Abstract for:Filling the Gap: Toward Understanding Resilience in Humanitarian Settings

There are 68.5 million people forcibly displaced worldwide, nearly 25.4 million of which are refugees (UNHCR, 2018). Refugee camps initially emerged as a stop-gap response to shelter those fleeing violence and persecution. Camps enable UNHCR and an array of implementing agencies to provide emergency humanitarian assistance, but many refugees are living through protracted situations, creating complex challenges in terms of service delivery and transitions to long term care (UNHCR, 2019). In many contexts, refugees are ineligible for employment and settlement outside of camps, limiting their ability to meet their own needs. Camps are also subject to shocks, such as new influxes of refugees, outbreak of disease, drops in resettlement opportunities, and budget cuts. As shocks challenge service delivery and the nature of displacement continues to change, there is a need to engage stakeholders, both refugees and service providers, to understand their perspective and identify opportunities to build resilience. This is explored in the context of two different, ongoing projects in Kigeme Refugee Camp, Rwanda and Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya. While concentrating on different problems, these ongoing projects demonstrate the utility of using community based system dynamics in a humanitarian setting and highlight initial insights on similarities in system structure that may prove important for resilience.