Partnership story

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UNHCR and Nike dressing refugee girls for sports


UNHCR and Nike started the “Together for Girls” project in 2004. It combined UNHCR’s expertise in assisting refugees with Nike’s experience in inspiring excluded young people through sports and physical activity. In this case, “Together for Girls” was a tool to increase the number of refugee girls going to school.

In the first year of the project, additional teachers were hired and trained, sports and youth personnel were appointed, new classrooms were built, girl-friendly latrines were constructed and learning materials including books, pencils and paper were distributed.

More recently, Nike has been supporting interventions in infrastructure and human resources necessary for girls’ education activities in Dadaab’s refugee camps in eastern Kenya.

The sporting giant has committed itself to “Together for Girls” by investing both money and products in the partnership. It also plans to involve other partners in the initiative.

Nike is one of the founding members of UNHCR’s Council of Business Leaders, which was launched in January 2005 at the World Economic Forum in Davos in the presence of UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie. The Council advises UNHCR on strategies to establish innovative public-private partnerships, and help the agency find new sources of private-sector funding. The Council consists of top executives from five companies that are working with UNHCR to improve opportunities for refugees: Merck, Microsoft, Nestlé, Nike and PricewaterhouseCoopers.