Over the past decade, humanitarian crises in Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere have resulted in an explosion in the number of forcibly displaced people around the world. As of 2022, there are a record 27 million refugees and 51 million internally displaced persons. Compounding this reality is the simultaneous, persistent flow of economic and climate migrants, many from and within the African continent, which will experience the greatest population growth globally over the next 20 years.
Forcibly displaced people and other migrants are among the world’s most vulnerable. Whether living in camps or host communities, these populations seldom have access to the same opportunities and services as their non-displaced counterparts. Meanwhile, local governments and NGOs face a host of complex challenges responding to related humanitarian crises – from establishing emergency health services and shelter, to providing mental health services, education, and economic opportunities for the newly displaced. Host communities further face major disruptions including conflict, competition for resources and jobs, and strain on aging and under-funded infrastructure. Despite these acute issues playing out in real time today, little evidence exists about which policies can improve economic, health, and educational outcomes for displaced people and host communities alike.
CEGA is investigating the drivers of forced displacement as well as return; the impacts of displacement on displaced persons and their host communities; and the effectiveness of programs and policies designed to improve social and economic outcomes for both groups over time. More rigorous research in this space will help inform the effective allocation of resources, as well as key program and policy decisions.
CEGA brings an extensive network of faculty and partners with significant expertise in forced displacement and its intersection with topics including health, education, labor, energy, technology, financial inclusion, social networks, gender, and governance. Our network includes academics trained in machine learning and other approaches that leverage big data to identify respondents and understand their characteristics, in settings where survey data is difficult or impossible to come by – allowing us to bubble up new information on the changing experiences, needs, and preferences of the forcibly displaced and those impacted by their movement.
CEGA has mapped and analyzed the evidence related to livelihoods and early childhood development for forcibly displaced populations to inform our research agenda and ensure funded studies are responsive to priority policy needs.
Through a series of events and meetings with partners, CEGA is establishing a community of practice around topics related to forced displacement, along with a robust research agenda. Ultimately, we aim to motivate a large, coordinated portfolio of work in this space, leveraging extensive research already underway.
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