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Social cohesion in displacement: toward evidence-based practice

Time (GMT +03) 09:30 11:00
This event has finished, watch or listen to the playback below.


Please note: This event is split into two sessions – this sign up page is for the first session which is hybrid, and runs from 9.30-11am EAT and will cover the state of the existing evidence base on social cohesion. To register for the online part, please click on the “Register Now” button which is located on the top right corner of this page. If you would like to attend this first session in person, please register here.

The second session runs from 11.30am-2pm EAT and will discuss what's next for policy-makers and practitioners – note that the second session is in-person only (in Nairobi, Kenya). It is currently invite-only, but please email [email protected] if you are interested in attending and we will let you know if we can accommodate you.

Over the last decade, social cohesion has become an increasingly important objective in refugee policy. Aid actors are increasingly aware that their interventions affect not only displaced people but local populations, with greater attention to ameliorating the “burdens” involved in hosting refugees, especially in the Global South. A lack of cohesion has social, economic and political consequences: it results in social tension between displaced and local communities, makes refugee self-reliance difficult to achieve, and raises grievances about the perceived winners and losers of humanitarian aid.

While increasingly prominent in humanitarian discourse, social cohesion remains an elusive policy goal that has proven persistently difficult to define, measure and influence. What is more, there are limits to what interventions driven by external aid actors can ultimately achieve, and interventions can have unintended impacts. The kind of aid that is given, the mechanisms through which it is distributed, and the people selected to receive it can all have a bearing on social cohesion between groups.

This half-day event comprises an initial panel session (hybrid), followed by a closed-door in-person roundtable*. By bringing together practitioners, policymakers and researchers, this workshop is intended to facilitate the move toward an evidence-based approach that recognises existing best practices as well as remaining gaps in knowledge. It will draw on recent research and publications by HPG/ODI, Mercy Corps, and Oxford’s Refugee Studies Centre.


  • Dr Caitlin Sturridge

    ODI, HPG

  • Maurice Amollo

    Mercy Corps

  • Janemary Ruhundwa

    DIGNITY Kwanza

  • Andrew Maina

    Regional Durable Solutions Secretariat

  • Dr Cory Rodgers

    Refugee Studies Centre (Oxford)

  • Dr Michael Owiso

    School of Development and Strategic Studies, Maseno University, Kenya