Changing Places: Migration and displacement in the Horn of Africa discussed at REF research forum in Nairobi
In January 2019 the REF convened the Changing Places forum in Nairobi to discuss themes related to migration, displacement and development across the Horn of Africa.
The forum created a space for the presentation of recent research findings – from the REF and many other researchers – and for the sharing of a diversity of experiences and perspectives from participants.
Over 135 delegates from 21 countries across the Horn of Africa and beyond participated in the forum. Representatives came from governments, universities, research institutions, the UN, NGOs, media, civil society and private sector. A group of artists from the region, many of whom were refugees from the Artists for Refugees project in Kenya, were also invited to showcase their work at the forum.
A number of key themes were discussed through a range of interactive sessions:
- A first set of sessions examined some of the factors that determine mobility and its impacts across the world – such as demographic changes and the rapidly expanding youth population in the Horn of Africa, gender relations and ideas of vulnerability, urbanisation and the ever-growing reality of climate change.
- A second set of sessions focused on issues that are felt particularly sharply in the Horn of Africa: the critical role of borders in people’s livelihoods; displacement and the return of refugees and IDPs; and the challenges of providing protection for people on the move.
- A third set of sessions looked closely at migration programming by critically examining the process of labelling and categorisation that underpins many interventions; the meaning of migration management in practice; smuggling and trafficking; and the current and future role of different actors in the migration industry.
- A fourth set of sessions discussed how to communicate new research findings to the right audiences and how to ensure the best chance of bringing changes in policy, practice and, ultimately, people’s lives.
As well as showcasing the exciting research taking place in the region, the discussions also fed into planning for phase two of the REF, which commenced in June 2019.