The recent annual programme workshop, organised by the Regional Secretariat on Durable Solutions (ReDSS) in Nairobi in June 2019, was a rich learning experience. It was great to see the key actors from different parts of the region – including local and national authorities, local and international NGOs, civil society, private sector groups, academia, donors, and UN agencies – come together to jointly share experiences and work to advance practice on the topic. Having these different constituencies around the table and in particular ensuring government leadership is, in fact, critical in order to successfully address forced displacement and progress towards solutions.
Remarkably, participants shared the same reference point when discussing how to analyse and measure towards solutions for displaced people: namely the IASC Framework on Durable Solutions for IDPs. Nevertheless, operationalising this Framework and contextualising it to the specificities of each displacement context still poses many challenges. Tested tools and guidance do exist, but not everyone is familiar with the different efforts made, while others find that their specific context requires a more tailored approach.
As a follow up to the workshop, and in order to continue the discussion on different approaches to measuring progress towards durable solutions, we asked Patience Kiara Gakii and Rufus Karanja from ReDSS about their work on durable solutions analyses in the East and Horn of Africa and how they have made use of the Durable Solutions Indicator Library in their work.
Margharita Lundkvist-Houndoumadi (JIPS): ReDSS has developed a Durable Solutions framework to guide rapid analysis of durable solutions, primarily based on secondary data and consultations. Can you share some concrete examples of this from your work in the East and Horn of Africa?
Patience Kiara Gakii (ReDSS): ReDSS members and partners operationalised the IASC Framework in 2015 to develop the ReDSS Durable Solutions framework and Guide. They build on the eight criteria from the IASC Framework and aim to support efforts to measure progress towards durable solutions for IDPs, refugees, returnees, affected host communities, etc. in a particular context.
To tailor programming and policies according to a common logical framework and analysis around solutions, ReDSS solutions analysis tools require a collaborative process, active involvement and consultations with representatives from government at both national and local level, humanitarian and development actors and displacement-affected communities. The participatory process, through engaging with partners and building consensus, is key to ensuring its relevance and appropriateness. Since its introduction in 2015 the ReDSS framework has been piloted in various contexts, as a rapid analytical and adaptive tool to inform joint analysis and collective outcomes to support local integration. The analyses rely on existing information (secondary data), extensive consultations with a wide range of stakeholders and focus group discussions with displacement-affected communities to achieve a general picture of a displacement situation.
The framework is a live tool that evolves constantly to adapt to practitioners’ needs and use. In 2017, ReDSS revised the framework indicators as per the interagency work on the Durable Solutions Indicator Library and Analysis Guide, led by the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of IDPs, and developed a Guidance Manual and Programming Guide.
The ReDSS framework has served as a useful tool to establish a common vision on durable solutions among key stakeholders and to inform decision-making on policy and practice. It is also increasingly being used as a tool to inform the design, monitoring, evaluation and adaptation of solutions-focused strategies and programmes.
In Somalia, for instance, in 2016/2017, under the leadership of the government and the UN Resident Coordinator office and in collaboration with humanitarian and development actors, ReDSS developed district-based solutions analyses to inform safe and dignified (re)integration programming in Kismayo, Baidoa and Mogadishu. Based on the IASC criteria, these solutions analyses have also been used to develop joint area-based action plans for the three regions, which presented return areas for Somalia returnees from Kenya.
In 2019, ReDSS and partners conducted a follow-up study to the solutions analyses in the same locations. The objective was to see how much progress has been made, so as to guide collective work on durable solutions in Somalia and enhance accountability by following the uptake of research and recommendations over time. These annual/ biannual analyses will be conducted over the next four years to observe the evolution of the durable solutions landscape in Somalia in terms of progress and achievements, challenges and opportunities, and critical success factors to adapt programming. Different durable solutions consortia such as the EU REINTEG and the Danida Solutions Programme, among others, in Somalia and Somaliland are using the IASC indicators to tailor programming and inform collective outcomes.
Rufus Karanja: In Somalia, we are now also supporting primary data collection for durable solutions analysis through a household-level study – called the ‘annual aspiration survey’. This will be a longitudinal study undertaken on an annual basis over the course of four years in four prioritised locations: Mogadishu, Baidoa, Kismayo and Dollow. The survey analysis will be used to inform and adapt durable solutions programming based on a better understanding of aspirations of the displaced.
