UNHCR provides, on a limited basis, scholarships for refugees at the tertiary level in universities and polytechnic institutions through the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative Fund (DAFI).
Funding for this programme is provided by the Federal Government of Germany.
The purpose of the DAFI Programme is to contribute to the self-reliance of refugees by providing them with a professional qualification for future employment.
Scholarships are granted only for studies in the country of asylum.
Preferably, UNHCR would like to see the graduates return home and contribute to the reconstruction of their home country, or to the development of the country of asylum or the refugee community at large.
Are DAFI scholarships available in every country?
DAFI scholarships are provided only in developing countries or countries in transition.
DAFI programmes are mostly available in developing countries with a significant refugee population, mostly in Africa and Asia.
Because of its financial limitations, competition for scholarships is high and only a portion of the qualified candidates can be admitted to the programme.
Therefore, selection criteria have been established which are to be strictly followed.
Who can apply?
In order to be eligible, a candidate should:
- be a refugee with recognised refugee status;
- have successfully completed secondary schooling to a high standard in camp-based refugee schools, or in national schools of the country of origin or asylum;
- have no other means of support for university studies;
- select a course of study that is likely to lead to employment in the country of origin;
- not be older than 28 years at the beginning of studies (An exemption could be applied to health and education courses of shorter duration provided to health staff and teachers with previous working experience or employment);
- select a choice of study course with maximum three to four years duration.
Which countries have a current DAFI programme?
Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
How do I apply?
If there is a current DAFI programme in your country of asylum and you meet the above-mentioned criteria, you should complete an application form (Application for Educational Assistance) to be submitted to UNHCR directly.
Forms are available at UNHCR offices. All UNHCR offices will receive your application.
UNHCR is based in Geneva, Switzerland.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Case Postale 2500, CH-1211 Genève 2 Dépôt, Suisse. Tel: +41 22 739 8111.
For further details, see: DAFI Scholarship Programme Website