The Urban Refugee Dividend – Rethinking Humanitarian Aid as Urban WASH Investment

This project researches the mass displacement of refugees and how urban areas offer opportunities for better services and life.
Project status

The majority of the world’s 25 million refugees live in urban centres (at least 60%) with the remainder in rural areas and camps. Most urban refugees do not receive assistance from the UN or host government. Meanwhile camps, conceived as temporary, are often in place for decades, and absorb significant resources. Urban areas offer opportunities for better services and a life of relative normality for displaced people. This research places a new lens on the issue of mass displacement by taking the costs of camps and modelling what could be achieved for refugees and their hosts if these resources were invested in services and infrastructure in towns and cities. The project brings together engineers and social scientists and focuses on water and sanitation (WASH) infrastructure in Jordan – one of the world’s most water-scarce countries, which is home to 655,000 registered Syrian refugees living in both camps and urban centres.

Principal Investigator: Dr Lucy Earle, International Institute for Environment and Development

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