IDP Participation

Photo: UN OCHA

Action to address internal displacement must recognize the rights and agency of the individuals most affected – IDPs and host communities – and ensure their active and informed participation in decision-making and the process and analysis that illuminates this.

Delivering more effective solutions begins, crucially, with listening to and working with IDPs and the local community, including individuals of all ages, sex, abilities, and diversities. IDPs are more than mere “beneficiaries” of aid and must be recognized as true partners, experts, and leaders in the search for solutions, and be included from the moment action to address their conditions and needs is initiated. IDP participation promotes a nuanced understanding of the displacement-specific needs that IDPs face as compared to non-displaced citizens and residents.

Indeed, actively including IDPs, displacement-affected communities, and people at risk of displacement has been shown to improve and refine laws and policy frameworks, as well as operational programming, while individual and community participation is critical to understanding and addressing IDP protection and assistance needs and preferences.

Community engagement can inform area-based durable solutions programming by mobilizing and tapping into local knowledge, institutions and support networks. As local experts, community members, local leaders and grassroots organizations may also be best placed to identify the needs of specific groups among IDPs, displacement-affected communities or communities at risk of displacement.  However, active community participation cannot be assumed or taken for granted. Successful community engagement requires taking conscious steps, grounded in knowledge of the specific community, to build the trust and support of community members in formal and informal settings.