Informing Durable Solutions for Internal Displacement in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan: Volume B: Country Case Studies

Utz Johann Pape, Ambika Sharma, Taies Nezam, Benjamin Petrini, Menaal Fatima Ebrahim, Jacob Udo-Udo, Felix Konstantin Appler, Andrea Fitri Woodhouse, Verena Phipps-Ebeler; Alexander Benjamin Meckelburg, Syedah Aroob Iqbal

World Bank, 2019


These case studies are stand-alone displacement profiles that depict the socioeconomic conditions of IDPs and non-displaced communities.

Nigeria Case Study

Nearly two million people are internally displaced in Nigeria. About 60 percent of IDPs live in host communities and 40 percent live in camps. The Nigeria IDP Survey (IDPS) 2018 covered IDP and host households in six northeastern states where most IDPs are living (Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe). IDPs were surveyed in two settings: in camps and among host communities. About 1,400 IDP and 1,400 host households were interviewed.

Key findings:

  • Armed conflict is the main cause of internal displacement.
  • 95 percent of IDPs have fled within their state of origin, but outside their local government area.
  • The majority of IDPs are children. 57 percent of IDPs are children under age 15.
  • Nearly 40 percent of IDP and host households are headed by women. Female-headed households tend to be smaller with higher dependency ratios.
  • While the religious composition of IDPs is largely uniform (95 percent Muslim), IDPs belong to various ethnic tribes. Most IDPs identify with the Kanuri tribe, and many are from Hausa and other smaller tribes.
  • Almost all IDPs are poor, food insecure, and doing badly on a range of basic living outcomes. 87 percent of IDPs live below the international poverty line, and poor IDPs consume less than 30 percent of the poverty threshold. 61 percent of IDPs are highly food insecure. IDPs suffer from overcrowding, in terms of housing and sanitation. Displaced women are less likely than host women to give birth in a hospital or clinic. IDPs have lower school enrollment rates—many IDP children have not attended school for three years or more and some not since their displacement. Most IDPs lost homes that their families had owned for many years, and now live in worse housing conditions than they did before. Many IDPs lost agricultural land owned by their households.
  • Though slightly better off than IDPs, host communities face widespread poverty and poor living standards. Host households are more likely to own homes and agricultural land than IDPs, though their home ownership rate is only about 50 percent. They have higher primary and secondary enrollment rates, are more likely to use a doctor or clinic for childbirth, and are less likely to have overcrowded sanitation facilities. Hosts and IDPs have a similar level of access to water, sanitation, schools, and markets. However, despite faring better than IDPs on most welfare measures, host communities face significant challenges. 8 out of 10 host households are poor, consuming on average less than 40 percent of the poverty threshold. 48 percent of host households are highly food insecure, and one in five working-age hosts do not participate in the labor force.
  • IDPs in camps have worse living standards than IDPs in host communities. While IDPs in camps and IDPs in host communities have similar poverty levels, the latter are slightly better off on a number of dimensions. IDPs in camps face slightly more overcrowding in dwellings, and substantially more overcrowding in toilets (nearly 70 percent share a toilet with more than four households, and over 40 percent share with more than ten households). Camp-based displaced women who are members of male-headed households are less likely to give birth in a clinic or hospital. Camp-based children are more likely to stay out of school for longer than children in host communities; about half the children in camps have been out of school for over 3 years compared to only 16 percent of displaced children living in host communities.
