Supporting Refugees to Become Economically Active in Costa Rica

Trickle Up is assisting the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Costa Rica in integrating the Graduation Approach into their existing projects for refugees. The UNHCR team in Costa Rica selected and trained 250 participants in December 2014 and 200 in March 2015, including local Costa Ricans living in poverty to establish relationships in a supportive community for the refugee participants. Participants were selected by a combination of factors that measure economic status as well as other vulnerabilities. Households that cannot meet their basic needs, victims and those at risk of sexual and gender-based violence, female heads of households, and households with more than 5 members were selected to participate in the Graduation project. Once enrolled in the project, refugee and host community participants receive training in financial education, legal rights and responsibilities, and confidence-building. All participants choose to receive skills training in either wage employment or self-employment, depending on their skills and interests. Participants all establish bank accounts and are encouraged to save regularly. Each refugee also receives the support of a coach throughout the project. UNHCR helps educate employers about the value of hiring refugees and the necessary legal and procedural processes. We seek to help participants become self-reliant as a result of a stable income, support networks, and higher self-esteem.


Build the capacity of UNHCR to integrate the Graduation Approach into its existing interventions with refugees in Costa Rica Increase participants’ self-reliance as a result of having gained a decent job, having built support networks, and having strengthened their self-esteem.

Cross-cutting issues



  • Costa Rica>San Jose


  • Economic Recovery and Development
  • Humanitarian Aid
  • Protection
  • Social Services
Project Website

Other projects