Informing Durable Solutions for Internal Displacement in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan: Volume A: Overview

Utz Johann Pape and Ambika Sharma

World Bank, 2019


This report presents findings from comprehensive microdata surveys covering IDP and host populations in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan. Refugees in Ethiopia from Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan were also surveyed. The analysis includes:

  • Profiles of IDPs and hosts (covering displacement history, demographics, poverty, food insecurity, living conditions, access to services, livelihoods, social capital, and return intentions), permitting comparisons across countries, between IDPs and host communities, as well as the analysis of differences among IDPs.
  • Classification of households (for the purposes of targeting) into three groups based on their ability to generate income: (1) ‘support-dependent households’ that either have no working-age adults without disabilities or are female-headed with only the household head in the working age and without disabilities; (2) ‘productive but poor households’ that have working-age members without disabilities, yet are still poor; and (3) ‘self-reliant households’ that have working-age members without disabilities and are not poor.
  • Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA) to draw different profiles of IDPs based on their past conditions (cause-based indicators), present situation (needs-based indicators), and future intentions (solutions-based indicators). MCA illustrates how the full displacement trajectory can indicate tailored solutions.

Key findings:

  • Conflict, violence, and insecurity are the main reasons that IDPs fled from their original residence across the four countries, except for 40 percent of Somalis who were displaced due to climate events.
  • IDPs tend to be displaced within their own state or region.
  • The majority of IDPs are children under 15 years. Consequently, IDP households have high dependency rates, especially among female-headed households.
  • IDPs are generally poorer and more vulnerable than host communities, although rural hosts are nearly as poor as IDPs. Overall, more than 8 out of 10 IDPs in Somalia, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Sudan live below the international poverty line of US$1.90 per person per day in 2011 purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. IDPs tend to be poorer than residents, with the exception of Nigeria where hosts are similarly poor. Poverty is also widespread among non-displaced populations in rural areas.
  • IDPs are highly food insecure, often more so than hosts. In most cases, IDPs are more likely to be hungry (Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan).
  • IDPs, especially in camps, have access to basic facilities but still face poor living conditions. Few IDPs have access to improved housing, apart from the long-displaced IDPs of Sudan. Displaced households often have comparable or marginally better access to basic services—water sources, health facilities, schools, and markets—than host communities. Most IDPs have access to improved drinking water, and their access is similar to (or better than) the non-displaced, but this does not factor in overcrowding. While a large share of displaced households use improved sanitation facilities, overcrowding often renders these facilities worse than those used by hosts. Many IDPs have access to health care, though less than hosts. IDP children are less likely to be enrolled in school than children from resident communities. About half of IDPs are literate and their literacy rates are comparable to hosts.
  • IDP and refugee populations have significantly lower access to land, livestock, and income-generating assets than they did before displacement.
  • Social relations between IDPs and residents are generally good, except in South Sudan.
  • IDPs face risks differentiated by sex. Displaced women are more food insecure: 70 percent of displaced women compared to 57 percent of displaced men are highly food insecure. Displaced women are often tasked with the collection of water for the household, exposing them to increased risk of gender-based violence (GBV). Water collection often involves long wait times, leading to missed education and labor opportunities—reflected in worse education and labor outcomes for women versus men.
  • IDPs with agricultural/pastoralist backgrounds who are displaced into urban areas face difficulties adjusting to labor markets and have higher poverty rates than ‘non-agricultural’ IDPs. IDPs typically relied more heavily on agriculture before displacement than their hosts do now: 42 percent of IDPs relied on own-account agriculture as their primary livelihood before displacement, compared to 26 percent of hosts who currently rely on agriculture. An overall shift in livelihoods away from agriculture is evident in each country except South Sudan. Agricultural IDPs have adjusted to current labor markets in different ways depending on country context. Agricultural IDPs are poorer overall (82 percent compared to 75 percent of non-agricultural IDPs), and are more likely to wish to return to their original residence than non-agricultural IDPs, possibly reflecting a desire to restore agricultural livelihoods.
  • Camp-based IDPs are more likely to be poor, have lower access to services, and be dependent on aid compared to hosts and IDPs outside camps.
  • Inequality and heterogeneity among hosts can affect their perceptions of IDPs. Host communities with high levels of inequality are more likely to believe that the arrival of IDPs have worsened job prospects. More prosperous host communities have better relations within the community and more favorable perceptions of IDPs. Heterogeneity along characteristics other than income also affects a community’s perceptions: areas with higher proportions of female-headed households report better social relations but worse perceptions of employment opportunities; higher literacy of household heads is associated with less favorable social relations and perceptions of employment prospects; employment of household heads is associated with less favorable employment perceptions and attitudes towards IDPs; and having aid-receiving host households in the area leads to more favorable perceptions of IDPs.
  • IDPs displaced further from their original residence are more often non-agricultural, have been displaced longer, and prefer to return.
  • Most IDPs wish to stay in their current location or return to their origin; few want to resettle in a new location. 50 percent of IDPs in Sudan, 58 percent of IDPs in Nigeria, 58 percent of IDPs in South Sudan, and 70 percent of IDPs in Somalia wish to remain in their current location. 23 percent of Somali IDPs, 33 percent of South Sudanese IDPs, 25 percent of Nigerian IDPs, and 25 percent of Sudanese IDPs wish to return. IDPs identify security as the most important factor in any future decision.

The authors conclude that policy and programming interventions are urgently needed to improve living conditions by investing in food security, housing, sanitation and education. Additionally, improving security and increasing economic opportunities in return and host areas are critical for durable solutions. The authors note that contextual analysis is crucial—the country cases of Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, and Somalia (see below) provide key insights. And, while socioeconomic challenges for IDPs are reflected in their quantitative profiles, such profiles do not adequately convey the suffering of IDPs. The Pulse of South Sudan and The Somali Pulse websites contain hundreds of video testimonials recorded with tablets during fieldwork to capture the voice of the people and give a face to the data.