Multi-stakeholder Approach to Urban Displacement in Somalia

Mohamed Taruri, Laura Bennison, Shezane Kirubi and Aude Galli

Forced Migration Review, Issue 63, February 2020


This article highlights several collaborative, multi-stakeholder responses in Somalia’s cities, which provide insights into how different actors can work together to provide a coordinated response to the challenges of urban displacement through inclusive, community-led processes.

Key points:

The UN and NGOs have supported the establishment of coordination forums and planning processes at district/municipal level (e.g. technical durable solutions working groups in Baidoa and Kismayo, and a durable solutions unit in Mogadishu).  Traditional sector-based programs targeting individuals based on their displacement status are no longer appropriate, given the similar challenges faced by the displaced and the urban poor. Consequently, the UN and NGOs developed principles to guide the transition to integrated area-based programming, which were endorsed by the Federal Government. An example is the approach established by the World Bank, RE–INTEG and Danwadaag to support the Banadir Regional Administration, where communities face forced evictions, increases in land prices, and weak municipal capacity to respond. The Bank intends to map IDP settlements, identify public land for resettlement, and explore rental subsidy options.

Most IDPs are from poor, low-status, southern Somali agricultural communities, and are changing city demographics in ways that challenge exclusivist clan claims. A key challenge is how to foster social cohesion between urban displaced and host communities in a politically and ethnically divided context. Participatory, inclusive and transparent processes are essential.

In Kismayo and Baidoa, Community Action Plans were prepared reflecting needs identified by displaced and host communities, which were then consolidating into integrated district-level plans. In Banadir Regional Administration, radio was used to build dialogue and gather public opinion on issues related to durable solution.

Analysis of examples of emerging good practice to support inclusive, community-led processes at municipal level suggests that: a comprehensive mapping of community structures should be conducted at the outset of interventions; opportunities to engage displacement-affected communities in project monitoring should be explored; consideration should also be given to the provision of block grants to displacement-affected community forums and groups to implement their own priorities; social cohesion and inclusion should be key strategic objectives of urban programing.