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Finalists announced for ?50,000 Ockenden International Prize to recognise inspirational work for refugees and displaced people

Mon, 26 Nov 2012 15:02 GMT
Author: Ockenden International
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London (UK), 26 November 2012

Three UK charities and, where appropriate, their field partners have been selected to proceed to the finals of the Ockenden International Prize worth £50,000.  They are:

  • Childreach International partnering with the Centre for Development for their Piplaj Advocacy Project to empower a deeply impoverished community in Gujarat, India to campaign for better living conditions, education and healthcare.
  • HelpAge International for their project to support older people, who have suffered years of upheaval, violence and loss, in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, to identify their needs and take action to improve their lives.
  •  Womankind Worldwide partnering with The Women’s Legal Aid Centre for the For Women We Stand project, the first of its kind in western Tanzania, to promote and protect the rights of refugee women and girls.

In this the inaugural year, the Prize seeks to recognise and reward work that has improved the lives of refugees and displaced people in Africa, the Middle East or Asia and raise awareness of the scale and range of challenges faced. Ockenden International encouraged, in particular, entries for projects that help people to develop self-reliance, the hallmark of the charity since it began its pioneering work in 1951.

With representation from the field, the three finalists will present their projects to an expert panel of judges, chaired by BBC journalist and presenter Michael Buerk, during the afternoon of 19 February 2013 at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. Rory Stewart MP will present the £50,000 cash Prize during an evening award ceremony.

The judging panel will include Dr Dawn Chatty – Director of Oxford’s Refugee Studies Centre, Dr Jeff Crisp – Head of Policy Development and Evaluation Services, UNHCR, Dr Kirsten McConnachie – Research Fellow, and Mohammed Suleman, Managing Director of Barrow & Gale.

Dr Kirsten McConnachie is the current holder of the Joyce Pearce Junior Research Fellowship, funded by Ockenden International, for studies into refugees and forced migration.

More information about Ockenden International and the Prize can be found at

 Note for editors

Ockenden International’s roots lie in the work of three British schoolteachers, led by Joyce Pearce, who created the Ockenden Venture in 1951.  Their aim was to receive in Britain young East Europeans from homeless persons’ camps in Germany and to provide for their maintenance, education and welfare. This work later extended to projects in India, north Africa and south-east Asia.  The venture’s expertise and skills in helping people help themselves was so well recognised by 1979 that the British government asked Ockenden to be one of the three charities tasked with helping Vietnamese ‘boat people’ resettle in the United Kingdom.

After the death in 1985 of Joyce Pearce, the driving visionary of the organisation, the charity took stock of its work and by 1999, as Ockenden International, had concentrated nearly all its work overseas. In 2007 the trustees decided that continuing to be an operational charity was no longer sustainable and that it could work more effectively by becoming a grant-maker and promoting awareness of the challenges facing refugees and displaced people.

Contact for media queries: 

Stephen Claypole, trustee, Ockenden International

+ 44 (0) 208 563 1718

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