Making Displacement Safer Cookbook

Create your own recipes

Governments, CSOs and local communities can work together to reduce the risk of displacement and respond effectively when it does happen. Displaced people need to have an active role in risk reduction and disaster response activities in their communities. CSOs are well placed to help displaced people rebuild their lives by using the four key ingredients recommended: 

  1. Strengthen community
  2. Be a catalyst for displaced people to access their rights
  3. Commit government authorities and leaders to action
  4. Rebuild livelihoods and resilience
“For me, displacement can never be safe. It is the worst thing that can happen to a family. Displacement can only be safer if it is voluntary and you are not forced. Displacement can be managed – if the communities are consulted, if they have the capacity and the empowerment to push their agenda and negotiate and be part of the decision making of the government and other stakeholders. Don’t get fascinated by the people being a victim of disaster and become inspired to help them, but ask yourselves this: Why are they in that situation in the first place? It is because we did not help them beforehand. We should get to the bottom of the real issue: poverty and insecurity, everyday hunger, unemployment. That’s the core of the issue they are facing. Why would I stay near the river if I can buy a nice and safe house?”

Theresa Carampatana, President of Homeless People’s Federation, Philippines, speaking at the Global Platform for DRR 2022

How to apply the ingredients

CSOs, and others, are invited to consider how they can best apply – or strengthen their use of – the ingredients. For example: 

  • Embed in the community and understand the challenges displaced people face – both those intrinsic to displacement and those related to marginalisation and exclusion from services and opportunities 
  • Conduct risk assessments to understand the likelihood of displacement and address what might cause it
  • Work to foster cohesion among displaced and host populations by providing opportunities for dialogue and services to the whole community affected by displacement
  • Commit to participatory, inclusive, whole-of-society, human-rights-based approaches to ensure actions reflect the community’s priorities and address the needs of the most marginalised among displaced people 
  • Facilitate conversation and joint decision making with all who have a stake in addressing  displaced people’s needs
  • Articulate and advocate for displaced people and with displaced people: open communication channels for displaced people to express their views and to directly call upon government authorities to take action
  • Amplify the voices of displaced people at local, national and global platforms to trigger policy change for displaced people
  • Collect data on displaced people’s perspectives – including through tools outlined in this cookbook – to identify challenges and hold government accountable for supporting durable solutions
  • Support displaced people to access services and strengthen capacities so they can start businesses or get employment
  • Strengthen community and promote leadership and action among people who may have nothing but displacement in common
“We did not sleep, since many streams and rivers were overflowing. There were landslides and we had no way to get out. What we were waiting for was that someone would find us or that it would stop raining. With effort, the men of the family made a path through the mountain and we set out: young people, the elderly, children, men and women. We felt a lot of pain and anguish in leaving our things and without knowing what could happen in our homes and [to our] material goods. After three hours of walking we managed to reach the community of Tegucigalpita. Many people were waiting for us with great human warmth since we had informed them in advance that we were on our way. We met with great joy since we were safe.”

Perla Jackeline Martinez Menjivar, project participant, CASM, Honduras

Key questions to consider

Deciding what your recipe looks like depends on your environment. The best solutions are co-created and enable everyone involved to bring what they have to the table. 

As you start to get your ingredients together, consider these questions:

Understand context

Why are people displaced? When did they relocate to this community? What are the dynamics between the displaced people and host communities? 

Ask the displaced population

Do you have access to basic goods and services? Do you have access to employment and livelihood opportunities? Do you have the documentation necessary to access social services provided by the government and to claim compensation? 

Build collaboration

Get in touch with the community and reach out to local leaders. Let them know your strengths as an organisation, your relationships within the community and beyond it, and see how you might be of use. How can you work together to address the challenges they face? 

Design the action together

What are the community’s capacities? What capacities would they like to develop? What resources do they require to achieve their goals?

Build connections

See how your project or actions connect to work being done by other stakeholders in the area. How can you make sure there is no duplication? Is there a way to pool resources for maximum impact? 

Make sure it’s sustainable

Who do you need to engage now to make sure that the outcomes or results achieved will be sustained? 

You have in your possession the key ingredients and the know-how to further address the challenges faced by displaced people.

Project funded by

Our Making Displacement Safer project is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance. Content related to this project on our website was made possible by the support of the USAID. All content is the sole responsibility of GNDR and does not necessarily reflect the views of the USAID.

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