Impact Sourcing Spotlight


Stepping Up for Refugees

World Refugee Day, an international day designated by the United Nations to honor refugees around the globe, on June 20 has new meaning for some 1,400 refugees in Africa.

No longer reliant on handouts, these once-forgotten refugees who have been stuck in eight camps for decades have found new hope and promise through StepUp.One, which has provided them with marketable skills and connections to global opportunities.

The social impact enterprise or “human revolution” is re-skilling thousands of refugees into digital professionals to deliver sales, marketing, recruitment, fundraising and SEO for individuals, start-ups, scale-ups and enterprises. Its vision is to reskill and employ 1 million refugees in one marketable skill over the next 10 years.

Inspired by a challenge from refugee Mohamed Hassan to CEOs at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2019, StepUp.One was created.    

“Most of these forgotten refugees have lived in these camps for decades with absolutely no hope of ever becoming productive,” said Mohamed Anis, Founder and CEO, StepUp.One.

After Hassan shared his galvanizing comments in his moving comments speaking for the first time to an audience outside his camp, the founders pitched the idea of “reskilling and employing refugees” to the United Nations Human Rights Council at the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya.

They then designed and executed a step-by-step program that helps refugees find their first job and provides onboarding and training. Using tools hand-selected by top design agencies (such as Hootsuite, Lumen5, Zapier, ClickUp and Canva), they developed a seven-step program to find jobs, deliver train and provide work to clients.

Since 2019, StepUp.One has expanded from five refugees to 1,000 last year with plans to scale to 10,000 refugees across the top 10 camps this year, following the same model.

Its vision is to “create the world’s largest digital workforce,” delivering six services – marketing, selling, recruiting, hyper-scaling, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and fundraising. 

The economic potential is large to employ 225,000 refugees and generate more than $1 billion in earnings by 2031, according to Anis, who previously was a regional head in Europe for Infosys.

In addition to earnings, the venture is providing educational benefits by teaching refugees marketable skills, emotional hope for young individuals to find a more productive path, billions of dollars in economic boost for local host economies and the social impact of independence for the reskilled refugees.

StepUp.One is a powerful example of impact sourcing that is providing career development opportunities to people who generally have limited employment prospects and also offering a solution to the tech talent shortage. For more information about impact sourcing, refugee initiatives and other practices that are “doing well by doing good,” visit IAOP’s Center for Social Impact.  

For the StepUp.One story, see the video here.



© 2024 IAOP® All Rights Reserved. IAOP, Certified Outsourcing Professionals®, The Outsourcing World Summit® and The Global Outsourcing 100® are registered trademarks of IAOP.