How Can We Improve the Response to Forced Displacement? An Opportunity to Partner with Save the Children

By Steve Morgan, Director and ​Maddi Maxwell Hart, Co-ordinator, Migration and Displacement Initiative, Save the Children

At the end of 2018, Save the Children’s Migration and Displacement Initiative (MDI) launched its Predictive Displacement prototype tool. MDI is now developing the second iteration of the tool – a more precise and powerful version – and calls on humanitarian and technological partners for support.

Save the Children’s Migration and Displacement Initiative (MDI) recently launched its Predictive Displacement Tool – a prototype model to support humanitarian actors in anticipating the onset of a displacement crisis and understanding how it will unfold over time.

The current figures on displacement are alarming, with 2018 numbers demonstrating that:

  • More than 68 million people, over half of whom are children, have been forced to leave their homes;
  • On average, refugees remain displaced for an average of 20 years;
  • Since 2006, the number of displaced has almost doubled, and this figure remains at an all-time high.

Despite these concerning figures, the global response continues to be insufficient, in part because aid agencies have limited insight into how long forced displacements will last— or how many people will be affected.

Where we are: MDI’s Predictive Displacement Prototype Tool

With MDI’s current Predictive Displacement tool, once a conflict-related crisis affects more than 25,000 people, we can predict with 75% accuracy the expected length and scale of the crisis.

MDI is now developing the second iteration of the tool, given that the prototype is, in its current format, exactly that- a prototype. It is still limited in its utility and has ample scope for improvement. For example, it currently applies specifically to conflict-driven displacement, provides only limited disaggregated data and the measurement of duration and scale is only available within very broad parameters.

Nevertheless, it has already proven its value as a tool for Save the Children to advocate more effectively, develop more targeted strategies, and make a more informed case for much-needed funds.

Next Steps: How you can support taking the Predictive Displacement tool to the next level

Save the Children is looking for partners and collaborators across the private, public and social sectors for the next phase of the tool, particularly for financial and technical support.

Our vision is to improve the prototype into a more precise, powerful model by introducing an AI-driven approach, and more broadly, to build a multi-sector predictive displacement ‘ecosystem’ to develop, incubate, and scale innovations.

The second iteration of the tool aims to have improved depth, precision and speed in its predictive outputs, as well as better disaggregated data. It should also include predictions for environmental and economic-driven displacement crises in addition to the current conflict-based predictions.

How a strong Predictive Displacement Tool will catalyze system change in the response to displacement

If current displacement trends continue, by 2030 we could expect to see almost 250 million displaced. It is therefore in the interest of actors across the private, public and social sectors to catalyze system change in the current response to displacement. Within this change, the Predictive Displacement Tool provides an opportunity to:

  • Contribute to a paradigm shift in the way aid organisations anticipate, plan for and respond to displacement-related crises;
  • Support field actors to incorporate strong, evidence-based predictions in their programming;
  • Better equip development actors, including state actors to make informed planning decisions in regards to balancing short-term humanitarian relief with longer-term investments in core infrastructure, such as education, employment, and health care;
  • Allow the private sector to contribute market-based solutions that increase self-reliance and create alternative livelihood opportunities;
  • Ensure that donors see greater efficiency, impact and return on investments.

Ultimately, Save the Children and our colleagues from the business, humanitarian and technology sectors will be better equipped to help the people at the heart of a global displacement mega-trend realize their immediate needs, and longer-term hopes and aspirations.

For further information on the tool and how you can partner with Save the Children, contact st**********@sa*************.org and jo***********@sa*************.org

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