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Campaign Art: Refugees are Not that Different

Roxanne Bauer's picture

People, Spaces, Deliberation bloggers present exceptional campaign art from all over the world. These examples are meant to inspire.

Last year, the United Nations announced the global population of refugees had reached levels not seen since the Second World War. Moreover, the Global Trends Report published by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that in 2014, conflict and persecution forced an average of 42,500 persons per day to leave their homes and seek protection elsewhere— either within their home countries or across national borders— resulting in 19.5 million refugees worldwide at the end of the year. 
It’s easy to get lost in the statistics and forget about the individual stories of each refugee.  Refugees leave behind neighbors, homes, and jobs. They once battled their morning wake up calls, watched football on television, and had their family over for dinner— just like other people.

To capture the similarities and to highlight that what makes refugees different from others is simply circumstance, CARE Canada launched a campaign called #NotThatDifferent.  As part of the campaign, they produced a video in which average Canadians and Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon were interviewed and filmed; their life stories have much in common.
VIDEO: #NotThatDifferent

Rebuilding Iraqi Communities is a Shared Responsibility

Ibrahim Dajani's picture
kisa kuyruk / -  Streets of Iraq and daily life in Najaf, Iraq

Over the past years, Iraq has witnessed a steady decline in security impacting almost all aspects of the lives of Iraqis. This has created one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent history. According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, today almost 90 percent of all Internally Displaced Persons/IDP's in the Middle East and North Africa region live in Iraq and Syria, with a staggering 2.3 million people in Iraq alone fleeing the threat of ISIS (the self-styled Islamic state known by the acronym ISIS). The UN Human Rights Office estimated that about 5.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance including food, shelter, clean water, sanitation services, and education support. 

Bringing peace – and ending violence – for women and girls

Sri Mulyani Indrawati's picture
Sri Mulyani Indrawati talks with a patient’s grandmother at the HEAL Africa hospital. Cherry Stoltenberg/HEAL Africa

Deep inside the sprawling HEAL Africa Hospital complex in the Eastern Congolese city of Goma is a small ward where women recover from injuries they suffered during complicated births and violent sexual attacks. When I entered, I first saw Muwakeso, a fragile-looking elderly woman sitting on a chair next to a bed. It took me a moment to realize that she wasn’t the patient, but rather her 3-year-old granddaughter Sakina, who was curled up into a tiny mound under a hospital sheet on the bed.
Sakina was heavily sedated to numb the pain after the second of three major surgeries she underwent to reconstruct parts of her lower body following a horrific attack about a year ago. Muwakeso recalls five men in civilian clothes approaching her house and beating her. Before she lost consciousness she heard Sakina screaming. The young girl was raped, but Muwaseko doesn’t know by how many men, and Sakina is unable to say.

The unheard voices of exhausted Yemenis

Ebrahim Al-Harazi's picture
Anton_Ivanov /

“You don’t know what it’s like when you can’t feed your children for three days,” said Khaled Ali, a day laborer from the Yemeni city of Taiz. “I’ve lost my job, and I’ve sold my wife’s gold just to pay the rent. I am scared, what else should I expect in the coming days?” he continues. “Imagine! We’ve had to eat leaves from the trees to survive.” 

The children left behind

Omer Karasapan's picture
Procyk Radek l

On International Refugee Day (June 20th), the world was focused on the plight of the 60 million and rising number of displaced people. As the British-Somali poet Warsan Shire put it, “No one leaves home, unless home is the mouth of a shark”. But there are also millions who are unable to escape, lacking the means or due to fears of bigger sharks further afield. Meanwhile, their home is being brutalized by violence and reconfigured to fit some ideological straightjacket.  They may not be geographically displaced, but these people are victims too. Especially when they are children, whose schools and socializing processes are radically transformed to conform to the new regime.   

Syrian refugee teens building a better future with technology

Christopher M. Schroeder's picture
 Karam foundation

“I went to Turkey with low expectations, thinking I will meet with angry kids who had got used to the fact they’re ‘refugees,’ said Middle East tech entrepreneur Moe Ghashim, on his first visit to Reyhanli, Turkey. He was there as part of leadership pilot from Karam Foundation, a non-profit supporting Syrian refugee schools. 

Cutting through the Gordian Knot: Analysis of conflict and violence

Bernard Harborne's picture

Alexander cutting the Gordian KnotA young Palestinian participating in a violence prevention session during a recent World Bank Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience (GSURR) staff retreat, reminisced that not that long ago the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the only “hot-spot” in the Middle East. Now, the region is a complex mix of insurrection, armed conflict, political upheaval and displacement. Even for him, unbundling and explaining the drivers and implications of these dynamics can be overwhelming – and a full-time job.

Increasingly, development actors are asked to take on this task, yet many of the World Bank’s standard analytical approaches are not suitable for this kind of complexity. Meanwhile, academics including Ben Ramalingam (Aid on the Edge of Chaos), Thomas Carothers (Development Aid Confronts Politics) and Lant Pritchet (Escaping Capability Traps Through Problem-driven Adaptive Iteration) all highlight the dangers of external intervention in these “difficult operating environments” without sufficient understanding of the underlying context.

Ongoing work over the last few years in the Bank’s GSURR Global Practice, completed together with the Fragility Conflict and Violence (FCV) Group, has focused on in-depth analysis of why and how particular countries descend into conflict, the impact of violence, and the factors that can build resilience against these shocks. Some 25 of these “fragility assessments” have been completed and they are all part of an effort to strengthen the overall understanding of the “context complexity” in these countries.