Implementation of the CRRF in East Africa: Supporting a ‘whole of society’ approach

CRRF processes in the region are contributing to positive changes with a stronger focus on a self-reliance and resilience, integrated refugee-host community programming, engagement of development actors and a commitment to support stronger participation of refugees and host communities in programing and policy processes. But a number of challenges remain to be addressed, with the most important ones being:

  • a disconnect between policies processes versus operational realities with policies changing faster than implementation
  • a disconnect between capitals and districts/ counties level with the urgent need to strengthen and invest into locally led processes
  • support ‘whole of government” approaches to bring line ministries and displacement within national development plans as opposed to processes being solely led by Refugee Agencies
  • ensure that displacement affected communities are engaged in planning and programing
  • address right to work and freedom of movement as core components of self-reliance and resilience programing as without those, refugees won’t be able to become self-reliant
  • essential to effectively integrate host community relations and social integration as a core part of Durable Solution strategies
  • ensure that protection remains at the core of our work including in development programming

Click here to download the brief

Together towards Somali-led durable solutions processes

With over 2.6 million IDPs in Somalia as a result of conflict, violence, insecurity, and severe natural disasters, addressing displacement challenges is critical to find durable solutions to protracted displacement and give the millions of displaced a chance of a better life with dignity and self-reliance. Somali authorities and national actors have the primary responsibility to address these issues and need to be adequately supported to be able to play a leadership and coordinating role. It is essential to collectively invest into capacities to sustain solutions locally and nationally. Such investments will strengthen national institutions and partnerships that can sustain locally owned solutions.

In 2017, the European Union launched a 3-year programme known as REINTEG to support the return and reintegration of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugee-returnees across Somalia and Somaliland. The programme also aims to enhance the capacities of the Somalia government and local authorities to assume their primary responsibility for facilitating durable solutions.

The EU is working with five consortia (four NGO-led and one UN-led) to achieve these results. The NGO-led consortia include: Somaliland Durable Solutions Consortium (SDSC) led by World Vision in Somaliland; Enhancing Integration of Displacement affected communities in Somalia (EIDACS) led by Concern World Wide in South West State; Jubaland Solutions Consortium (JSC) led by Norwegian Refugee Council in Jubaland and the Durable Solutions for IDPs and Returnees in Somalia (DSIRS) led by Care in Galmadug. The Regional Durable Solutions Secretariat (ReDSS) is supporting the EU REINTEG partners on the learning component by bringing them together towards one durable solution vision where each of the RE-INTEG consortia contributes through different approaches. See a summary infographic.

ReDSS members, in coordination with government and local authorities, the office of the UN Resident Coordinator (RCO), the Somalia NGO Consortium, and various UN agencies, have invested in a longer term knowledge management and capacity development approach in Somalia and developed different learning tools such as trainings, online tutorials, one pagers briefs, etc. The aim is to support a common understanding and vision to durable solutions processes in Somalia.

Since 2016, over 120 practitioners and policy makers have been trained in Somalia. In March 2018, EIDACS consortium with the support of ReDSS organized a durable solutions training in Baidoa for local authorities and practitioners in South West State, in partnership with Somalia NGO Consortium and UN agencies.

37 participants from various South West State (SWS) line ministries, Baidoa local authorities including the Mayor of Baidoa, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations attended the training and contributed to very interesting and lively discussions and debates. Bringing different stakeholders together and especially local actors is essential to understand different perspectives and support a common understanding of challenges and opportunities in the search for durable solutions in Somalia. 

Investing into capacities at regional level is essential as local authorities have the primary responsibility to lead and coordinate durable solutions programing.Mr. Watiin Abdullahi, the mayor of Baidoa emphasized the need to support local municipalities to be able to respond to displacement in urban context including forced evictions and access to services for displaced and host communities in an integrated and sustainable way.

Mr. Abdulqadir Mohamed, the Commissioner of the South West State (SWS) Commission on IDPs and Refugees said that such trainings are “critical to strengthen early preparedness and response efforts to reduce the risk of displacement in urban areas as well as enhance protection and absorption capacity”. Unplanned and informal settlements are frequently in peripheral and higher risk prone locations. Urban centres face critical absorption challenges which further increase pressure and social tension among hosting communities and urban displaced over access to overburdened services’’.

Mayor Watiin was able to bring key points from the workshop to a learning event on solutions in urban contexts organized by ReDSS, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Rift Valley Institute (RVI) in Nairobi in April 2018. The event was attended by over 120 people and Mayor Watiin was on a panel with World Bank Urban experts and UN Habitat. It was a key opportunity for him to share his perspective and priorities on durable solutions in urban context. His presentation is available here and ReDSS Study on urban refugees in Nairobi and IDPs and refugee-returnees in Mogadishu and Baidoa here. The study aimed to better understand and address displaced people’s vulnerabilities and aspirations in urban centers and to rethink support in more sustainable and empowering ways and the Mayor was actively involved in the study process.

