Research Terms of Reference: Intentions Survey VII IRQ1806 Iraq, March 2021 V.1

Manual and Guideline
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General Objective: To enable effective planning in line with the needs and intentions of internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in selected camps across Iraq.

Specific Objective(s)

Intention Survey:

  1. Provide household-level data on IDP needs and vulnerabilities in camps, with a cross sectoral focus.

  2. Identify, for each selected camp, the proportion of IDPs who intend to return, relocate, and remain in place in the months following data collection.

  3. Identify potential timing, scale, and geographical destinations of movements in order to assist planning for the closure and consolidation of camps.

  4. Identify needs and vulnerabilities that may influence movement intentions or be exacerbated by choices of return, relocate or settle in place.


Between late 2013 and 2017, intensification of conflict in north and central Iraq has resulted in large scale displacement. Following the de-escalation of active military operations against ISIL, Iraq has witnessed an increase in numbers of IDPs returning to their area of origin. Although many have since returned, 1.2 million people remain internally displaced, of which nearly 187,000 individuals (about 37,000 families) currently reside in formal IDP camps. 3, 4 In order to end displacement, the Iraqi government initiated the consolidation of IDP camps, which took speed at the end of 2020.5 Nationally, the round VI of REACH-CCCM Intentions Assessment in July-August 2020 found that 14% of IDPs intended to return over the twelve months following data collection.6 While the humanitarian situation in Iraq has been gradually improving over the past two years, the transitional process has been defined by persisting political instabilities, resurgences of localised conflicts, and regional insecurities that are not directly related to the protracted displacement crisis. The large scale protests that broke out in Central Southern cities and the Turkish military offensive in Northeast Syria in 2019, the heightened tensions between the United States and Iran, and an increase in attacks of non-state armed groups on civilian and military targets have led to a substantial worsening of the political and security situation in Iraq which has added another layer of complexity to the humanitarian response. Furthermore, the outbreak of COVID-19 in Iraq represents a serious emerging public health crisis that could aggravate the humanitarian situation and exacerbate existing vulnerabilities in health, education, protection, livelihoods, and other areas of well-being.7 While the Iraqi government was largely able to contain the spread of the virus in the early stages, government-imposed lockdowns and movement restrictions have inhibited millions of Iraqis access to livelihood opportunities, education, and essential health services. Ongoing access constraints as well as an increase in security incidents have further restricted the provision of humanitarian aid to populations in need. In-camp IDPs are considered to face heightened and unique threats from COVID-19 which are attributed to pre-existing vulnerabilities related to their displacement status, poor infrastructure in their areas of inhabitance, and often limited access to basic services.