Determinants of IDP Voice--Four Cases from Sierra Leone and Afghanistan
Using an interview-based case study methodology, this paper investigates how four groups of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Afghanistan and Sierra Leone engage in existing frameworks of local governance with the aim of influencing political processes. In accordance with IDPs' priorities to ensure individual and communal recovery and the (re)creation of sustainable livelihoods, security of land tenure and employment creation receive particular attention. The paper proposes two main causal factors of political leverage (voice): It hypothesizes that voice depends on IDPs' proximity to urban centers and on the concrete channels and means they employ to interact with policymakers, with "modern" channels and means expected to outperform more "traditional" approaches. The paper finds that only one group can directly influence policies that concern them, and that in this case the proximity to loci of political and economic decision-making is clearly advantageous. However, the other three cases demonstrate that location appears to be more of an enabling yet insufficient factor. Furthermore, mere reliance on externally modernized governance structures does not necessarily increase IDPs' voice, and greater political leverage seems to depend ultimately on how versatile their representatives are in terms of engaging with both governmental and societal institutions around specific issues and well-defined demands. Nonetheless, the thrust of national policies to "reruralize" urbanized IDPs appears ambivalent, and strategies that support national policy cohesion while simultaneously amplifying marginalized groups' voice and strengthening accountability in local governance structures should therefore be of significant concern to International Non-governmental Organizations (INGOs) working in a post-war context.
Inter-University Committee on International Migration
Rosemarie Rogers Working Paper Series;31