Past winners: Nansen projects


Since the medal was first awarded to Eleanor Rosevelt in 1954, more than 60 individuals, groups or organizations have been honoured with the Nansen Refugee Award.

Today, the award includes a commemorative medal and a US$100,000 monetary prize, donated by the governments of Norway and Switzerland. In close consultation with UNHCR, the laureate uses the monetary prize to fund a project that compliments their existing work.



The 2013 Nansen Refugee Award winner opens bakery for Congolese women

Sister Angélique Namaika. The new bakery will teach women practical skills and help them become self-sufficient. NRC / A . ACKERMAN.

Sister Angélique Namaika received UNHCR’s 2013 Nansen Refugee Award in honour of her extraordinary work to transform the lives of displaced women and girls in north eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Most of them had been forced from their homes by armed groups including t he Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The Roman Catholic nun chose to use the prize money, donated by the governments of Norway and Switzerland, to construct a cooperative bakery.

Patricia is one of many women assisted by Sister Angélique. Photo by AUSTRALIA FOR UNHCR / 2014

Patricia is one of many women assisted by Sister Angélique. Photo by AUSTRALIA FOR UNHCR / 2014

Specializing in bread production, the bakery offers local residents the possibility to buy local products rather than imported goods in addition to creating livelihoods. The bakery will allow Sister Angélique to expand her work and assist more women and give them an opportunity to learn new skills. Previously traumatized and stigmatized by their families and locals alike, many displaced women and girls are now able to assert their independence and actively contribute to their new community.





The 2012 Nansen Refugee Award project, the Fridtjof Nansen dormitory

Hawa Aden Mohamed received UNHCR’s 2012 Nansen Refugee Award in honour of her extraordinary work to empower thousands of vulnerable displaced Somali girls and women, including many who have fled war or persecution. With the help of the Nansen Refugee Award prize money, Mama Hawa has embarked upon her Nansen project. In January 2013, she started construction of the Fridtjof Nansen dormitory at her Galkayo Education Centre for Peace and Development in Puntland, Somalia. The dormitory, with 80 beds, will provide internally displaced youth travelling to Galkayo with a safe place to stay while they attend the Centre’s vocational training and sporting activities. Once completed, even more boys and girls will be able to learn and play, leaving clan rivalries behind them.



The 2011 Nansen Refugee Award winner builds primary school in Yemen

The Society for Humanitarian Solidarity (SHS) won the 2011 Nansen Refugee Award for its life-saving rescue work on the coast of Yemen. It has used the prize money to build a school for 350 refugee children.

“This school is our gift to the refugees and we give thanks to the Nansen Committee for giving us this opportunity,” said Nasser Salim Ali al-Hamairy, founder of SHS. “SHS is committed towards helping those in need wherever they are; this is our moral obligation based on Islamic values and our Yemeni culture.” Read more…

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