At present, there are over 65 million people forcibly displaced, inclusive of 22 million refugees – the largest number ever recorded. More than 80% of refugee crises last over 10 years, 80% of refugees are in developing countries, and 60% of refugees now reside in urban areas rather than camps. At the same time, solutions for refugees are dwindling. In recent years fewer than 3% of refugees worldwide have been able to avail themselves of any of the “durable solutions,” i.e. repatriation to one’s home country, permanent resettlement to a safe country, or legal integration into the country of first asylum. Concurrently, humanitarian aid budgets are spread impossibly thin as refugees remain in exile longer and donor countries increasingly prioritize domestic concerns. This tumultuous time has highlighted the need to do better on behalf of refugees and the sheer number of displaced people provides us with an urgent call to action. Refugees tell us that they want to be self-reliant and request support to build independent lives in their new homes, whether their stay is temporary or permanent. With this initiative, we aim to support efforts that set refugees up for long-term success – to support the refugees who desire self-reliance to achieve it because, for many, the alternatives are worse: dependence on diminishing aid or harmful coping strategies (begging, prostitution, exploitative labor, etc.). For those who desire self-reliance and for whom it is in the best interest, we believe that refugee support should be oriented to facilitate this goal. As a secondary benefit, measuring the achievement of self-reliance will enable the humanitarian community to direct limited resources to the most effective program strategies and to refugees who need them most.
Activities to Date
– RefugePoint developed the Self-Reliance Measurement Tool (link to tool). WRC developed the Well-Being and Adjustment Index piloted in Lebanon, Egypt and Ecuador; lessons learned were released in December 2016. (link to report)
– WRC and RefugePoint shared Self-Reliance measurement tools in global fora (Urban Refugee Task Team (URTT), Solutions Alliance Roundtable, etc.) in 2015/6.
– Following interest from partners, RefugePoint and WRC convened the “community of practice” in June, 2016 followed by quarterly calls.
– RefugePoint and WRC held meetings with UNHCR leadership in Geneva in December 2016.
– RefugePoint and WRC convened an in-person workshop with Community of Practice members in Nairobi in March to agree on self-reliance definition, principles and measurement parameters. (link to outcomes doc)
– RefugePoint and WRC developed the self-reliance index with partners through an intensive feedback process from between March 2017-November 2017.
– Pre-test of the Refugee Self-Reliance Index in collaboration with Mercy Corps (Jordan), the International Rescue Committee (Kenya) and RefugePoint (Kenya) in January and February 2018.