WHERE WE WORK

ASIA
AFGHANISTAN

In Afghanistan BIDA carries out a comprehensive set of activities reflecting specific local needs and conditions, focusing on improved protection and livelihoods as well as establishing contingency capacities along the entire displacement axis. BIDA’s activities include: livelihood, vocational training community mobilization, community infrastructure, self-reliance grants, protection monitoring, emergency support, winterization, non-food items distribution, food distribution, emergency logistics as well as transport and distributions. BIDA is working intensively in urban displacement settings but also in rural areas with high IDP or return rates.

Returnees and deportees from Pakistan and Iran, IDPs and host communities remain among the most vulnerable population groups in Afghanistan. According to UNHCR June 2012 data, since 2002 more than 5,7 million Afghan refugees have returned from other countries and 90% of these returns have been facilitated and assisted by UNHCR in the biggest repatriation operation in the agency’s history. The returnees constitute more than 20 % of Afghanistan’s population, and according to a 2011 survey 43 % had not fully reintegrated into their communities with severe difficulties in obtaining land, shelter, livelihood opportunities and basic services. Challenges to sustainable return and reintegration are vast and complex, and comprise conflict and insecurity, severe lack of livelihood opportunities, scarcity of both land and housing, very limited access to basic services, urbanization, protection concerns, gender inequalities and frequent natural disasters. Internal displacement remains widespread because of the worsening security situation and enormous socio-economic challenges, and the number of IDPs has tripled from 129.000 in 2007 to 450.000 in 2011. The issue of Afghan refugees, returnees and IDPs must be seen in a regional context, comprising Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and Tajikistan. Consequently, BIDA’s work is characterized by a regional approach to Afghan displacement supported by offices in Peshawar, and Kabul.

PAKISTAN
REFUGEES 
1,654,376

IDP's
779,876

Sources UNHCR (www.unhcr.org)
AFGHANISTAN
Refugees  
17000

Internally Displaced People ( IDP)
510000

Returnees 
99 740

Sources UNHCR 2013 (www.unhcr.org)

More than 1.6 million of registered Afghan refugees are still residing in Pakistan, many of them for around three decades since the massive exodus from the neighbouring country. The Government of Pakistan, despite of not being a signatory member of the Geneva Convention and its additional protocols, has made considerable efforts to facilitate the humanitarian community in implementing activities that improve living conditions in both rural and urban areas where refugees are settled. However, the continuous in-security in the area and the regular natural disasters have created further needs which remain uncovered for both Afghan and Pakistani communities in the region.

BIDA arrived in Pakistan in late 2010 and started implementation by the first quarter of 2011 upon formalization of the first agreements with the local authorities. DRC’s activities focus primarily on the geographical areas hosting the largest concentration of refugees from Afghanistan and are guided by BIDA’s regional approach which connects its programmes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Tajikistan – countries that constitute the regional displacement axis.

Through a broad humanitarian intervention the overall objective is to support durable solutions for the people affected i.a. by creating sustainable livelihoods and improving general living conditions. In one year of implementation BIDA has assisted approximately of 250,000 individuals with activities that included legal assistance, legal documentation, awareness on voluntary repatriation, vocational trainings, NFI distribution, hygiene promotion, rehabilitation of schools, health centres and sanitation drainages among other.

In addition to providing aid to the refugees from Afghanistan, BIDA’s activities also aim at promoting durable solutions for IDPs and affected host communities in the north-west regions of Pakistan.


AFRICA

 DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Refugees
65,109

IDP's
2,669,098

Returnees 
71,924

Source UNHCR 2013 (www.unhcr.org) 

The a better Life International Development Agency (BIDA) started its operation in DR Congo in 2012.  Estimates put the number of internally displaced in DR Congo at 2,6 million persons, which makes it one of the largest displacement crisis globally. The BIDA programme focuses on the Eastern part of the country, where the number of internally displaced persons is estimated at 430.000 persons in the Oriental Province and 920.000 persons in the North Kivu Province. 

BIDA delivers different types of assistance, as the needs are different from one area to another. Activities are focused on emergency assistance in favour of the many internally displaced persons, who need food, clean water, blankets, clothes, hygiene products and other basic aid, as well as activities focused on protection, education, stabilisation and reconstruction.

Emergency Aid and Protection in North Kivu

host families. BIDA is also undertaking advocacy to bring attention to the crisis in North Kivu on a provincial, national and international level. 

During 2013 BIDA expects to expand its activities in North Kivu to cover more sectors and support even more people affected by the conflict. 

