Project overview

EMPACT is a platform that connects refugees, displaced people and vulnerable host communities to the future of work by providing digital skills through a tailored, focused vocational training programme. EMPACT partners with leading tech firms to connect trainees with online work opportunities.

The project has now completed its life cycle with the WFP Innovation Accelerator.

students trained
lives impacted
female students


Since 2016, the WFP EMPACT project has provided digital and soft skills training to more than 13,500 young refugees and disadvantaged youth in Colombia, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Palestine, Turkey, Zimbabwe, enabling them to build better livelihoods powered by their skills and talents. In Turkey, for example, almost 70 percent of students generated income through remote work after one year of joining the programme.


Through microwork, I got a crypto loan to start my own fruit business. It’s been my longtime dream.
Janet, EMPACT graduate in Kenya


Untapped talent pool


The online work economy is expected to grow to US$ 55 billion, with the potential market for digital microtasks reaching US$ 24 billion by 2023. Yet, young people globally do not have equal access to digital training, tools, and online job marketplaces to benefit from this growing market. More than 170 million young people who are not in employment, education or training live in low- and low-middle income countries; women, refugees, and internally displaced people are most at risk. 

EMPACT is positioned to leverage this trend to support food-insecure youth to unlock their true potential by connecting them to online gig work globally and linking companies to this untapped talent pool.



Building back with the digital economy


WFP is increasingly leveraging the digital economy to build the resilience of urban, displaced, and landless or land-poor households. With an internet connection, a device, and sufficient IT skills, young refugees and food-insecure youth have the potential to transform their lives in the digital economy. 

EMPACT equips students with in-demand tech skills and matches their newly found talent with IT vacancies in private sector companies and online job marketplaces.


Not only did I learn to code, but I now know how to manage my professional career and business.
Layth, EMPACT graduate in Iraq


Connecting young people to the future of work


EMPACT partners with leading organizations to connect trainees with employment opportunities. The curricula is informed by national and international labour market analysis to provide specialization paths meeting the current needs of employers. 



It’s a win-win outcome: young people at risk of hunger find stable jobs and generate life-saving income, and employers can hire qualified staff to meet their tech needs. Both contribute to a more productive economy and sustainable development.


I didn’t know such a job exists. It helped me pay the bills and support my kid after getting laid off.
Ian​, EMPACT graduate in Kenya

EMPACT layers on actions to address inequalities and the causes of their vulnerability, such as poor literacy or numeracy, lack of access to information, limited social capital, access to employment networks, formal financial institution exclusion and discriminatory rules and practices.

The programme courses focus on digital literacy, soft skills, and English.


Fostering gender equality and digital inclusion


EMPACT aims to contribute to social cohesion and gender equality. Participants come from a mixed cohort of refugees, host communities, and internally displaced persons, 52 percent of whom are women.


Now I work and study from home and take care of my children and my family. I realized that nothing hinders ambition as long as there is a lot of motivation and effort expended.
Baraah, EMPACT graduate in Turkey



The mission of EMPACT has become increasingly imperative and relevant as COVID-19 continues to shift the world towards remote working.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the curriculum intended for in-person classes was almost entirely redesigned to be held in the form of interactive online sessions. Participants who didn’t have computers and internet access received all the necessary equipment.





Meet the team

Sarah El Jeitani
Sarah El Jeitani
Livelihoods and Food Security - Development and Emergency, Lebanon Country Office
Maya Hage
Maya Hage
Project Manager, Lebanon Country Office
Neiaz Ibrahim
Neiaz Ibrahim
Project Manager, Iraq Country Office
Rosemary Gatahi
Rosemary Gatahi
Project Manager, Kenya Country Office
Verda Yuceer
Verda Yuceer
Project Manager, Turkey Country Office
Last updated: 24/04/2023