Profiling methodology for displaced people in urban areas
Through a period of study and engagement with United Nations (UN) agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Feinstein International Centre (Tufts University) developed in 2012 a methodology to obtain profiling information about the population of refugees in an urban setting and how their experience compares to other groups amongst whom they live.
In seeking to develop effective programmatic interventions, it is important to understand whether displaced people in urban areas are worse off than the urban poor and other migrants amongst whom they live. However, it is difficult to identify and distinguish refugees and the internally displaced population (IDPs) from the existing urban poor. In the towns and cities of Africa, the Middle East and Asia, refugees live in low-income areas, experiencing the same problems of poverty, poor services, crime and lack of employment, and often even sharing housing with the urban poor. While the government and/or UNHCR can register refugees who present themselves to the relevant office, many refugees, including some of the most vulnerable, are often not reached or even known about by agencies. Refugees may remain deliberately ‘hidden’ to avoid contact with authorities or may be unaware of/afraid to access services.
A profiling approach can help address these programming issues by:
- Distinguishing refugees from other types of migrants A profiling study provides a clear definition of who the agency includes and does not include in the refugee group in a particular setting, and how refugees are defined differently from other migrant groups. The report explains whether, how, and why refugees are more vulnerable than other migrants and the local population in urban contexts.
- Mapping where and how refugees are distributed in the urban setting Profiling data reveal where refugees (or the target population) are located, whether they are living interspersed throughout the city or concentrated in a specific neighbourhood, and whether they live near hazardous areas (like industrial areas or garbage dumps).
- Determining locally specific factors that influence the vulnerability of poor households This considers their ability to respond to economic shocks, disasters, etc., and how refugees differ from other urban groups with regard to these factors.
As well as vulnerabilities, profiling can also reveal (relative) strengths, i.e. skills and other livelihood assets possessed by refugees and whether and how these differ from their neighbours.
Knowing the whereabouts, strengths and weaknesses of the target population can provide entry points for programming. Profiling can be used for political/advocacy purposes, as it is a relatively technical exercise that produces straightforward and verifiable data. Both the profiling exercise and the data can be used to engage with host governments to promote the rights of refugees. Profiling data can even potentially be used to show that refugees contribute to the economy.
The study’s outcomes include:
- Final report
- conceptual framework
- research summary
- recommendations on good profiling practices (to inform donors) and on programming (for implementing agencies)
- research methods (including methods, mapping tools)
- Three case studies (Aden, Yemen; Mae Sot, Thailand; and Polokwane, South Africa) that detail how the method was adapted and the tools used in each case. The database is available to other researchers on request.
- Toolkit that includes revised profiling tools
and a training module, all designed to be
easily used by field organisations. The profiling
- the survey questionnaire
- survey data entry template
- survey sampling strategies
- urban mapping instructions
- qualitative interview schedules
- outline of a two-day training workshop.
Requests for either data or tools should be directed to Karen Jacobsen, email: Karen.Jacobsen@tufts.edu
Access the content online at: http://sites.tufts.edu/ feinstein/2012/developing-a-profiling-method ology-for-displaced-people-in-urban-areas
More like this
Resource: Guidance for profiling urban displacement situations: challenges and solutions
JIPS - the Joint IDP Profiling Service - is an inter-agency service that provides technical support to humanitarian and development actors implementing profiling exercises in...
FEX: Global survey of the implementation of UNHCR’s Policy on Refugee Protection and Solutions in Urban Areas
Summary of review1 The advent of the 2009 Urban Refugee Policy (see Box 1) definitively changed UNHCR’s approach to working with urban refugees and established clear...
FEX: Micro-credit in refugee situations
Summary of published research1 Micro-credit and other types of loan programmes have not been widely attempted within refugee and internally displaced population (IDP) contexts...
FEX: From the editor
This Field Exchange special issue on Urban Food Security and Nutrition aims to provide some insights into the learning and experience of a broad range of agencies, and...
FEX: Remittances and their economic impact in post-war Somaliland
Published paper1 War affected Somalia - Tarabuunka IDP Camp, Mogadishu. An enduring difficulty of assessing needs amongst certain emergency affected populations has been...
FEX: Review of urban food security targeting methodology and emergency triggers
Summary of report1 People queuing at an Oxfam feeding programme in Mbare, Harare A recent report compiled by Oxfam GB, Concern Worldwide and Action Contre la Faim (ACF)...
en-net: Surveys in Urban areas
Dear all, Are there any examples of surveys done in peri-urban/urban areas with mixed populations of resident and migrant populations? I am looking particularly to understand...
FEX: Considerations regarding coverage standards for selective feeding programmes
By Ernest Guevarra, Saul Guerrero and Mark Myatt Ernest Guevarra leads Valid International's coverage assessment team. He has formal training as a physician and a public...
FEX: Population Explorer: Estimate local populations anywhere
By Lisa Jordan and Rob Rose Lisa Jordan is jointly Assistant Professor of Geography and Public Health at Florida State University. Her areas of research include population...
FEX: Refugee crisis presents a human paradox
Research snapshot1 The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that 65 million people in the world today have been displaced by violence or armed...
FEX: Mercy Corps cash programming in the Greece migrant crisis response
By Alan Glasgow View this article as a pdf Alan Glasgow is Mercy Corps Director of the European Migration Response. In 2015, Mercy Corps established its European Migration...
FEX: Children in an urban world
Summary of report1 The experience of childhood is increasingly urban. Over half the world’s people – including more than a billion children – now live in cities and...
FEX: NRC shelter programme in Lebanon
By the Norwegian Refugee Council, Lebanon and Jordan This article represents the combined efforts of many members of the NRC teams both in Lebanon and Jordan. The arrival of...
FEX: Using IMRs to inform policy decisions on infant feeding and HIV
Summary of published research1 Feeding bottles in a camp in Pakistan A recently published paper presents an analysis of the impact of WHO infant feeding recommendations in...
FEX: Vulnerability Mapping in Urban Afghanistan
Heloise Troc is a food security officer, working for ACF for over 3 years. Her field experiences include acting as a food security co-ordinator in Liberia and...
en-net: Call for livelihood, food security and/or nutrition consultants for UNHCR
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve forced...
FEX: Syria: an ‘urban’ humanitarian crisis
Za'atri refugee camp, Jordan By Jeremy Shoham, ENN editor Events in Syria have arguably led to the largest humanitarian crisis for the past 20 years. The number of...
FEX: Norwegian Refugee Council
Name: Norwegian Refugee Council Year founded: 1953 Address: Grensen 17, 0130 Oslo, Norway Secretary General: Jan Egeland Phone: + 4 7 23 10 98 00 No. of staff...
FEX: Issue 35 Editorial
In this issue of Field Exchange, there are two themes which previous editorials have not addressed - sustainability of interventions and how markets can create, as well as be...
FEX: Fluctuations in wasting in vulnerable child populations in the Greater Horn of Africa
Summary of research1 A recent study set out to estimate levels of and fluctuations in wasting prevalence in children in arid and semi-arid areas of the Greater Horn of Africa...
Reference this page
Profiling methodology for displaced people in urban areas. Field Exchange 46: Special focus on urban food security & nutrition, September 2013. p44. www.ennonline.net/fex/46/profiling