Education, protection and food security in the Oriental Province

Many people in the Oriental Province, who were displaced, have begun to return to their homes and fields. There is relative stability in the Ituri District, but there is not much to return to. This is why BIDA has focused on projects, which stabilise and develop. Especially reconstruction of schools, water points and small scale farming that was the lifeline of the population. Additionally BIDA assures, in cooperation with the World Food Programme (WFP), that 20.000 children in the District get a warm meal in school every day, in an area where children are too often working in the fields or mines instead of going to school.

Furthermore, activities are in place to improve the safety of the populations in the Haut Uélé District. LRA and other armed groups in the area are a constant threat to civilians. BIDA's point of departure for supporting recovery are the local initiatives and capacities but BIDA also has activities in place that support the reintegration, both economically and psychosocially of men, women and children who have escaped from the LRA. Local communities also have the possibility to participate in long-term agricultural projects, where BIDA, among other activities, distributes agricultural seeds and tools.

As part of supporting access to justice BIDA organises mobile courts in remote rural areas and helps survivors to prepare cases, pay court fees, etc.

In addition BIDA constructs schools and organise trainings for teachers, in order to contribute to the equal access of boys and girls to a quality education in a protective setting. The Danish municipality of Frederiksberg, being the national Danish refugee city in 2012, is financing school constructions and access to clean water activities during 2013.

Eastern DR Congo: A population forced to flee

In 2006 the rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), who was involved in a protracted civil war in the neighbouring country Uganda, moved its bases to the Haut and Bas Uélé Districts in the Oriental Province.

LRA’s brutal exactions on the civilian population create fear and forces hundreds of thousands to flee. LRA kidnaps children and rapes women. They maim civilians, in order to create more fear. Entire villages are abandoned and homes are destroyed. 

In North Kivu there is a range of different armed grouped who continue to violate the human rights of civilians. Since the creation of the M23 rebel group in April 2012 there has been a surge in the number of people who are forced to flee because of rights’ violations and heavy fighting between the national army, the M23 and other armed groups. Many of these newly displaced persons live in sites and with host families, creating a large strain on existing resources.

Estimates say that 5.4 million lives have been lost in the course of the last 16 years, either as a direct consequence of violence or indirectly as a consequence of the different conflicts.  


UGANDA
Refugees
197,877

Returnees
500

Source UNHCR 2013 (www.unhcr.org)

BIDA aims to recreate a safe environment conducive to pursuing quality of life for displaced and conflict affected populations in Uganda. Currently, BIDA works in West Nile, North East, and South Eastern region of the country. Due to the number of people affected by conflict and insecurity in the country, particularly in the pastoralis region of Karamoja, and influx of refugees to the country from the conflict affected countries in East Africa such as DR Congo, Somalia and South Sudan, BIDA aims to extend its services to these population countrywide in the current strategic period 2013-15. 

BIDA is proud to have delivered on its aim of declaring Uganda mine free by the end of 2012, and aims to build on this success to reduce armed violence in the country, enhancing opportunities for self-reliance and building capacity of the government agencies.

has been implementing AVR program in Karamoja since 2010 with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The aim is to reduce the levels of violence in the communities by addressing the agents such as the perpetrators of armed violence and motivators for acquisition of arms (demand factors), instruments such as unregulated availability of small arms and factors affecting their supply and institutions such as formal structures of governance and informal (traditional and cultural) norms, practices and rules. The interventions include providing conflict management education to the communities and the security providers, encouraging and supporting confidence building measures between the communities and their security providers through regular dialogue meetings and other forums for exchange of views, discouraging ownership of weapons through proactive programs to change attitude towards safety perceptions, bringing up comprehensive community led community safety plans and  integrating it to the local government plans, and supporting and facilitating peace dialogues between the conflicting pastoralist tribes.

BIDA  partners with World Food Program (WFP) to provide alternative livelihoods solutions to the vulnerable people of Karamoja. This program supplements the AVR program as it addresses the challenge of providing alternative to the weapons which is considered a livelihood means by the people owning it. This program has two major components – public works and household income support. The communities are encouraged to become self-reliant through provision of “skills and tools” along with one time inputs of seeds and seedlings.

Protection of refugees is at the heart of BIDA’s program in West Nile, West and South West region of Uganda. In partnership with UNHCR, BIDA is supporting the refugee and host population with provision of protection and community services, water sanitation and hygiene, and sustainable livelihoods solutions. BIDA Uganda prides in being the pioneer of “farmer field schools” methodology aimed at self-reliance, which is now widely implemented by most agencies in Uganda and abroad.

Infrastructure development work provided by BIDA additionally assists the previously conflict and displacement affected region of West Nile. In partnership with the Royal Danish Embassy, BIDA is implementing DAR-2 program which has helped develop the infrastructures in the five refugee hosting districts in West Nile.

