New project seeks local solutions to urban displacement

17 November 2021


Funded by USAID, the Making Displacement Safer project will conduct research on the direct experiences of displacement, as well as successful local solutions and advocacy campaigns.

So far GNDR members implementing the initiative have interviewed nearly 5,000 displaced persons in 11 countries. 70% of interviewees are still affected by disasters, and in some cases years have passed since the initial event that caused them to leave their home.

There is a clear lack of basic services such as food, water, education and health. Displaced people remain incredibly vulnerable, often living on the outskirts of cities in formal settlements without secure work, homes or health and social services.

Around the world over 80 million people were forcibly displaced by the end of 2020. And on average, people are displaced for a duration of 20 years.

Displaced people in Iraq are no exception. Current data shows over one million people are displaced and nearly 6.5 million are ‘people of concern’. Years of sectarian violence and conflict have forced thousands to seek shelter in the city of Mosul. Upon arrival, they’ve found themselves at risk of new hazards.

A GNDR member organisation in Iraq who, for security concerns asked to remain anonymous, is delivering our project on-the-ground. In Mosul they have identified where critically vulnerable groups are living and conducted surveys and focus groups to understand their situation. They’ve also sought the perspectives of host communities and local government representatives.

The collated research will be used to inform and create innovative solutions to build resilience amongst displaced people. Decisions on what solution to trial will be made involving the most at-risk people themselves.

Our member reports: ‘We have a long history of dealing with internally displaced people to address their needs. But we are using this project to know more on how to employ a disaster risk reduction strategy to build up their long-term resilience. This means focusing on efforts to strengthen their capacity, to restore and sustain their lives and livelihoods, and be better equipped for future conflict and disasters so they don’t have the same damaging effect again.’

As part of planned advocacy efforts GNDR members will ask local and national governments to ensure displaced populations are represented in the decisions that affect their lives. This could be through consultation on policies, plans and reviews of work; giving access to financial resources to help reduce risks; or giving people access to timely and usable information.

‘In the first months of our project,’ the member in Iraq says, ‘our relationship with internally displaced people has improved – especially because we have promised them that we will try our best to ensure their voice reaches local government representatives. This is a critical starting point for building resilience as, without it, we cannot respond. We hope that the government listens to their voices and alleviates their suffering.’

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