  • A majority of camp-based IDPs wish to return home, while most IDPs living in host communities intend to stay. 60 percent of IDPs (70 percent of IDPs in host communities, 20 percent of IDPs in camps) wish to remain in their current location while 40 percent prefer to return to their homes.
  • IDP and host women have worse educational and labor outcomes than men, but displaced women face additional challenges. About 60 percent of IDP households send girls/women to collect water (compared to 43 percent of host households) which often involves long waiting times, with the opportunity cost of educational or labor force engagement. Water collection chores can also increase the risk of GBV. Displaced women are more likely than host women to deliver babies at home without a doctor/nurse/midwife. School enrollment rates are lower for girls than boys, and women have lower educational attainment than men. Women are also more likely than men to be inactive in the workforce.
  • 65 percent of IDPs are employed, mostly in agriculture. 46 percent of working-age IDPs are employed, and 19 percent are employed and enrolled in education. 20 percent of working-age IDPs are unemployed or inactive in the labor force, which is similar to inactivity rates in host communities. 70 percent of IDP households rely primarily on agriculture for their livelihoods, compared to 50 percent before displacement. IDPs have lost agricultural land, but renting land from host communities could be allowing them to maintain agricultural livelihoods. IDPs who are inactive cite a lack of opportunities, skills, and capital, while host communities primarily cite a lack of opportunities.
  • Both IDPs and host communities agree that they enjoy good relations, with the latter feeling that IDPs do not get enough aid.
  • Both IDPs and host community households rely on their social networks for credit, which they perceive as difficult to tap.
  • IDPs are less likely than hosts to participate in public meetings or meet community leaders.
  • IDPs living in host communities and in Borno are most likely to be support-dependent. 71 percent of IDP households are productive but poor, 19 percent are support-dependent, 10 percent are self-reliant. Host communities have a slightly larger proportion of self-reliant households, but most households are productive but poor. IDPs living in host communities are more likely to be support-dependent than hosts and camp-based IDPs. Support-dependent IDP households are concentrated in Borno state.
  • IDPs have two distinct typologies, which can be identified from their locations and return intentions. Both groups came from similar places of origin, had similar living standards at origin, and were displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency. However, prior to their displacement, Group 1 (74 percent of IDPs) was more engaged in wages or non-farm business, while Group 2 (26 percent of IDPs) was more engaged in agriculture. Group 1 households are more likely to have smaller household sizes, higher dependency ratios or unemployed women as household heads. Group 1 is more likely to live in host communities, while Group 2 is more likely to live in camps. Group 2 IDPs are more likely to rely on agriculture and receive assistance compared to Group 1, although both groups are equally poor and food insecure. Group 1 has higher levels of satisfaction with the current situation, preferring to stay in the current location. Group 2 is more likely to have lower levels of satisfaction with the current situation, feel less safe, feel more pessimistic about the future, and prefer to return to their origin. Group 1 households require more access to safety nets and gender-responsive programs. Group 2 IDPs can benefit from increased access to agricultural land and skill building to diversify their income.

