Building Self-Reliance for Refugees and Host Communities in Ethiopia

Focus group discussion at the Berhale Refugee camp
Focus group discussion, Berhale Refugee
Camp/Photo by Anteneh Melesse

In August 2017, Ethiopia hosted 852,721 registered refugees and asylum seekers, the largest refugee population in Africa and the fifth largest in the world. That number has since grown to more than 900,000.

The large refugee population has strained the resources of the Government of Ethiopia and international agencies that provide basic social services and other interventions. As a result, there has been a move toward sustainable solutions aiming to reduce dependence on humanitarian aid and increase self-reliance among refugees and their host communities in Ethiopia.

To help displaced populations build sustainable livelihoods, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), with the support of the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), implemented the Building Self-Reliance for Refugees and Vulnerable Host Communities by Improved Sustainable Basic Social Service Delivery (BSRP) in five refugee-hosting regions of Ethiopia: Afar, Benishangul Gumuz, Gambella, Somali and Tigray, targeting a combination of approximately 2.5 million refugees and people living in host communities.

AIR's Impact Evaluation

In 2018, UNICEF Ethiopia contracted AIR to provide an impact evaluation of a BSRP survey whose goal was to provide data that would help adjust the program while it was being implemented and inform the planning of future projects.

During the baseline study we used a mixed-methods approach, including quantitative surveys, key informant interviews, and focus group discussions. We conducted the focus group discussions with refugees and host community residents, and the key informant interviews with school leaders, health facilities, One Stop Centers (which provide medical, legal, and psychosocial services to victims of gender-based violence), water utility workers, regional and federal level stakeholders, and UNICEF BSRP staff.

The BSRP midline evaluation was focused chiefly on rigorous qualitative inquiry, using primary and secondary data collection from a range of sources, including BSRP program documents and updates and context analyses commissioned under the BSRP. For the midline study our teams conducted qualitative surveys targeting partners across the implementation chain, including local NGOs, government ministries, UNICEF, and beneficiaries.