Uplifting the social and economic status of women in the country through the provision of functional literacy and numeracy, and business skills, supported by small grants for businesses start-up is seen as a priority area by BIDA as part of provision of sustainable solutions. This program aims to provide protection and security to the extremely vulnerable people in Karamoja and West Nile. The micro-grants program in Uganda is being expanded with support of the Global Credit Facility (GCF).

BIDA’s future/prospective program in Uganda includes providing support to the government in safe management of stockpiles, and small arms and light weapons, infrastructure development projects throughout the displacement affected parts of the country, and provision of integrated community driven recovery and development solutions.


IRAN
Refugees
868,476

Returnes
1780

Source UNHCR (www.unhcr.org)

As an integral part of the strategic regional response to Afghan displacement, BIDA has initiated an operation in Iran. The overall objective of the programme is to improve livelihood opportunities and promote protection and durable solutions for Afghan refugees, whether they stay in Iran or return to Afghanistan. However, return possibilities are currently bleak due to the precarious security situation and poor economic prospects in Afghanistan. Consequently, Afghan refugees in Iran are not very eager to return and reintegrate in Afghanistan but are trapped in a situation of protracted displacement in Iran.

Addressing this challenge, BIDA's operation in Iran focuses on two main objectives. Firstly, BIDA aims to improve access of refugees to economic livelihood activities supporting both refugees in a situation of displacement or in preparation for repatriation, with particular focus on the urban caseload which constitutes 97% of the Afghan refugees in Iran. The livelihood approach focuses both on building human capital through vocational training and financial capital through business training and start up support. Secondly, BIDA seeks to strengthen the capacity of stakeholders to ensure participation of refugees in livelihood activities with particular initial focus on socio-economic research and evidence-based programming and policy development.

Currently, almost 900.000 registered Afghan refugees reside in Iran along with 42.000 refugees from Iraq. In addition, an estimated number of 2 million Afghan nationals in Iran remain unregistered and live illegally, because the Iranian authorities have not granted refugee status to new arrivals since 2005. The refugees, registered as well as unregistered, live under deplorable conditions at the margin of society, with a very limited ability of sustaining sufficient economic livelihoods and a minimum of protection. Due to international sanctions and donor reluctance the situation for the refugees is worsening.  BIDA nevertheless remains committed to continue support to the Afghan refugees. Throughout 2013-14, BIDA Iran intends to conduct socio-economic research, to provide vocational training, business skills training, business start-up support to Afghan refugees as well as humanitarian assistance to extremely vulnerable households in Iran.


SUDAN
Refugees
152,194

IDP's 
1,873,300

Returnees
19,485

Source UNHCR 2013 (www.unhcr.org)
 

The Better Life International Development Agency or BIDA has operated in West Darfur, Sudan, since August 2012. Initially, the support was given through a World Food Programme to respond to the immediate food needs of 153,000 conflict-affected residents and IDPs in Western Jebel Mara. This project was expanded to include registration and information on behalf of the International Organization of Migration (IOM).

The current BIDA programme is targeting 33,000 IDPs and 18,000 rural households in WadiSali, Zalingei, Azoum and Nertitilocalities in Central Darfur. It aims at ensuring protection and access to humanitarian assistance for the conflict-affected people in the rural areas. Using the concept of 'protection through presence', BIDA's presence in the rural areas is aimed at rebuilding the livelihoods of the conflict-affected populations through 'non-discriminatory' activities that encourage and promote peaceful co-existence between the agro-pastoralists and sedentary agriculturalists.

At the same time BIDA works with capacity-building of these communities, enabling them to determine their own needs. In the communities that BIDA is working, area councils composed of both agro-pastoralists and sedentary agriculturalists are created to promote dialogue and co-existence.

Through the area councils, the communities identify common and unique needs and develop Community Action Plans. Needs that fall within BIDA's competence such asrehabilitation/construction of schools, community centers, hand-dug wells and livelihoods are preferably undertaken by BID, provided funds are available.

Individual household needs are met through the provision of food aid (in the case of IDPs in Nertiti), basic Non-Food Items and agricultuAral inputs like seed, tools and basic veterinary services. Activities aimed at social rehabilitation include adult literacy and women and youth activities while income generation is limited to provision of vocational skills.

Outline of the conflict
The conflict in Darfur is labeled as a 'protection crisis', due to the level and type of violence perpetrated against civilians. The origin of the conflict, i.e. struggles over essential and dwindling livelihood and natural resources, have been worsened by the proliferation of small arms and militarization of young people. It has changed the traditional complimentary relationshipsbetween the agro-pastoralists and sedentary agriculturalists into an antagonistic quasi-political relationship.

