project submitted must have been initiated no earlier than September 1, 2014 (i.e. no more than 36 months before the opening date for the current year’s applications).
  • Helping refugees and/or displaced people must be the prime focus of the project rather than an ancillary benefit and there must be a strong emphasis on promoting self-reliance. Since its inception, Ockenden International has focused its resources on ‘self reliance’, initiating and supporting projects and programmes that rapidly reduce and remove the need for financial aid and administrative or social support.
  • The applicant must be able to show measurable achievements by the project and outcomes leading to independence for its target beneficiaries.

Entries by Post

For registered charities without access to the Internet, postal entries will be considered. If required, download the .pdf version of the Entry Form. Print and fill out the form in block letters and mail it, along with the requested documentation by the closing date, to:

2018 Ockenden Prizes
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1 Savernake Court,
Old Church Lane
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Middlesex HA7 2RJ
United Kingdom



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