The on-going insurgency and displacement situation indicate that we need to evolve from providing spontaneous solutions to deliberate and well-structured plans. The increasing number of displaced persons puts pressure on existing facilities, negatively affecting living conditions and causing avoidable ill health amongst the people.
Ideally, camps should be temporary settlements until people are resettled in their areas of origin (“return home”), within local communities (“local integration”), or in other states within the country (“outside integration”). However, many people have been living in camps/camp sites for over two years because they are not resourced, skilled or adequately equipped to move on even when the security situation has improved in their areas.
Currently, a solution gap exists between the early phase of displacement and long-term rehabilitation. I believe that Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), need to be prepared while in camps on how to create and sustain life outside the camp. They need to be equipped through counselling, psychosocial programs, education, skill acquisition and training – they need to develop sustainable means of livelihood, as well as regain their dignity. This can be achieved with a structured camp management system which involves:
- Creating a coordinated working system within the camps. Humanitarian, governmental, non-governmental, and social organisations, have complimentary roles and will need to adopt a harmonised approach to executing operations that will help achieve early-phase settlement and long-term rehabilitation. This will reduce inefficiencies, resource mismanagement, duplication and wastage.
- Governments defining a framework, providing durable structures, and infrastructure within which other organisations can effectively work together to achieve stated objectives.
- Creating a process that links early phase settlement to long-term reintegration needs.
- Carrying out a comprehensive, collaborative, and multi-sectoral needs assessment to identify the full range of requirements and gaps. This will support the implementation of a “needs-driven” response.
- Defining core priorities and identifying the lead actors based on their expertise and mandate – social and humanitarian workers, health workers, counsellors, security agencies governments, psychologists, etc.
- Assigning clearly defined responsibilities to agencies/organisations to improve accountability.
- Regular meetings/feedback process involving all organisations.
- Monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment.
Camps should be run by groups of dedicated agencies and professionals who understand the nature of the crisis, pulling on their collective strength and experiences to help create an effective system within which IDPs can effectively and more efficiently, go through the phases of displacement and reintegration.