The authors conclude that substantial investment is required to improve living conditions among host communities and sustain their ability to accommodate disadvantaged and vulnerable IDP groups. Coupled with raising hosts’ living standards, durable solutions for IDPs must prioritize security, both in displacement and return areas, and address the specific needs of the most vulnerable groups: women and IDPs in camps. Additionally, dependable and accurate information is an important resource for IDPs and should form part of a broader humanitarian response plan.

Somalia Case Study

Of Somalia’s total population of 14 million, about 2 million people are internally displaced. Insufficient rainfall over four consecutive rainy seasons, combined with clan-based conflict, and violence by armed non-state actors, caused a surge in displacement from late 2016 to late 2017. The Somali High Frequency Survey (HFS) 2017–18 sampled the Somali population in secure areas (Middle Juba was excluded due to insecurity) including: (a) IDPs in settlements; (b) host communities in urban areas adjacent to IDP settlements; and (c) non-host urban and rural populations. Several households originally part of the urban or rural sample, self-identified as IDPs, resulting in data on IDPs outside of settlements.

Key findings:

  • Climate events and conflict are the main causes of displacement cited by IDPs. 38 percent of IDP households are displaced due to climate events (drought, famine, flood) and 40 percent due to conflict.
  • About 7 in 10 IDP households live in the same districts as they did originally, and fewer than 1 in 10 are in a different region, federated member state, or country.
  • Most IDPs are in urban areas (75 percent of IDP households) and in formal settlements (62 percent of IDP households).
  • IDPs, like the rest of the Somali population, are overwhelmingly young. Over 50 percent of IDPs are under 15 years and less than 1 percent are above age 64, driving high dependency ratios (larger than 1 in 1).
  • Like the national population, every second IDP household is headed by a woman.
  • The incidence and depth of poverty are greater among IDPs than urban residents, but about the same as among rural residents. 74 percent of IDPs live below the international poverty line, compared to 63 percent of urban residents and 70 percent of rural residents. The poverty gap among IDPs (35 percent) is higher than that of urban residents (24 percent) and the national population (27 percent), but similar to that of rural residents (32 percent).
  • Hunger is more common among IDPs. 55 percent of IDPs experienced hunger, compared to 43 percent of rural residents and 17 percent of urban residents. More than half of IDP households are food insecure.
  • IDPs have worse living conditions. One in four IDPs have access to improved housing, which is much worse than among the national population, and host and non-host communities, but similar to the share among rural residents (18 percent). IDPs have better access to improved sanitation and health care than rural residents. However, IDP settlements are severely overcrowded, which largely negates access to improved drinking water and sanitation. IDP settlements are also located further from essential facilities than host communities.
  • Displaced children have lower levels of human capital. Displaced children are less likely to attend school than children from host communities or children in urban areas. Displaced adults have lower literacy rates than non-IDP adults in urban areas.
  • IDPs participate in the labor force at similar rates to the urban and rural population. Women are much more likely than men to be economically inactive. Most IDPs do the same work they did before being displaced, but about half of the poorest IDPs and those outside settlements have had to change their main employment.
  • IDPs receive relatively low remittances, indicating a lack of safety nets.
  • Most IDPs feel safe and report good relations with communities around them.
  • 73 percent of IDPs are productive but poor, 26 percent are self-reliant, and less than 1 percent are support-dependent. Host communities have a larger share of self-reliant households. Household vulnerability varies by region: almost all IDPs in lower Juba are self-reliant, whereas most households in Banadir, Middle Shabelle, Gedo, Woqooyi Galbeed, and Bay are productive but poor.
  • Somali IDPs have two distinct typologies. Group 1 (40 percent of IDPs) are more likely to come from agricultural backgrounds and to have been displaced by drought, and their living conditions before being displaced were generally worse than their current living conditions. Group 2 households (60 percent of IDPs) were less dependent on agriculture, had better housing quality before being displaced, and are more likely to have been displaced by conflict. Currently, Group 2 households tend to be less poor, less food insecure, and in better housing conditions than Group 1 households. 70 percent of households in both groups prefer to stay in their current location rather than return to their place of origin or relocate. For both groups, security is the main factor driving preferences to stay, return, or resettle. The typology suggests different home and livelihood restoration efforts for the two groups. Resilience to drought would be key to a durable solution, especially for Group 1.

The authors highlight several priorities for durable solutions for IDPs in Somalia including: investments in human capital to prevent lifelong gaps in social and economic development; improvement of hosts’ living conditions; substantial investment in infrastructure (particularly in urban and peri-urban areas where most IDPs reside) to prevent a decline in service and livelihood quality of hosts and IDPs and preserve positive IDP-host community relations; support to rural development and resilience to drought to enable IDPs to return or relocate to rural areas; and support to enhance access to education and employment opportunities, especially for the younger population.

South Sudan Case Study

The conflict in South Sudan that began in December 2013 has displaced an estimated 4 million people including about 2.1 million refugees and 1.9 million people IDPs, 15 percent of whom are in camps. The Crisis Recovery Survey (CRS) was conducted in 2017 in four of the largest Protection of Civilian (PoC) sites, all in urban areas (Bentiu PoC in Upper Nile, Bor PoC in Jonglei, Juba PoC in Central Equatoria, and Wau PoC in Western Bahr-el-Ghazal). The fourth wave of the High Frequency Survey (HFS) South Sudan 2017 allows for comparisons of IDPs to urban residents, and represents urban areas in 7 of the 10 pre-war states of South Sudan. HFS 2017 does not cover two of the pre-war states (Jonglei and Unity). Consequently, comparisons are drawn at the overall urban and IDP level.

