Following the influx of refugee-returnees from Pakistan and Iran in 2016, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has been supporting the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s (GoIRA) Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (MoRR) through a series of programmes aimed at providing durable solutions for returnees and long-term displaced populations in Afghanistan1 . In line with the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR) and Comprehensive Refugees Response Framework (CRRF), 20 locations were identified by UNHCR and GoIRA as Priority Areas of Return and Reintegration (PARR locations). In these locations, large populations of refugee-returnees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host communities live together. Within these PARR locations, UNHCR implemented its short and medium-term Community-based Protection and Solutions Programme Response (CO-PROSPER) programmes to promote long-term development initiatives. UNHCR aimed to develop an area-based, humanitarian-development-peace triple nexus response to support durable solutions and create conducive conditions for the sustainable reintegration of displaced persons.2
To understand the impact of these programmes on the PARR locations, IMPACT Initiatives (IMPACT) conducted an evaluation of the impact of the programmes in PARR locations across four different dimensions: 1) community leadership inclusivity, 2) strengthening public services and equitable access, 3) income generation and economic empowerment, and 4) peacebuilding, and created indices to measure progress over these four key objectives that can be compared against the programme goals. It is important to note that no baseline assessment was conducted before the programme was implemented.
In order to conduct this assessment, IMPACT used a mixed-method approach, using two structured tools with separate methodologies to assess each site as follows. A HH level tool was used to interview a representative sample of HHs in each of the 20 PARR locations, with a 95% confidence level and a 10% margin of error. While aggregated (to the overall HH level) results are representative by population group (IDPs, refugee-returnees, and host communities) and by location, findings per population group in the locations are indicative only. In addition, Key Informants (KIs) were interviewed to assess community leadership in each of the 20 PARR locations to provide indicative information on infrastructure, service presence, stakeholder presence, and conditions faced by specific displacement groups in each site. Nine KIs were interviewed in each location (except for three locations). Between 21 February and 5 March 2021, 2,039 HHs and 168 KIs were interviewed across all 20 PARR locations.
Only 6% of the HHs intended to leave their location where they were interviewed in the 12 months following data collection. Among those, 67% reported intending to move to a different place within Afghanistan. The main reasons to move for those HHs were related to a lack of livelihoods opportunities (63%) and access to housing/shelter (20%).
Of the refugee-returnee HHs interviewed, the average reported time that they had been living in their current location was 5 years or more. This would potentially make them eligible to the Presidential Decree 108 (PD 108); a land allocation scheme for people who have been displaced for at least 5 years. According to PD 108, land allocations will be made in new settlements (“townships”) on vacant land in peripheral urban areas that meet PD 108 criteria for sustainable settlements.
Among refugee-returnee HHs, the most commonly reported reasons why they returned to Afghanistan were because that they wanted to return to a familiar place (24%) and because they had been forced to return to Afghanistan (21%).