Strengthening knowledge, evidence use and leadership in the Global South on forced displacement: focus on East Africa
The Eastern Africa region hosts the largest number of refugees on the African continent. In 2020, a staggering 13.9 million people were facing internal or cross-border displacement in Africa. Of these, 7.7 million are in East Africa. Most of those who are internally displaced are women, children and youth under the age of 18. The region is characterized by developmental challenges and shifting demographics as populations grow and migrate towards urban centres, other parts of the region or beyond. The drivers are forced conflict, political insecurity and environmental catastrophes such as floods and a severe drought in the Horn of Africa. Despite an African Union convention on protection and assistance to internally displaced persons, which came into effect in 2012, very few countries in Africa have enacted comprehensive policies to address the role these factors play in displacement and to reverse the cycle of poverty that can result.
This project selected two universities in East Africa to establish interdisciplinary research chairs on forced displacement. The Tanzania research chair will focus on conflict and civil war, climate change, disasters, conservation efforts and large-scale development projects. The research chair in Ethiopia will focus on legal frameworks, governance and security; displacement economies and livelihoods; education; health and psychosocial support; and diversity and inclusion. Both research chairs will focus on how national systems and societies in low- and middle-income countries can address forced-displacement challenges and will take a multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral approach.
This project is part of a five-year IDRC initiative on forced displacement through support to research chairs in established universities in four regions (the Middle East, East Africa, Central and South America and South and Southeast Asia). The aim is to empower universities to define research agendas and lead on practical, gender-transformative solutions which promote social, economic, political and health rights of forcibly displaced persons and host communities in the Global South, while ensuring that Southern voices inform local, regional and global policy discussions on forced displacement.