Dadaab Refugee Complex in Kenya

Comprehensive Refugee Responses in the Horn of Africa: Regional leadership on education, livelihoods and durable solutions

Laura Hammond, Caitlin Sturridge, Kalyango Ronald Sebba, Michael Owiso, Mohamed Mahdi, Farah Manji, and Abdinasir Ali Osman

Since 2017, countries in the Horn of Africa have been developing a coordinated and comprehensive, ‘whole of society’ approach to supporting areas affected by refugee displacement. This process has benefited from the soft political power of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which has brought heads of state, ministers, and technical staff together in a series of meetings that have culminated in the March 2017 Comprehensive Approach to Durable Solutions on the Somali Refugee Situation for Somali Refugees (referred to as the Nairobi Declaration or Nairobi Process), the December 2017 Djibouti Declaration on Refugee Education, and the March 2019 Kampala Decla- ration on Jobs and Livelihoods. Five countries in the region (Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda) have been designated participants in the global Comprehensive Refugee Response Frame- work (CRRF), which aims to support the incorporation of assistance to protracted refugee situations into national development plans and to ensure that refugees, returnees, hosts and others living in areas affected by displacement are given equal opportunities to achieve self reliance and well-being.

This report analyses the ways in which the Nairobi Process and CRRF are being implemented in four countries: Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda. Based on 130 interviews and focus group discus- sions with international and national aid actors, government officials, local administrators, and refu- gees and hosts in capital cities as well as refugee hosting areas, we consider:

  • the role of IGAD, both in practice and as perceived by a wide range of stakeholders;
  • the policy and legislative changes that have been made since 2017 towards improving refu- gee inclusion and extending a community-based approach to assistance;
  • detailed sectoral analysis of progress made with respect to policy, legislative change, and implementation with respect to education, jobs and livelihoods, the involvement of the pri- vate sector in refugee hosting areas, and durable solutions.

Our analysis identifies clear areas where significant progress has been made, particularly at the cen- tral legislative and policy levels. Political commitment has been mobilised and maintained through

the sustained leadership of IGAD. While each country’s experience is a function of its own political economy and it is not reasonable to compare the countries to each other in a scoring exercise, clear progress can be seen in each of the four cases as compared with their position just three years ago.

That said, the analysis also identifies important areas where efforts need to be redoubled to achieve progress. This is particularly true with respect to localisation and participation processes. The roll- out of the Nairobi Process and the CRRF is still quite new, and while much has been done to create a policy environment that provides for greater inclusion with respect to, for example, education or the right to work, these efforts have limited impact at the local level. Greater attention needs to be giv- en to consultation with refugees, hosts and local government, and to ensuring that policies and laws are effectively implemented to deliver real change to people living in refugee-affected areas.

Each of the key areas of analysis in this report includes a short list of recommendations, located at the end of each chapter. The report provides ten main recommendations:

  1. Support for IGAD is essential. IGAD‘s role as political broker is unique and it should be sup- ported by donors and member states to continue to perform this important function. Its co- ordination and technical functions should also be supported by donors, member states and line ministries in CRRF countries. This can be done by establishing an independent monitor- ing system with reporting indicators for each country and for all partners and agencies involved.
  2. More donors should commit to multi-year funding, including direct budgetary support, to CRRF countries to foster the expansion of activities to the local level and to enable full incor- poration of refugees into national development plans.
  3. Participation of local level governments, civil society, refugees and host communities should be incorporated into planning, implementation and monitoring of all CRRF activities by member states. Development donors and implementing agencies should also work to inte- grate displacement-affected communities into their programming. Local action plans for implementation should be developed together with local government counterparts, civil so- ciety, and refugee and host communities.
  4. The education sector needs urgent attention to make the transition from ad hoc projects to national systems. Financing from the international community will be key for the implemen- tation of education inclusion policies (including secondary and tertiary education), as well as quality of education for refugees and host communities. Governments should work to en- sure that coordination functions effectively to ensure that implementation and localisation have real impact.
  5. Further policy formulation is needed on jobs and livelihoods, and where policy and legisla- tion is not yet enacted these processes should be completed. Jobs and livelihoods interven- tions need to be better coordinated and guided by government policy that sets out proce- dures and standards for developing employment opportunities for refugees and hosts, based on market demand that facilitates mobility of refugees and encourages the engagement of private sector employers and trainers. IGAD should monitor and support these processes, and bring together member states to harmonise their efforts to develop effective jobs and livelihoods policies that benefit refugees, hosts and others affected by displacement.
  6. Governments should incorporate commitments to protecting refugees’ rights into liveli- hoods policy with respect to documentation, access to services and mobility, all of which maximise the impact of livelihoods initiatives. IGAD should provide technical support in this respect to enable learning from best practice.
  7. Governments, IGAD and members of the private sector, in particular potential employers, should develop policy frameworks and partnership guidelines for the engagement of the pri- vate sector at the local level. This could include ownership, revenue sharing, intellectual property and procurement guidelines.
  8. There is a need to consolidate and expand the gains made with respect to education and jobs and livelihoods, and to use the experiences gained from these sectors in the expansion of the approach to other sectors, particularly the health sector. IGAD should continue to co- ordinate and provide a forum for sharing monitoring information.
  9. Durable solutions programming, promoting different solutions for different people, should be pursued through close coordination facilitated by IGAD and member states. This can be done at the political level by encouraging states to commit to pursuing all of the durable so- lutions (rather than, for instance, focusing solely on return) and integrating durable solutions programming into national development plans (by governments) and development pro- gramming (by donors and implementing partners).
  10. Particular attention should be given by governments, donors, and implementing NGOs to the needs of women in displacement-affected areas, as well as vulnerable groups that are often side-lined in humanitarian and development programming. This is relevant for localisation and participation, education, jobs and livelihoods, private sector engagement, and durable solutions programmes and policies.

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Image source: EC/ECHO/Daniel Dickinson

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