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Refugee Aid Should Be About Achieving Self-Reliance: How We’re Measuring It

Each year, millions of people are forced to flee their homes because of conflict. They often seek initial sanctuary in a neighbouring country or a second resettlement country.

Many such countries are found in sub-Saharan Africa. Due to proximity and agreements made between governments, the region is home to more than a quarter of the world’s refugee population. Uganda, for instance, ranks fifth globally among countries with the highest refugee populations, housing 1.5 million refugees.

It is relatively easy to measure the number of food packets distributed or cash dollars disbursed through cash transfers. But it is much more difficult to develop tools to measure the concept of self-reliance.

This is what drove us to support colleagues at the Self-Reliance Research Initiative — a multi-stakeholder collaboration dedicated to improving the lives of refugees around the world — to create the Self-Reliance Index. It was developed through a process that included a review of the literature and existing tools, as well as input from refugees and experts in the field.

Interested organisations have received training on the index from RefugePoint (one of the co-leading agencies) along with Women’s Refugee Commission. The tool is available for free download on the Self-Reliance Index website.

Read more about WRC’s work with refugee self-reliance and the Refugee Self-Reliance Initiative.