Protracted and new displacements of large numbers of people as well as complex conflict dynamics continue to be a major issue in Darfur. In 2020, an estimated 2.5 million people were internally displaced and close to 400,000 Darfuris refugees resided in neighbouring countries (numbers from 2020).
The political transition following years of conflict paved the way for the signing of the Juba Peace Agreement (JPA) in 2020. The peace agreement aims to address the root causes of conflict but also establishes durable solutions for displaced populations as a necessity for lasting peace in Darfur. In 2021, the Government furthermore initiated work on a National Strategy on Solutions, which will offer a critical strategic framework and operational roadmap towards solutions for displaced communities in Sudan.
In 2016, JIPS received a support request from the Office of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, for the implementation of a durable solutions analysis in El Fasher, Darfur. Based on this exercise, JIPS was requested in 2020 to provide technical support for the scale-up of the durable solutions analysis across the five States of Darfur, under the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) Sudan and by UNHCR under the Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF).
Profiling for durable solutions in El Fasher (2016 – 2019)
The Durable Solutions analysis conducted in El Fasher looked at the situation of IDPs in two camps at the outskirts of the city of El Fasher in North Darfur – Al Salam and Abu Shouk. Benchmarking the situation of displaced persons to that of the non-displaced households in the city, the exercise analysed the resources, capacities and coping mechanisms of both population groups and the main obstacles for solutions.
It helped identify opportunities and informed planning for durable solutions, steering the analysis from a focus on humanitarian assistance toward longer-term planning and incorporating durable solutions into local-level development programming. The profiling data was collected in the camps of Al Salam and Abu Shouk in May-June 2018. The report as well as an online story map were published in 2019.
The interactive story map:
JIPS was requested by the DSWG to provide technical and collaboration support throughout, including to develop the methodology, conduct the analysis and elaborate the report and story map, as well as to facilitate multiple collaborative working sessions and conduct capacity building at various stages in the process.
Thematic consultations and a workshop conducted in Khartoum during the methodology design stage to ensure the selected indicators reflected durable solutions planning needs, furthermore involved director generals from several line ministries (including health, education, planning and animal resources), community-based organisations and elders from the Abu Shouk and Al Salam displacement camps, as well as international and local organisations (including the African Union/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur [UNAMID]), in addition to the exercise partners.
Piloting of the Interagency Durable Solutions Analysis Guide and Indicator Library
The design of the methodology and tools for the exercise in El Fasher piloted the Interagency Durable Solutions Analysis Guide and Indicator Library to provide an analysis of progress towards solutions based on the 2010 IASC Framework on Durable Solutions for IDPs. The DSWG commissioned Tufts University to do an external evaluation of the method and tools developed, resulting in a ‘Lite Toolkit’ for durable solutions analysis in Sudan. The lessons from El Fasher shaped the foundation for the design of the subsequent durable solutions studies under the PBF.
Area based, mixed methods approach
The study combined a sample-based population analysis of IDPs in the camps as well as non-displaced households in the peri-urban and urban neighbourhoods of El Fasher (micro-level analysis), with an area-level analysis of the city and its urban development plans (macro-level analysis, working directly with the Ministry of Planning in El Fasher). This helped better inform the local urban planning by the municipality of EL Fasher to integrate the IDP camps in the city structures.
Collaborative approach to design and implementation of study
The durable solutions study in El Fasher was underpinned by a collaborative and inclusive process that involved multiple actors at both Khartoum and El Fasher levels. It was an important. This was paramount: not only allowed it to pilot a collaborative, multi-sectoral durable solutions analysis in the context of Sudan. It also enabled coordination with the Government of Sudan by establishing an effective process that they could replicate in other displacement contexts in Sudan (see external evaluation report).
Large-scale durable solutions analysis under the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) Sudan
Building on the 2016-2019 durable solutions analysis conducted in El Fasher, North Darfur, and the external evaluation and lessons learnt from this pilot, the PBF studies refine and expand the durable solutions analysis to eight localities across the five States of Darfur (Tawila, Assalaya, Yassin, Sheiria, Gereida, Jebel Moon, Nertiti and Um Dukhun) and the diverse displacement-affected population groups (IDPs, neighbouring non-displaced residents, nomads, IDP returnees and also refugee returnees).