The current conflict started in 2003 after years of fighting among different Darfur groups. In February and March 2003 two armed insurgent groups, the SLM/A and JEM, launched attacks against the government forces (GoS forces) and other selected targets. Following the attacks, the GoS (Government of Sudan)“outsourced” the counter-insurgency to local militias. Most of the militias were made up of camel herding nomads from the north, former Islamic legionnaires and tribal people.

Various peace talks have taken place, but so far neither peace talks nor the deployment of peace keeping missions from African Union and United Nations have helped putting an end to the conflictand tensions. In July 2011 the latest peace agreement (Doha Agreement) was signed between the GoS and one of the rebel movements- the Liberation and Justice Movement(LJM).  This agreement established a compensation fund for victims of the Darfur conflict, allowed the President of Sudan to appoint a Vice-President from Darfur, and established a new Darfur Regional Authority to oversee the region. The Doha agreement provides a road map for progress, however most rebel groups have not been part of the agreement. In 2011 there was a considerable return of people to their homeland however there remains some 1,900,000 people displaced within Darfur.


SYRIA
Refugees
476, 564

IDP's
2,016,400

Source UNHCR 2013 (www.unhcr.org)

BIDA was authorised in 2012 by the Syrian authorities to operate in the country and provide assistance to Iraqi refugees who fled the aftermaths of the 2003 US-led war and subsequent sectarian violence started in 2006. BIDA activities in Syria firstly targeted Iraqi refugees, but included also non-Iraqi refugees and Syrian children/families within the sectors of protection, social rehabilitation, education and livelihood support. With the escalating conflict and rising displacement in Syria during the course of 2012, the target population of the intervention is increasingly conflict-affected. In May 2012, BIDA, along with 6 other INGOs, was authorized by the Government of Syria to respond to the needs of the Syrian conflict affected population. Since June 2012, BIDA has been assisting them with distribution of NFIs, shelter and rehabilitation of schools. More than 300.000 internally displaced have received assistance from the Danish Refugee Council in the first half of 2013.    Background and context

Following its Pan-Arabism policy, Syria has always opened its doors to neighbouring displaced (Palestinian, Lebanese, Somali, Afghan...). This was the case for Iraqi people as well. The influx, started in 2003, reached a peak in 2009 with 240,000 refugees registered by UNHCR and 1.5 million residing Iraqis according to governmental estimates. Since then, many have returned to Iraq. As of October 2012, 86.000 Iraqis are still registered by UNHCR and most of them are unlikely to return to Iraq. Resettlement to a 3rd country is only an option for a small proportion. The displacement has become protracted for many families who do face an increasing vulnerability due to limited livelihood opportunities. Not allowed to work in Syria, many Iraqis are forced to accept illegal jobs.  

The civil unrest that started in Syria March 2011 has become a widespread conflict, with violence escalating to the extent that the country is considered to be in a state of civil war. The humanitarian needs of displaced people in particular continue to grow. Presently, millions of people are displaced within the country. A nation-wide survey released by the MoE and the MOLA have identified more than  400 public buildings / schools that are hosting internally displaced people in 12 out of 14 governorates. According to SARC and MoE aprox. half of them are in Damascus and Rural Damascus alone. In addition to school shelters, displaced populations are accommodated with Hosting Families and/or live in rented flats or hotels.

The Emergency intervention focuses on the provision of NFIs to displaced and conflict affected populations in Deraa, Homs as well as in temporary shelters in Rif Damascus. Secondly, DRC is rehabilitating schools and / or temporary other public buildings for temporary shelters. Protection,Direct assistance to most vulnerable families, provision of information, and social, legal, and educational counseling, medical referrals and medical awareness sessions; social rehabilitation through community services (including skills development and psycho-social training); empowerment of women at risk and GBV survivors via livelihood support, support to local partners via equipment and training

Social rehabilitation via community services
Core activity of BIDA programme, community services are offered to displacement-affected people in 6 centres located in Damascus and rural Damascus (Sayeda Zeinab, Jaramana, Qudsaya and Mazaken Barzeh), Homs (Central Syria) and Deraa (southern region) in areas populated by Iraqi refugees. Today the services in the Community Centres are increasingly assisting the Syrian displaced population.  

Education
Public school restructuring and equipping, remedial education, extra-curricular and awareness-raising activities for children, technical vocational education and training for displaced population youth at risk, training of MoE’s teachers and social counsellors; psychosocial training for teachers; provision of educational equipment to schools. 

Livelihood support and capacity building
Support to refugees and other displaced population, alongside legal awareness sessions, are organised as cross-cutting focus areas. Two special needs groups are targeted hereby: Women at risk and Adolescents at Risk. Women at risk are empowered through 6-month vocational training, business management, cash assistance, tool kits and, for some of them, micro-grants.


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