The IOM report on displacements in the Lake Chad Basin (LCB) (March 2019) highlights the growing importance of return movements of former Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in 2018. According to the DTM, the total returnee population represents 41% of the population affected by displacements in the LCB. Whilst the available population and location data highlights the large number of returnees in the region, the implementation of the stability index sheds more light on what assistance is required to ensure durable returns, who needs it and where. This tool serves as a measure of stability in return areas and identifies “pockets of stability” which will enable actors to plan for more adapted programming.
The stability index is based on key informant data collection at locality level. It correlates data available on returnee population with 19 indicators, grouped in three scales to measure the stability of a return area and create a location stability score.
Scales are: 1) access to livelihoods and basic services, 2) perceptions in terms of social cohesion and 3) perceptions of security.
The indicators used to build the stability index were selected on the basis of recent quantitative and qualitative research on the dynamics of post-conflict returns. These indicators represent a set of minimum or critical living conditions that are necessary to make a place stable and more conducive to durable returns. In practical terms, the model responds to the following question: « Are there conditions on the ground that favour the stability of an area? ».
These indicators were formulated into a survey format and interviews with key informants were conducted in each return location (314) of the Far-North region between 12 and 25 August 2019. This method has the advantage of allowing the coverage of a large number of localities over a short period of time, but its main limitation lies in the fact that only one, or a few informants, report on the views of a community.
In 94% of the assessed locations, local populations do not expect to move in the next 6 months (dependent variable – perception of stability).
The overall stability scores in the 6 divisions vary between 62 and 81, which indicate that most of the conditions necessary for stability are met. The Mayo-Kani division (hosting the lowest proportion of returnees) has the highest stability score whilst the Logone-et-Chari division (hosting the largest proportion of returnees) has the lowest stability score. In this division, the relatively low stability scores in the Logone-Birni, Waza and Makari sub-divisions currently host the highest proportion of IDPs.
Based on statistical analysis, the local populations’ positive perceptions of security in the assessed locations contributes the most to the high perception of stability across the divisions.