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Thematic Series - Measuring the costs of internal displacement on IDPs and hosts: Case studies in Eswanti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia - January 2020

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Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for the highest number of IDPs and new displacements associated with conflict and violence in 2018. It also registered a historically high number of new displacements associated with disasters.1 Internal displacement can have a severe impact on the wellbeing and welfare of internally displaced people (IDPs) and their host communities, but quantitative assessments of this impact are rare and inconsistent.

The first estimate of the economic impact of internal displacement in sub-Saharan, published in November 2019, amounted to $4 billion a year.

These quantitative estimates are necessary to monitor the extent to which aid achieves its objective of mitigating the negative consequences of displacement on affected people, and inform further interventions to support them. This report introduces a new methodology to assess the financial repercussions of internal displacement on the livelihood, health, education, housing and security of IDPs and their host communities.

Using a survey tool and key informant interviews, quantitative information was collected on a sample of the affected population and complemented with qualitative findings that can guide aid providers and policymakers in their efforts to find solutions to displacement.

This report presents the results of using these tools for four case studies in Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, each representing a different internal displacement situation.

In Eswatini, people surveyed were displaced for less than a year by storms and floods and remained close to their area of origin, often in the same community.
The impacts were limited, apart from a perception among both surveyed IDPs and hosts of a reduction in purchasing power and signs of psychosocial distress.

Impacts on housing and related financial costs were mitigated for the beneficiaries of the National Disaster Management Agency’s support system. This provided them with temporary shelter and aid to rebuild or repair their homes.

Most surveyed IDPs were able to find refuge within their own community, continue their previous income-generating activities, and go to the same healthcare facilities.
Their children could keep going to the same schools.

This shows that an effective support mechanism can, in the context of relatively small-scale, short-term displacement, help reduce the negative consequences of displacement in most areas.

In Ethiopia, surveyed IDPs were forced out of the Somali Regional State by violence and received support from the Ethiopian government to settle near Sabeta in the Oromia region. They were given basic shelter and some food assistance. They also were given free access to a health facility and a school within the IDP settlement.

Relations with the host community are, on the whole, good, and both groups feel secure with each other.
Apart from the positive impact on perceived security, however, displacement has resulted in a degradation in the livelihood, housing conditions and health of most IDPs. Displaced children have increased access to school, but numerous barriers to quality education remain.

Surveyed members of the host community do not seem to have been highly affected by the arrival of 1,100 displaced families, apart from a rise in prices and a degradation in the psychological wellbeing of surveyed men that should be investigated further to understand its source.

Positive steps were taken to support IDPs in their resettlement, but more is needed to ensure their full integration into the local community and economy.

In Kenya, surveyed IDPs have been living in internal displacement since the post-election violence of 2007 and 2008. They received emergency assistance in the immediate aftermath of that violence and some support in following years, but they are still far from achieving durable solutions.

Access to decent housing, livelihoods, security, healthcare and education is a challenge for many in Kenya, even among those who have not been displaced. The situation for surveyed IDPs, however, is consistently worse than for surveyed members of the host community. Displacement and the inability to recoup the financial stability they had in their home areas is linked to the challenges IDPs face in ensuring their wellbeing and welfare.

Government support and self-organisation allowed all surveyed IDPs to find shelter. Their current housing conditions, however, do not compare to the those they had before or to those of their non-displaced neighbours. Displaced children’s education was significantly affected by the disruption in schooling, trauma and other consequences of displacement. Displacement’s impact on IDPs’ resources is seen most clearly in their labour income. This suffered both from a reduction in average salaries and a rise in unemployment.

In Somalia, surveyed IDPs left their rural homes because of drought in 2017 or 2018 for the capital city of Mogadishu. The dramatic change from an agro-pastoral life to an urban one in the country’s largest city resulted in some improvements in access to educational and health facilities and perceived physical and mental health. It also, however, resulted in reduced access to work and lower incomes. More than a third of the surveyed hosts, meanwhile, reported reduced access to healthcare and a worsening of their physical and mental health since the arrival of IDPs in the area. This is likely linked with the overcrowding of health facilities.

The results from the Somalia case study point to several opportunities to improve the wellbeing and welfare of both IDPs and hosts in the context of rural to urban displacement and population growth linked with the arrival of numerous IDPs in the host area. Unfortunately, however, many of these opportunities have not been fully realised. The living conditions of IDPs surveyed in Banadir remain very difficult. There are frequent evictions, and children are working instead of going to school. There is also insufficient long-term planning and funding behind aid efforts to foster durable solutions and socioeconomic development for all.

These four case studies demonstrate the diversity of internal displacement’s consequences and possible responses by governments and their partners in supporting IDPs and host communities. The methodology introduced in this report is designed to provide quantitative findings whenever possible and a more comprehensive picture of the way displacement affects people’s lives and resources. It can inform aid providers’ decisions and help monitor progress. The type of granular insights it provides complements regional and global estimates of the economic impacts of internal displacement with more action-oriented, concrete findings that practitioners can use in their planning and programming.