Between 2021 and 2023, the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) Inclusive Urban Development and Mobility, Regional Network and Dialogue Action responded to the needs of secondary cities in the Horn of Africa affected by the presence of refugees and involuntary migrants. 

The Action was designed to explore ways of doing so that promoted social cohesion and lessened poverty while strengthening local institutions and municipal planning capacity.

Over its lifespan, it established a regional network and platform for dialogue among seven cities: Arua and Koboko in Uganda; Kakuma-Kalobeyei in Kenya; Assosa and Jigjiga in Ethiopia; and Gabiley and Borama in Somalia.

This technical report provides an overview of how the participating cities viewed the Action and its achievements. It builds on key informant interviews with partners and a facilitated session at the Action’s fifth and final peer-learning event held in Koboko, Uganda from 6 – 8 June 2023.

Reflecting the network’s diversity, these structured and unstructured conversations capture and reflect perspectives from municipal planners and technocrats, mayors and other elected officials, representatives from international and regional bodies (including networks of municipal actors), and members of host and displaced communities. Wherever possible, efforts were made to focus on the perspectives of women within these communities and the network itself.

Respondents reflected on four key questions:

  • How did your participation in the network shift your thinking and practice in your work with displaced populations?
  • What specific moment during the dialogues and exchanges helped shift your thinking?
  • How does the regional dialogue process differ from other initiatives and networks you have been part of?
  • What should future partnerships do to address existing challenges and the sustainability of the programmes?

Their responses are structured around three key thematic areas:

  1. Celebrating achievements: A reflection on the achievements of the network
  2. Spaces to build: Areas where additional support could bolster capacity and increase the Action’s impact.
  3. Toward a self-sustaining network sessions 

The paper is a companion to the peer-learning workshop on Forced Displacement and Rapid Urbanisation: Moving Towards Inclusive, Resilient Cities and Translating Ideas into Action organised through the CRRF Action implemented by Cities Alliance and financed by the European Union Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF).