Improving employment prospects for refugees and host communities

Project description

Title: Qualifications and employment perspectives for refugees and host communities in Ethiopia
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Ethiopia
Lead executing acency: Ethiopian Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MoSHE)
Overall term: 2017 to 2023

A vocational training centre in the Aw-Barre refugee camp in the Somali region where refugees and Ethiopians learn together.


Ethiopia has a long history of hosting people displaced by conflict and hardship. With nearly 800,000 refugees, it is the one of the largest host countries in Africa. Ethiopia has gained international recognition for its progressive refugee policy. Yet for many refugees, the situation remains difficult. Many cannot support themselves and young people in particular are often unemployed. The lack of employment opportunities is also an issue for Ethiopians. Access to vocational training is limited and the training courses that are available lack practical relevance.


Employment prospects for refugees and host communities have improved.


The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is using its expert knowledge to create integrative and long-term vocational training and employment opportunities for refugees and Ethiopians in Addis Ababa and in the regions of Somali, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambella and Tigray. Together with the Ethiopian Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MoSHE), it is working in the following areas:

Improving the quality of vocational training

To increase participants’ employability, the content of existing vocational training courses is being aligned with labour market needs. Further training enables trainers to improve their technical and soft skills and the quality of their teaching. They also receive tools for teaching refugees and Ethiopians together. In addition, the vocational training colleges receive tools, machines and teaching materials to improve training conditions.

Broadening access to vocational training

The number of teaching staff is being increased and new training courses in vocations relevant to the job market are being introduced. As a result, more refugees and Ethiopians, even in remote regions and refugee camps, are receiving training that offers genuine prospects of employment. Efficient agricultural practices are taught on farming plots. The project is also building networks for cooperation between vocational training establishments and vocational training colleges in refugee camps.

Fostering the transition to employment

The project supports refugees and Ethiopians to develop joint business ideas, with advice, assistance and mentoring for start-ups. In rural regions, refugees and Ethiopians farm together in agricultural production groups. They receive support in developing their agricultural produce and expanding their businesses. Partnerships are being created between companies and training schools to foster the transition to employment and to help vocational training graduates as they enter the world of work.

Strengthening relevant entities to promote the implementation of the national refugee proclamation in the area of inclusive vocational training

The project raises the awareness of important players, such as the MoSHE and the national Agency for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA), about the issue of including refugees in the vocational training system. To this end, the steering competence of relevant players is being strengthened. These measures help to ensure that the Ethiopian refugee proclmation in the fields of vocational training and employment is applied in practice.

GIZ is working on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The project is co-funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and is part of the BMZ special initiative ‘Tackling the Root Causes of Displacement – Reintegrating Refugees’.


  • Ethiopia's first integrated public vocational school (Nefas Silk Polytechnic College, Addis Ababa) enables Ethiopians and refugees to learn together.
  • Vocational training centres in the refugee camps Aw-Barre and Shedder (Somali Region) have been established and accredited.
  • More than 280 vocational trainers have taken part in further training. More than 14,700 students are benefiting from improved teaching as a result.
  • Partnerships with more than 70 companies in Ethiopia are providing an initial work experience for refugees and Ethiopians with a vocational qualification, opening up the prospect of employment for more than 1,000 graduates.
  • In Addis Ababa, refugees with a vocational qualification have received residence and work permits for the first time. This ensures long-term employment prospects for them in the country.
  • The project is regarded as an example of the implementation of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) in Ethiopia.

Last update: December 2020

A former Ethiopian trainee now works for an e-mobility company in Addis Ababa.