Take aways from Dollo Ado
Collaborate with the private sector to help refugees.
The opening of two banks and one petrol station in the camps and the vibrant markets in the nearby town suggest the economy in Dollo Ado will continue to grow. Public-private partnerships that guarantee returns to private investment can help secure finance for infrastructure. This supports existing economic systems. We should continue to nurture United Nations-private sector collaboration while working with businesses to help refugees.
Build sustainable economies in refugee-hosting regions.
The livelihood programme created thousands of jobs, which increased incomes and living standards for thousands of families. It provided access to finance so people could operate all kinds of small businesses. And it also helped organise successful livestock trading cooperatives and businesses across an entire value chain. We should keep supporting livelihoods for both refugees and host community members so that refugee-hosting regions can build sustainable economic systems.
Look beyond refugee camps when providing assistance.
We set the ambitious goal of irrigating 1,000 hectares of land to make it suitable for farming and producing healthy fruits and vegetables. Outside the camps, 29 kilometres of irrigation canals were constructed and water was pumped from the nearby river. When Ethiopia’s Refugee Proclamation passed in 2019, refugees were given the legal right to work and freedom of movement. These developments show how employment opportunities can exist outside camps. We should keep setting our sights beyond traditional camp models when looking for ways to assist refugees.
Ensure market linkages exist for long-term sustainability.
Sustainable refugee economies need access to markets and clearly identified sources of supply and demand. A cooperative set up to produce fuel briquettes faced challenges due to weak market linkages in their supply chain. The briquettes went unsold, production cost more than envisaged, and prices rose rapidly. We should ensure market linkages exist for long-term sustainability of goods and services, both locally and across national borders.
Promote collective self-reliance through cooperatives.
Many cooperatives showed positive early impacts, such as increasing incomes among members and including women in livelihood opportunities. There was effective collaboration with local partners and local markets expanded. Relations between refugees and the host community improved, while members benefited from protection, public services and training. However, cooperatives were too dependent on external inputs and there was a lack of awareness of power dynamics between members. Other issues included inconsistent performance, modest incomes and restrictive shifts. In future, we should help cooperatives work more effectively in ways that promote self-reliance.