Key findings:

  • IDPs predominantly fled due to armed conflict (79 percent of IDP households).
  • IDPs tend to be younger than urban residents, driving high dependency ratios. About 45 percent of IDPs are under 15, compared to 32 percent of urban residents.
  • IDPs and urban residents have fewer adult men than women.
  • IDPs are mostly from the Nuer tribe, which is associated with the opposition group.
  • Most IDPs are displaced within their state of origin and have not travelled far.
  • About 37 percent of IDP households and 30 percent of urban households have separated members. IDP households have less contact with separated members, and most do not have access to family reunification mechanisms.
  • Poverty is widespread among IDPs and rural residents. More than 90 percent of IDP households are poor, compared to 86 percent of rural residents and 75 percent of urban residents. IDPs have deeper poverty gaps: 54 percent for IDPs compared with 51 percent for rural and 40 percent for urban residents.
  • Despite being poorer, IDPs are less hungry than urban residents. About 24 percent of IDPs have experienced hunger three or more times during the four weeks prior to the survey compared with 32 percent of urban residents. The lower hunger rates among IDPs may be due to more predictable and stable access to food due to aid.
  • IDPs have experienced a drastic deterioration in living standards—their current living conditions are significantly worse than those of urban residents. Before displacement, 43 percent of IDPs had improved housing, and 86 percent owned their home. The pre-conflict housing conditions of IDPs were better than those of urban residents today; 21 percent of urban residents occupy improved housing and 78 percent own their dwelling. Now, almost all IDPs live in overcrowded tents/temporary shelters. Severe overcrowding in dwellings and sanitation facilities reduces living standards, contributes to the spread of communicable diseases, and increases the risk of GBV.
  • IDPs have better educational outcomes than rural residents but worse than urban residents, and men are more likely to be literate. 53 percent of IDPs above age 14 are literate, compared with 33 percent of rural and 62 percent of urban residents. Women are much less likely than men to be literate in all three groups. While more than half of IDPs are literate, few have studied beyond primary school. About one in four IDPs has a secondary school or university education.
  • Displaced youth are more likely to be idle. Displaced youth have lower labor force participation than urban youth (32 percent and 63 percent, respectively). One in four displaced youth are idle—neither working, nor looking for work, nor studying.
  • Sex-based disparities in the working-age population are starker for IDPs. Young women have higher labor force participation and lower educational enrollment than young men. This is particularly evident among IDPs: 51 percent of young men are in education, compared to 28 percent of young women. Among displaced adults, labor force participation trends are reversed; men are more likely to be active in the labor force while women are more likely to be idle.
  • IDPs have lost most of their income-generating assets and depend on aid. Access to agricultural land fell from 0.8 acres per household before the conflict to about 0.2 acres today. Livestock holdings fell from 42 to 2 livestock units per household. More than 75 percent of IDP households rely on aid as their main source of livelihood.
  • Many IDPs do not feel safe in the camps, and perceptions of safety are quite low.
  • 58 percent of IDPs wish to stay in their current location, 34 percent wish to return to their place of origin and 7 percent wish to resettle in a new location. IDPs who wish to stay are motivated by better security, services, and assistance in the camps. Security and services are also the most important concerns for IDPs who wish to leave their current location.
  • 13 percent of IDP households are support-dependent (mostly located in Bor, Juba and Wau PoCs), 64 percent are productive but poor, and 23 percent are self-reliant. Urban resident and IDP households are equally likely to be support-dependent, but urban households are four times more likely to be self-reliant than IDP households.
  • IDPs have two typology profiles. Before displacement, Group 1 households (40 percent) were more likely to derive their income from wages and businesses. Group 2 households (60 percent) were more likely to have agricultural livelihoods, and worse housing quality. Group 2 households tend to be larger, poorer, more aid dependent, and with higher dependency ratios. They also feel less safe in their current environment, and are more confident of returning or resettling soon. However, Group 1 households are more optimistic about their future. Group 1 households are primarily located in Juba and Bor PoCs, while Group 2 households are concentrated in Bentiu and Wau PoCs. Both groups reported the need for regular and reliable information about the security and political situation in origin areas, as well as in potentially new areas.

The authors highlight several priorities for durable solutions for IDPs in South Sudan including: preserving human capital by strengthening food security, improving living conditions, and improving access to health care, education and employment opportunities; improving access to services and humanitarian assistance; and reliable information provided to displaced populations about the security and political situation in their original place of residence, as well as in any new re-location area where better living conditions. However, any solution will depend on the improvement of security conditions in the country.

Sudan Case Study

Current estimates suggest that as many as two million individuals, five percent of Sudan’s population, are internally displaced. The Sudan IDP Profiling Survey 2018 represents IDPs in two camps near Al Fashir. The two camps, Abu Shouk and El Salam, are in the sub-urban and peri-urban areas of Al Fashir, the capital city of the North Darfur state. The host population (residents of Al Fashir) is also represented in the survey.

