Ethiopia + 1 more

Kebribeyah Settlement Profile - Somali region, Ethiopia (July 2020)



As the longest surviving refugee settlement in the Somali Regional State, Kebribeyah settlement has a vast range of opportunities that can be capitalised upon. The “de-facto” social integration with the host community due to cultural similarities and language, strategic location within the system of cities and a long history of trade linkages between the Horn of Africa and the Middle East as well as signs of political will at the federal and local levels all provide the framework of a sound enabling environment for CRRF implementation. Though the UNHCR’s budgets for Ethiopia have steadily risen with the number of refugees, the proportion that is funded has declined over time: from 62% in 2014 to around 50% in 2017 and 2018. There is concern that this challenging environment characterised by the lack of clarity may lead to a further reduction in donors’ overall commitments. What is needed next is a practical and consolidated strategy linked to financial resources to be put in place.

The spatial profile provides evidence to frame a starting point for developing strategic planning scenarios. This can begin to showcase how humanitarian-development nexus intentions can be translated into practical actions through developing scenarios into concrete plans and policies to help direct the targeted and integrated infrastructure interventions. By identifying priority areas to invest in, it can help to achieve tangible impact among refugees, host communities and government since the “critical need for actual interventions” was raised as an alarming issue and “hopelessness and psychological discouragement due to numerous studies but lack of implementation” was pointed as major challenge in Kebribeyah. This process as a whole can help to start rebuilding trust between the donors, local and national authorities and communities.

The development scenarios aim to anchor to “soft” existing policies, priorities and programmes and emphasise the implementation of “hard” interventions. The ongoing “soft” initiatives giving a direction on how projects can be reflected in physical forms and structures to create a spatially enabling environment for more tangible and integrated interventions and to support the feeling of ownership from communities and inclusion as a part of the city in practice.
The emphasis on “hard” interventions which very much build upon ongoing livelihood programs and income-generating activities, launched by multiple actors such as EU, IKEA, Dutch Government, World Bank, DFID, EIB, etc.

The ongoing instability in Somalia, alongside their lengthy stay as refugees in the settlement, means there is already an established social capital within the refugee and host communities. This combined with the strategic location along the major infrastructure and trading route, and their proximity to the very centre of the town places significant comparative advantages in terms of being able to maximising upon connectivity and thriving economic patterns at the regional scale. This is a very strong starting point and can give confidence in focusing upon long-term solutions leading to spatial, socio-economic and institutional inclusion.

The spatial integration scenario supports the transformation from encampment to formal urban area and considers the Kebribeyah settlement not as an isolated enclave, which lends itself towards encouraging deprivation if no actions are made but rather as an integrated neighbourhood of the town. A key actualising component of this lies in upgrading and improving the existing road and water infrastructure. The current ongoing revision of the towns spatial structure plan presents a huge opportunity to include a vision for Kebribeyah settlement rather than assuming for it to be razed and distant disparate parcels of land for refugees allocated elsewhere. This in itself contradicts the pledged transition away from an encampment approach. The opportunity for spatial integration needs to be supported by the integration of municipal basic service infrastructure systems such as water networks, road infrastructure, and waste management to be placed under Kebribeyah City Administration and budgets allocated accordingly. This can begin to also open up substantive discussions on the land tenure issues and evolvement of the relationship between the refugee and national service delivery system.

A combination of these efforts, anchored in the plans to gradually increase the various government line ministries role in support programmes, with the assistance of donors, who are keen to explore alternative approaches to improve sustainability and effectiveness of refugee operations underpin the very essence of the CRRF itself. This profile aims to frame some of the potential entry points that can help set out coordinated future interventions and provide for a sustainable future for Kebribeyah and its communities.