The study provides a baseline for the analysis of the communities’ progress towards solutions, as an integral element to the peacebuilding process in Sudan as well as for monitoring the impact of PBF programming. It fosters a shared understanding of the displacement situation in Darfur among government and humanitarian-development-peace (HDP) actors, and offers an agreed-upon evidence base that can inform PBF interventions, community-based local action plans, as well as broader HDP nexus responses. Data was collected in the end of 2020 and during 2021, while the reports were published in 2021.
Key outputs include:
The interactive story map:
JIPS was requested by the PBF and DSWG to provide technical and collaboration support throughout, including to develop the methodology, conduct the analysis and elaborate the report, briefs and a story map.
Community-based validation of the analysis and prioritisation of barriers to solutions
Following the completion of data collection and preliminary analysis (Dec 2020 – March 2021), a total of 15 locality-level community engagement sessions in the target localities were implemented together with SUDIA. During the sessions, participants reviewed and validated the survey findings and formulated priorities for response at the locality level. JIPS designed the community engagement process, including methodology tools and training of facilitators.
Locally-driven action planning
Based on the community sessions and multi-stakeholder engagement, a series of locality-level action planning workshops were implemented. Each lasting three days, the workshops brought together participants from all displacement-affected population groups, civil society, as well as relevant line ministries and local authorities and committees. The resulting Action Plans translate the durable solutions analysis results into concrete suggested activities, thus providing a roadmap for addressing key obstacles and informing environments that are conducive for solutions. The workshops were co-facilitated by diverse partners, including JIPS, WHO, WFP, FAO, WAR Child, UNDP, UNHCR, UNICEF, COR, ALRIGHT and REMOCO.
Translating the analysis into cross-cutting key messages for policy and programming
The key insights from the eight locality studies were condensed into an interactive story map and five thematic briefs that outline cross-cutting, actionable messages for policy, solutions strategy design and humanitarian-development-peacebuilding (HDP) programming. JIPS led the development of these briefs as well as the consolidated analysis that underpins them, while ensuring discussion and validation of the briefs with the lead PBF agencies, the DSWG and Government actors.
Replication of the durable solutions analysis under the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) Sudan, 2020 – ongoing
Alongside the durable solutions analysis implemented in 2020-2021 under the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) Sudan and in collaboration with the PBF implementing partners and the Durable Solutions Working Group (DSWG) Sudan, JIPS has also been supporting UNHCR in replicating the approach across an additional nine localities in Darfur and other displacement-affected areas in Sudan, under the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).
The study namely covers the localities of Kebkabiya and Kutum (North Darfur), Kass and the rural villages surrounding Kass (South Darfur), Al Geneina (West Darfur), Baw (Blue Nile), as well as Ar-Rashad and Talodi (South Kordofan).1 Target population groups include internally displaced persons, returnees (both IDP returnees and refugee returnees), non-displaced, and nomads. Data collection took place in September – October 2021, followed by a joint analysis process in November – December 2021. JIPS is currently supporting on the implementation of community-based validation and prioritization sessions, subsequent action planning workshops, as well as the development of the summary reports.
The cleaned and anonymized datasets are available here.
1 – Due to the ongoing conflict and accessibility constraints, there have been delays in the data collection in Al Geneina locality. This is now expected to kick off towards the end of January or beginning of February 2022.
JIPS was requested by the CERF and UNHCR to provide technical support throughout, expanding on the durable solutions analysis piloted in El Fasher in 2016-2019 and the lessons learnt from it, as well as the refined approach used under the PBF exercise.
Tool to support prioritisation of areas for data collection and action planning
JIPS supported the prioritisation of the specific areas within the target localities that the CERF study focused on, by providing a tool structured around decision-making workflow and set of criteria. This enabled a transparent and structured process for the selection of areas (e.g. main town and adjacent villages, dhamras, IDP camps, or cluster of villages), to ensure the relevance and subsequent use of the study results for action planning towards durable solutions outcomes. Considerations included several key elements:
Community-based action planning
Drawing on the community engagement and action planning approach used for the exercise implemented under the Peacebuilding Fund (2020-2021), a series of locality-level action planning workshops were implemented. The process included community sessions to validate the key findings from the durable solutions analysis and to jointly prioritise key obstacles to durable solutions to be addressed. The results from these sessions then fed into the development of locally-anchored action plans, elaborated through a collaborative process that involved UNHCR, local authorities, humanitarian and development partners and community representatives.