June 20, 2023

How Technology Can Support Economic Growth for Refugees

Riley Harding

How Technology Can Support Economic Growth for Refugees


World Refugee Day showcases the rights, needs, and aspirations of refugees, serving as a catalyst for economic opportunities and resources. TaroWorks is proud to work with the Grameen Foundation – Uganda to support The Uthabiti Project – a program that fosters inclusive and resilient livelihoods for both young individuals and women in refugee settlements and host communities.

On World Refugee Day, we sat down with Bindi Jhaveri, Technical Project Director for Uthabiti at Grameen Foundation – Uganda, to discuss how the Uthabiti Program utilizes technology and TaroWorks to provide new opportunities and economic growth for refugees. Learn more about our work together from the Q&A below:

Q: What is the goal of the Uthabiti Program?

A: Formally, the goal of the program is for refugee and refugee-hosting households – particularly youth, and women – to have diversified livelihood opportunities to meet their basic needs and participate in economic growth. The objectives are to:

a) Build strong and inclusive market systems that generate livelihoods for target populations

b) Improve access and availability of critical services for growth

c) Contribute to thought leadership and generate evidence on effective approaches to achieve refugee self-reliance


Informally, I always say the goal is to build enabling financial and market systems for refugees and host communities to start and grow businesses and build their own resilience. 

Q: What are you trying to achieve with TaroWorks?

A: We engaged TaroWorks as a system to easily collect remote M&E information and volunteer performance management information. We also wanted to be able to produce data visualizations, dashboards, and other tools that would enable our project staff to use the data for decision-making and evidence generation.

Ideally, we want that all of our staff to be able to access a dashboard that provides details on all of the groups. We want all of our volunteers to be able to access the profiles of the groups they are working with at any time, even while offline, so they can see their strengths, weaknesses, and training needs.

Q: What is the role of technology to provide opportunity and economic growth for refugees?

A: Grameen Uganda uses digital financial services tools, including the digitalization of Village Savings & Loans Associations (VSLAs), digital alternative credit histories, expansion of DFS agent networks, and digital coaches to enable project participants to access formal financial services and financial education for business growth. At the same time, the Uthabiti program has a cross-cutting focus on expanding access to clean energy/productive uses of energy to strengthen their livelihoods.

As an example, the lack of access to electricity and other forms of power is a key barrier that prevents many people in the settlements from engaging in productive economic activities like milling and other livelihoods. Our partner, Save the Children, aims to establish clean energy hubs where entrepreneurs can access renewable forms of energy to engage in these livelihoods. 

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About the author...

Riley Harding

Riley comes to TaroWorks with over 6 years of digital marketing, communications, and graphic design experience. Originally from Toronto, Canada, Riley is currently leading our marketing efforts in our Nairobi Office.

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