Baidoa currently accommodates one of the largest populations of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) within the country. As of August 2020, there were 59,921 displaced families living in over 514 informal settlements, and numbers are expected to increase due to conflict and climate change. Most of these settlements are on private land, often without written tenure agreements, putting the most vulnerable at risk of eviction. Moreover, the informal and unplanned sites pose numerous protection, hygiene, and safety concerns. IOM and partners developed a new public site donated by the government to relocate displaced families who were at imminent risk of eviction. The project not only addressed their most urgent humanitarian needs but also provided the families with longer-term solutions.
1. Immediate solutions to displacement crisis: addressing the immediate risk of eviction and humanitarian needs of affected populations by providing a plot of land, cash assistance to construct a robust shelter, and build basic services. (SDG 1, 3, 4, 6) 2. Solutions for long-term urban development: Barwaqo was designed as a city extension considering the long-term urban expansion of Baidoa. (SDG 11) 3. Economic opportunities and tenure security: Barwaqo preserve agricultural, riverine, and grazing areas, and provides land tenure security and greater physical security for the displacement-affected communities. (SDG 10)
The Baidoa relocation project has been the main component in a wider effort to provide long-term solutions to vulnerable displaced populations affected by conflict and natural hazards. The multisectoral approach that integrates durable solutions in emergency response is supporting multiple SDGs. By providing a safe land free from eviction, the project is contributing to Goal 1: No poverty and Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities by allowing the vulnerable populations to focus on rebuilding their livelihoods.; the health clinic built by IOM providing free primary healthcare services contribute to Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being; the school supports Goal 4: Quality Education; the sustainable water supply systems support Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation. Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities also formed a strong component of the project, by allowing the public site to be integrated into the wider urban planning of the city. The public site ensures that the urban poor and IDPs have a safe space that is connected to the city and is developed in tandem with the city and the government's plans.
To provide a longer-term solution to displacement and mitigate the growing risk of eviction in rapidly urbanizing Baidoa, the government of South West State allocated public land to relocate displaced households who face the highest risk of eviction. In October 2018, IOM in partnership with Danwadaag Durable Solutions Consortium, the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster, over 10 different humanitarian partners, and the Municipality of Baidoa, started the development of the public land, constructing new roads, streetlights, a school, a police station, a health center, a nutrition centre and water infrastructure among others. By June 2019, the first phase was completed and 1,000 displaced families facing eviction were relocated to Barwaqo where they enjoyed improved access to services. Site development for the next phase of the relocation is currently underway with a plan to relocate 1,009 more households by February 2021. More displaced families at risk of eviction could be resettled as funding is secured, allowing an expansion of the designated public site and provision of life-saving basic services, such as water, sanitation, healthcare, and shelters. The multisectoral response was made possible through coordination led by the CCCM Cluster at central and site levels, with a task force of key partners and stakeholders to ensure inclusive decision-making processes. The new site is called Barwaqo – locally known as ‘the new town of Baidoa’. It is located 7 km north of Baidoa town centre and consists of four areas at different phases of development, totaling 163 hectares of land with the capacity to host more than 8,000 households.
The project was divided into phase I and phase II, and it's now been one year since phase I. The communities relocated in phase I will now be contacted for a post-relocation interview to see what the impact the relocation had on their lives. The result so far has been positive, with many households expanding or upgrading their shelters, and finding jobs in the city. By having a stable and documented residence in the city, their social status has been elevated, and their overall well-being has improved as they no longer have to worry about being evicted or having to relocate again. IOM and partners conduct regular site visits to ensure that all of the public infrastructures is functioning well, and fix and upgrade them when necessary. The success of phase I has encouraged many more sites and communities to choose to relocate in phase II, and the hope is that further expansion of the site can occur in the near future to facilitate more households to relocate.
The project would not have been possible without the partnership between different humanitarian partners and local government actors. The initial task force ensured that the site development design was inclusive, multisectoral and integrated into the city's urban design, while the implementing partners ensured that the public infrastructure was constructed in time for the relocation. Constraints included the fragile security in the region, which restricted the access of many staff and partners on the ground and caused significant delays in site development. This was overcome through the partnership with the local government actors and other local implementing partners.
It is hoped that the relocation project can be replicated, not only in other urban centres of Somalia, but also in other countries that host a large IDP population and vulnerable to conflict and climatic shocks. The project serves to be a durable solution to displacement, rather than a more common and temporary solution of emergency response, such as temporary shelters and emergency water trucking. The project has been documented and filmed to ensure that it can be replicated by having a step-by-step case study.
The project became even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic, because it provided a solution to overcrowding and unhygienic conditions in the informal settlements. The new public site ensures that the plots on which the shelters are built are large enough to create physical distance and privacy between the neighbors. The health clinic, water tabs, latrines and handwashing stations that are constructed across the site means that the communities can practice safe measures, not only against COVID-19 but other common diseases such as malaria or Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD).
SDGS & Targets
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Deliverables & Timeline
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Baidoa, South West State