Take a look at our Twitter chat summery on knowledge gaps on urban displacement, held July 30, 2015–thank you to all who participated!
Participants pointed to the following topics for which there is a knowledge gap in the field of urban displacement:
- a lack of knowledge on the situation of urban refugees in smaller cities and towns
- refugee communities that are not under the spotlight/whose situation is less high profiled
- the presence of millions of refugees in urban settings
- how we can better support community and faith-based organizations
- the misinformation that urban refugees with employment/livelihoods do not need attention/support
- exact numbers of urban refugees/IDPs
- GBV: the huge risk of GBV for urban displaced was raised as an area in need of further research. Participants agreed that the needs and solutions for GBV vary between different sub-groups, which include women, youth, LGBT, the disabled. There isn’t a comprehensive understanding and/or toolkit for the needs of these populations. The WRC contributed their research on GBV risks for urban refugees in Ecuador. The complexities of GBV and transactional sex were also brought up.
- The difficulties in conducting research in urban settings instead of camps included the fact that urban refugees can be difficult to locate. Crowdsourcing, with consideration for the safety of users, was pointed out as a method of research to help bridge knowledge gaps.
The Twitter chat also included a discussion on the language used to refer to displaced populations; should urban refugees be seen as migrants, with their lifeworlds/stories as the starting point? Are there different focuses when using the term ‘migrant’ versus ‘refugee’? What role does the use of labels have in creating perceptions; should we be asking individuals to self-identify and explain the reasons for their use of the term? Do organizations start with their own reality?
The complexity of this issue points to the need for rights-based approaches and the inclusion of refugee voices; while imperfect, national/international justice systems and humanitarian services provide key support.
Community-based organizations (CBOs) have great potential to link urban refugees to support structures in host communities; they know the local context and have a unique ability to reach specific groups in the refugee community. Approaches should be rights-based, give control to the affected populations; cash-relief is effective. Women’s Refugee Commission shared their research on cash relief.
In closing, the one element participants pointed to as a focus for closing the knowledge gap included:
- How CBOs think they can help and what our role is in facilitating and supporting
- More research on how to support CBOs, particularly in highly insecure environments
- Prioritizing CBOs, more research needed on coping, recipient households
- Need to know the barriers to necessities (housing, jobs, healthcare) in host communities