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Knowledge Matters Magazine

Knowledge Matters – Durable Solutions in Somalia

Last updated:
29 May 2020

This Special Issue of Knowledge Matters from May 2020 is dedicated to exploring the progress, challenges and lessons learnt from the Durable Solutions Consortia and programmes implemented in Somalia during the last three years by Concern and other implementing partners.

This special edition of Knowledge Matters brings together the experiences of practitioners from some of the most complex and critical areas where Durable Solutions are being applied today.

Relocated IDPs in Baidoa, 2019. Photo: Hyungbin Lim / IOM Somalia.
Relocated IDPs in Baidoa, 2019. Photo: Hyungbin Lim / IOM Somalia.

Today the number of people living in internal displacement around the world is the highest it has ever been. Conflict, violence, natural disasters and pandemics introduce new risks for increasing protracted displacement and threaten the achievement of long-term solutions, especially in urban settings. A ‘Durable Solution’ (voluntary repatriation, local integration and resettlement) is achieved when displaced persons no longer have any specific assistance and protection needs that are linked to their displacement and they can enjoy their rights without discrimination on account of their displacement. In this context, Durable Solutions is becoming more than a humanitarian sector, it is an approach that cuts across multiple sectors to achieve integration and sustainability and is focused on displaced populations and those affected by displacement, including refugees, returnees and the host populations.

As donors and agencies design the humanitarian agenda for the coming years, internally displaced people (IDPs), especially women who are often more severely affected, should be kept at the centre of the discussions. Local authorities should be at the forefront of this design effort, as they will respond to future displacement. In the search for long term solutions national responsibility, leadership and international accountability becomes more important than ever.

This issue of Knowledge Matters details the Durable Solutions programmes that Concern has been working on in Somalia in the last several years. The context in Somalia is quickly outlined and the momentum for finding Durable Solutions in Somalia is explained. The issue describes how we measure progress towards Durable Solutions, and contains case studies of community engagement through displacement-affect communities (DAC) fora, women's economic empowerment through the inclusion of Self Help Groups and how evictions affect Durable Solutions efforts in Somalia.

The issue highlights lessons learned from studies conducted for several different Durable Solutions consortia in Somalia, including:

  • the need for a coordinated approach to Durable Solutions between political, humanitarian and development actors as well as displaced people and host communities
  • Durable solutions programming should work in complementarity with resilience programming in rural areas and should promote both local integration in urban areas and voluntary, safe and dignified return and re-integration to rural areas where the security situation allows.
  • Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Framework on Durable Solutions indicators can be adopted into programme logframes, but must be contextualised and clearly defined. A clear protocol for disaggregating data according to displacement status is also crucial to understand the extent of displacement-specific vulnerabilities and how these change over time.
  • Working as a consortium enables agencies to deliver comprehensive, multi-sectoral responses to displacement, and implement area-based approaches in displacement-affected communities. By pooling their expertise, the consortia partners have been able to deliver multisectoral programmes, focused on local governance; housing, land and property (HLP); water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); education; health; protection; and economic empowerment.
  • Space needs to be created for the meaningful involvement of national/ local humanitarian and development organisations in the design and implementation of solutions-focused programming.
  • Durable solutions programming should seek to utilize and build upon what is already in place. A comprehensive mapping of community structures should be conducted at the outset, and interventions should try to build on existing capacities and groups, and the plans of these groups. Efforts should also be made to link community groups and their plans to other planning processes.
  • Programme design should incorporate flexibility so as to enable interventions to be driven by community priorities.
  • Accountability to displacement-affected communities must be established through prioritizing a two-way flow of information.
  • Early engagement at all levels of government, especially during the design phase, is essential to secure government buy-in and ongoing engagement. Achieving Durable Solutions is dependent upon different levels of government having adequate capacity, willingness and resources to lead Durable Solutions processes.
  • The inclusion of a learning partner (ReDSS) was found to add significant value in terms of generating learning, building capacity and creating the space for dialogue on Durable Solutions. 


This issue of Knowledge Matters is available in English, Somali and French below:

This document covers aid activities implemented with the financial assistance of the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF). The views expressed herein should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of the European Union, and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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