By following the same sample of households over time, we will be better able to understand: the underlying issues that influence processes of displacement, return and (re)integration; the factors that shape people’s decisions to move; and the impact on the wider community.
The team from IMPACT Initiative working with us on this study also used the Durable Solutions Indicator Library, which proved critically useful to inform the survey tool.
Margharita: It is very interesting to hear about your work in Somalia. In fact, JIPS supported two profiling exercises in 2015-16 that looked at the IDP situations in Mogadishu and Hargeisa. We recently received new requests from the Benadir Administration (BRA) to update the evidence in Mogadishu. Since 2016, a lot has happened in the country, with the Durable Solutions Initiative, the inclusion of IDPs in the National Development Plan, the launch of the Durable Solutions Unit within the Ministry of Planning, Investments and Economic Development, and more.
You mentioned the Durable Solutions Indicator Library, which was developed through an inter-agency project led by the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of IDPs through a multi-year process. One year into the launch, the inter-agency consortium is looking into how the library has been used. What has been ReDSS’ experience in making use of it?
Rufus: Generally, the durable solutions library has proven very useful to partners here when looking for guidance during the design of solutions programmes. For example, in 2018 ReDSS supported its EU – REINTEG consortia partners to develop an outcomes monitoring framework, which defines 10 common outcome indicators drawn from the IASC and ReDSS frameworks. However, the challenge was that some of the indicators like those on adequate standard of living were very difficult to measure and here the indicator library proved to be a useful resource. The other durable solutions consortia that have been established (Danwadaag and Durable Solutions Programmes) have also benefited by using the indicator library to inform their programming approach.
In fact, the ReDSS framework and now also the Durable Solutions Indicator Library are often the first point of reference for durable solutions consortia partners who are looking into designing or implementing durable solutions programming for displaced people.
In terms of challenges linked to contextualising tools, we have also faced these when having to contextualise and adapt our own framework. In our experience, if people are not constantly reminded of the availability of the tools, they are not able to make use of these as they simply don’t come to their mind. It is for this reason that we remain in continuous dialogue with partners to ensure that they are aware of the durable solutions tools available that can support their work on analysis and programming. ReDSS also has incorporated a session on the use of the framework in our technical trainings for practitioners and policy makers to enhance the awareness and use of the framework.
Another challenge on the operationalisation of the framework is linked to the setting of standards, benchmarks or baselines. In contexts like Somalia, there are no defined national standards to compare against in order to measure progress towards solutions, nor is there much data available on the local population to compare against. This poses questions around how to define durable solutions, especially in contexts where the local population might be worse off than the displaced.
Margharita: Thank you so much, Patience and Rufus, for this very interesting discussion. I am already looking forward to our upcoming joint webinar on measuring progress towards durable solutions and conducting durable solutions analysis. This will be a good opportunity to share with practitioners some of the tools available and lessons learned.
From our profiling experience, for example in Sudan and Greece, contextualising the durable solutions indicators to make them relevant for the local context is challenging. Partners have expressed the need for more operational guidance in this regard. It will be interesting to bring this point to the webinar discussion and explore practices of adapting durable solutions indicators and analysis approaches to different contexts.
This article was developed and adapted from a discussion with ReDSS’ Patience Kiara Gakii and Rufus Karanja.
Formed in 2014-15, the Regional Durable Solutions Secretariat (ReDSS) is a consortium of 14 NGOs working on policies in the region of Eastern Africa. Building on a common goal to offer a platform to work better, together, ReDSS’ work is centred around four pillars: research and analysis, policy, programme support, and capacity development.
The Durable Solutions Indicator Library presents agreed-upon indicators that can be used to measure durable solutions outcomes, in line with the IASC Framework on Durable Solutions for IDPs. Its development began in 2015 and was led by the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of IDPs and coordinated by JIPS in collaboration with a technical steering committee. This committee’s members included DRC, ICRC, IDMC, IOM, FIC/Tufts, NRC, the UN Peacebuilding Fund, UNDP, UN-Habitat, OCHA, UNHCR, the World Bank and REDSS.