How it works

MADE51 creates opportunities for refugees to earn income through dignified work that makes use of their valuable skills, traditions, and heritage. Working in collaboration with an ecosystem of partners, MADE51 brings refugee craftsmanship & stories to the world.

MADE51 is a global initiative brought to life by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, with the aim of driving economic inclusion and building brighter futures for refugees.

Rather than viewing millions of refugees across the globe as a burden, MADE51 sees untapped talent and potential that, if unlocked, can directly benefit displaced women, men, and children, as well as host communities and local businesses.

- Kelly Clements, UN Deputy High Commissioner For Refugees

Our Goals

Connecting refugees & social enterprises

UNHCR country operations identify groups of refugees with artisanal skills and potential, or interests. We link these groups with social enterprises in the artisan sector that work in or near the refugees’ communities.

Together, refugees and social enterprises develop unique product lines that make up the ‘MADE51 Collection’. Social enterprises sell these products alongside their existing collections and manage orders, production, and logistics. 

We help foster successful, sustainable collaborations by offering seed funding, technical support, and a global marketing platform for the refugee-made products. MADE51 also facilitates large orders and bespoke product collaborations with retailers.

Ensuring Fair Trade & refugee protection

In partnership with the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), we set and upholds the ethical compliance standards that social enterprise partners must meet in their work with refugees. This ensures refugees earn fair wages and work in dignified, safe conditions. 

All potential social enterprise partners go through an assessment process that evaluates their workplace practices, ability to uphold UNHCR Protection principles, and application of Fair Trade standards. Social enterprises that meet MADE51 criteria then go through an extensive onboarding designed to facilitate successful and ethical engagement with refugee artisan groups.

Once they are partners in MADE51, UNHCR field staff and WFTO routinely monitor social enterprises' workplace practices and provide technical support to ensure Fair Trade practices are upheld. 

Building an ecosysytem of partners

In MADE51, UNHCR brings together an ecosystem of industry-leaders who commit to offer long-term support to UNHCR to build and scale MADE51.

Strategic Partners use core business expertise to strengthen the MADE51 model and the linkages between refugees, social enterprise partners, and global markets. The focus areas of these partnerships are: product design, business development, market access, legal services, and technology solutions. Strategic Partners' support includes pro-bono services, in-kind contributions and funding.

We are actively seeking collaborations in retail, design, tech solutions, impact measurement, project funding, logistics, fulfilment, and access to finance.