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View over Melkadida refugee camp, Ethiopia © R Bradenbrink
Refugee shelter in Melkadida refugee camp, Dollo Ado, Ethiopia

From 2012–2018, the IKEA Foundation invested nearly 100 million USD in UNHCR operations in the five refugee camps of Dollo Ado in the Somali Region of Ethiopia. This is the largest private philanthropic donation that the UN Refugee Agency has ever received. The RSC’s Refugee Economies Programme conducted an evaluation of the multi-year investment to understand how the funding has impacted refugee and host communities in this borderland area. A full report was published earlier this year, but two new research briefs are published this week, both written by Alexander Betts and Raphael Bradenbrink:

The IKEA Foundation and livelihoods in Dollo Ado: lessons from the cooperatives model

and

Building economies in refugee-hosting regions: lessons from Dollo Ado

The first focuses on one of the most innovative features of the programmes, a series of ‘cooperatives’, typically involving an equal number of refugees and host community members. These cooperatives have been piloted in areas such as agriculture, livestock, energy, and the environment, and importantly, they have been supported with complementary infrastructure, microfinance, and training.

The second focuses on lessons learned. In addition to leading to measurable improvements in socio-economic outcomes for the population, the programmes were pioneering in their attempt to build the economy of a remote refugee-hosting region. The lessons learned from the programmes have wider policy implications for building economies in other remote refugee-hosting regions. As part of the evaluation of the Foundation’s programmes, the Refugee Economies team developed a five-stage Sustainable Refugee Economies Framework, intended to highlight the pre-conditions for building sustainable economies in remote refugee-hosting borderlands.

Read the full report: Building Refugee Economies: An evaluation of the IKEA Foundation’s programmes in Dollo Ado (by Alexander Betts, Andonis Marden, Raphael Bradenbrink, and Jonas Kaufmann)