Key findings:

  • Most surveyed IDPs were displaced at the height of the Darfur conflict in 2003–04. About half wish to remain where they are. Most working-age IDPs engage in income-generating activities in or around the camps. Many IDPs who wish to remain in the camps cite concerns about security, but IDPs also appreciate the health and education services offered in the camps. Almost one in two IDPs were either not born or below the age of five at displacement and have grown up in the camps.
  • IDPs are young—their demographic profile resembles that of non-IDP populations more than that of newly registered IDPs. 43 percent of IDPs are less than 15 years of age, compared to 40 percent of hosts. Protracted IDPs are older than what is typically observed among newly registered IDPs.
  • IDPs and hosts are extremely poor. More than 8 out of 10 IDPs and 6 out of 10 hosts fall below the international poverty threshold.
  • Food insecurity is higher among IDPs (64 percent) than among hosts (31 percent).
  • IDPs’ dwellings are permanent structures and similar to their houses before the conflict. 99 percent of IDP households live in tukuls (traditional dwellings with circular mud walls and a roof), or other permanent mud or wood structures.
  • While access to many services in the camps is better than at IDPs’ places of origin, access to food and electricity is often deficient. Most IDPs have access to improved sources of drinking water and improved sanitation facilities, as well as health centers, schools, and markets—though they have lower school enrollment than hosts. However, 60 percent of IDPs have high levels of food insecurity and only 9 percent of IDP households have electricity in their homes.
  • Literacy rates among IDPs are similar to those of the host population, but there are significant gaps between men and women. While IDPs have lower levels of educational attainment, literacy rates among IDP and host populations are similar (70 percent). 78 percent of displaced men are literate, compared to 62 percent of displaced women. Members of female-headed households are less likely to be literate.
  • Employment levels are similar for adult IDPs and hosts, displaced women are more likely to work than host women, and displaced youth are more likely to be working than to be in education.
  • Before displacement 95 percent of IDP households depended on agriculture as their main source of income; currently less than half of IDP households depend on agriculture. IDPs who currently rely on agriculture tend to be the poorest. Only one in three IDP households has access to agricultural land and only one in five IDP households owns livestock.
  • 6 percent of IDP households depend on aid as their main source of income, and only 20 percent receive any aid at all. This independence is generally positive, but also reflects limitations on aid access. IDPs largely generate their own income, yet it is barely enough: IDPs who wish to relocate frequently cite the lack of employment and livelihood opportunities in the camps as their main reason.
  • Relations between IDPs and hosts are mostly perceived as good or very good on both sides.
  • IDPs feel considerably less safe in their neighborhoods than hosts.
  • Neither IDPs nor host communities exhibit high levels of civic engagement.
  • IDPs remain economically vulnerable and more so than hosts, despite being productive. About 70 percent of IDP households are productive but poor, 10 percent are support-dependent. Only 50 percent of host households are productive but poor, and only 4 percent are fully support-dependent.
  • IDPs have two distinct typologies, which can be differentiated based on their displacement year, location, and return intentions. Before being displaced, Group 1 (39 percent of IDPs) relied more heavily on agriculture. Group 1 IDPs are more likely to have been displaced in 2003-2004. They are more likely to live in a shelter provided by the camp and are therefore closer to services and more likely to have access to an improved water source. However, Group 1 households have a higher poverty rate and a deeper average poverty gap. They are more likely to face food insecurity and to rely on assistance. Most Group 1 households want to relocate, primarily to obtain better access to employment. In contrast, most Group 2 households prefer to stay where they are for security reasons. More than half of Group 2 households are headed by women. Group 2 also seems to have less access to services and worse housing, perhaps because most of them are located far from the main centers of the camps. Supporting Group 1 IDPs implies improving their skills to help them diversify their incomes. Group 2 households require gender-responsive programs, increasing their access to safety nets and better living conditions.

The authors conclude that a durable solution for protracted displacement in Al Fashir must: (a) improve living conditions for hosts and IDPs in camps that have become a permanent residence for many; (b) improving the security situation and expanding economic opportunities in return areas; and (c) business skills development and better access to employment opportunities, mainly for agricultural IDPs.