During the last session of the training, participants engaged in group and plenary discussions to agree on recommendations to inform joint planning and to ensure use and uptake of the training learning in their respective area or work. Representatives from lines ministries and authorities requested for further support on strengthening community-driven durable solutions approaches, strengthening self-reliance and resilience in urban context and enhancing preparedness and early solutions to prevent further displacement.

“We should not implement anything unless every relevant stakeholder including the displaced themselves are involved in decision-making process. Not only, do we have to consult all groups, women, youth, religious leaders and other affected groups to fully scope the needs in Baidoa; but we also need to explore more innovative ways of working with private sector and various businesses in provision of key services such as water due to strain that the town already faces”, said the Mayor.

Both the mayor and the commissioner appreciated the partnership with ReDSS and the EU REINTEG consortia and stressed the fact that agencies need to do more to strengthen the capacities of local authorities to play a leadership and coordinating role in durable solutions processes.

Long-term multi sectorial and multi actors funding such as EU’s RE-INTEG is instrumental to bring humanitarian and development stakeholders together and support a common vision to improve collective programing and policies.

New approaches are needed for effective humanitarian-development coordination to find durable solutions for IDPs in Somalia using area based planning processes led by municipalities and authorities. Part of these new approaches is for actors to continue to evolve ‘adaptive programming’ moving away from sectorial and linear cause and effect’ approaches and to continuously adapt to Somalia very volatile context.

We have a collective responsibility to challenge our structures and systems to do more and better together in the search for durable solutions for displacement affected communities. It is essential to collectively invest into capacities to sustain solutions locally and nationally. Such investments will strengthen national institutions and partnerships that can sustain locally owned solutions.

This is what RE-INTEG Consortia are supporting by investing in real time learning and adaptive management, mentorship and peer learning to ensure that RE INTEG programing is flexible and responsive to changing contexts and needs.

Click here to read more on core elements to inform solutions programming and what durable solutions in Somalia means.

ReDSS 2017 review and 2020 strategy

ReDSS annual report is a reflection of our impact, key accomplishments, challenges and engagement with our members in 2017. We would like to thank our members, external partners and donors for their continued support, engagement and commitment to do more and better together in the search for durable solutions in the East and Horn of Africa region. Click here for the report and here for a summary presentation and 2018/2020 focus and priorities.

Analysis of solutions programming in urban contexts

ReDSS analysis of solutions programming in urban contexts focuses on urban refugees in Nairobi, Kenya and IDPs and refugee-returnees in Mogadishu and Baidoa in Somalia. The report aimed to better understand and address displaced people’s vulnerabilities and aspirations in urban centers and to rethink support in more sustainable and empowering ways. The methodology was based on participatory and consensus building approach including consultations and validation workshops with displacement affected communities, policy makers and practitioners.

The displacement environment in the Horn of Africa is primarily one of encampment however increasingly internally displaced persons (IDPs), returning refugees and to a lesser extent refugees are moving to towns and cities. Kenya for instance hosts some 65,000 urban refugees (or 13% of its total refugee population). In Somalia, over 2 million children, women and men are internally displaced. Most people displaced by drought left rural parts of Bay, Lower Shabelle, and Sool and settled in urban areas such as Mogadishu and Baidoa. The population of Baidoa has doubled in the past 12 months.

Urban displaced often join marginalized neighborhoods effectively become hidden in their host city, while others remain part of the visible urban poor further exacerbating their vulnerabilities. Such a sudden and rapid influx of large populations compounds difficulties that cities already face in the highly urbanized regions, leading to overcrowding of informal settlements and increasing demand for urban services, land, jobs, and housing.

New approaches are needed for effective humanitarian-development coordination to find solutions to urban displacement, using area based planning processes led by municipalities and authorities. A comprehensive response to urban displacement won’t involve a one-size-fits-all solution, it must be a multi-stakeholder approach that improves the business-enabling environment for everyone—refugees and host communities alike.

Click below to access the full report, executive summary and power point presentation on key findings and recommendations. The report was funded by ECHO and the Danish Embassy for Kenya and Somalia.

Brief on forced evictions as an obstacle to durable solutions in Somalia

Since 2015, an annual average of more than 155,000 individuals have been evicted across Somalia. Mogadishu and Baidoa are so far the worst affected towns, with thousands of people being evicted from both public and private infrastructure. Forced evictions in Somalia disproportionately affect internally displaced persons (IDPs). These evictions are often unlawful and violate the full range of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights enshrined in various international instruments. IDPs are unable to access and assert their basic rights, mainly due to insecure land tenure arrangements in IDP settlements. This has interrupted the ongoing reintegration processes in Somalia as well as undermined collective efforts to assist IDPs accelerate their path to recovery and attain durable solutions.

This one-pager brief outlines key recommendations that promote an inclusive and rights-based approach to evictions, with a view to support a long-term solution for IDPs at risk. There is an urgent need to strengthen the regulatory environment for forced evictions in Somalia and measures to address social exclusion of marginalized communities in order to mitigate the needs and risks of IDPs.

Click here to download full one pager.